A bill empowering pharmacists to test and treat some conditions won support Tuesday in the House Health Quality Subcommittee.
And now, the legislation would also allow physicians and pharmacists to enter collaborative practice.
The version that was cleared combines bills filed by state Reps. Rene Plasencia and Cord Byrd. The combined legislation (HB 111) boasts the support of various pharmaceutical lobbies in the state.
Plasencia stressed that if the bill becomes law, it still leaves most decision-making power on patient treatment in the hands of a doctor.
“Pharmacists have the authority granted to them by physicians to fill prescriptions for that physician,” he said.
But Chris Nuland, a lobbyist for several physician associations including Florida Chapters of the American College of Physicians, said the bill will ultimately lead to medical diagnoses and treatments getting handed down by pharmacists.
The legislation allows involvement even for severe conditions like pulmonary disease and cardiac conditions.
“This increases the scope of practice for pharmacists,” he said. Ultimately, that will lead to less contact between patients and doctors. Florida patients deserve better.”
But Plasencia in advance of the committee hearing combined the legislation with a bill sponsored by Byrd, who also sits on the subcommittee.
Byrd said the legislation will benefit patients, particularly those living a distance from physicians or who need prescriptions at odd hours.
He used the example of a diabetic who runs out of insulin. If a physician empowers a particular pharmacist to refill that prescription, that helps consumers, he said. A patient could get their medication on a Friday night rather than waiting until Monday morning.
And Plasencia said the bill could especially help rural customers, who may have to drive a great distance for a doctor’s visit. Most live near a pharmacy.