UF Pharmacy Students Advocate for Pending Pharmacy Legislation
University of Findlay pharmacy students are taking time to address legislation that may change the world of pharmacy before they even enter the workforce. Students are learning about House Bill 73 and House Bill 80, forming opinions, and writing letters to legislators about the impact the bills could potentially have.
Timothy Burkart, Pharm.D. took time in class to educate students on how to find their legislators’ information, educated them on the bills being voted on, and allowed them to voice their opinions in support of, or in opposition to the proposed bills. “It’s really important to be engaged in your profession, especially one where you’re taking care of people and becoming invested in your community as a pharmacist,” Burkart said.
Ohio House Bill 73 affects off-label prescriptions, forcing pharmacists to fill a prescription for patients, even if it is against the pharmacist’s professional judgment. “If passed, we as pharmacists might see some concerning things clinically with the prescriptions, but there will be nothing we can do about it because we will no longer be able to request critical lab values, critical exams, or diagnosis codes,” said Hailey Selders, fifth-year pharmacy student. Selders wrote to her legislators about opposing the bill, fearing the bill may be going too far. “There will be patients receiving prescriptions off-label, resulting in a reduced supply for patients that require the medication for its labeled uses. We can’t even predict the supply chain issues that we may experience if this bill goes through,” she said.
Ohio House Bill 80 is a bill that many students and pharmacists support, as it authorizes pharmacists to conduct screenings, order labs and diagnostic tests, evaluate the results, and treat for influenza, COVID-19, and strep throat. Currently, Ohio pharmacists are able to fill prescriptions to treat these illnesses, but they are not able to diagnose and prescribe the medications themselves, despite their extensive training in recommending medications appropriately. “Patients won’t have to make appointments or go into their doctor’s office. They will be able to walk right in, get tested, and walk out with an antibiotic if deemed appropriate by the pharmacist,” said Selders.
UF’s College of Pharmacy is taking the time to talk with all pharmacy students about the pending legislation. Fifth-year pharmacy students (third-year professionals) started writing their letters first. Third and fourth-year pharmacy students followed suit, taking part in the proactive measure and voicing their opinions to legislators. Educating students about pending legislation and activism is something the College of Pharmacy tries to do several times a year.
For more information on the University of Findlay’s College of Pharmacy, visit the program website.