Governor Kasich signs Epinephrine bill into law

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) - A bill that allows pharmacists to substitute generic epinephrine for name brand drugs has been signed into law.

Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 101 Monday.

The Epinephrine Accessibility Act, sponsored by Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), has been debated and tweaked for nearly two years.

“By relaxing restrictive barriers, pharmacists will be empowered to seamlessly ensure patients are provided less expensive epinephrine auto-injectors,” said Merrin. “The legislation makes it easier for Epi Pen competitors to compete, which will ultimately lead to lower costs.”

House Bill 101 allows pharmacists to substitute a prescribed, brand-name epinephrine auto-injector for a pharmaceutically equivalent epinephrine auto-injector.

The Ohio Pharmacists Association says if a physician prescribes EpiPen that can retail for more than $600, a pharmacist could substitute a less expensive brand alternative, with the patient’s consent, that can cost hundreds of dollars less and still meet the patient's pharmaceutical needs. Epinephrine auto-injectors are not substitutable from brand to brand under current state law in most instances.

The OPA reports the bill also enables pharmacists to dispense epinephrine auto-injectors to adults 18 years of age or older without a prescription (under a physician’s protocol) once the pharmacist establishes that the patient has already received an initial prescription for epinephrine. 

The bill will become law 91 days after it is filed with the Secretary of State's Office.

Read the full text of the bill here:

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