Bills relating to pharmaceuticals introduced in Senate and Assembly committees

Several bills relating to the administration, sale and treatment of pharmaceuticals have been introduced in Senate and Assembly committees.

A bill from Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, Reps. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, and John Nygren, R-Marinette, would prohibit the sale of drugs containing dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant sometimes used recreationally as a dissociative anesthetic, to anyone under 18 who doesn’t have a prescription.

The bill, AB 681/SB 587, would also require sellers to check the buyer’s ID, unless they reasonably believe the purchaser is at least 25 based on appearance.

For sellers who violate this rule, the bills would force them to pay $250, while a purchaser who violates the rule would get a $50 fine.

Bill authors, in an email to lawmakers seeking co-sponsors, said the change would help limit abuse of drugs containing dextromethorphan by minors while keeping them easily accessible to adults.

AB 680 would let pharmacists administer vaccines to patients under 6 as long as that pharmacist has completed an approved 12-hour course in vaccine study, and the patient had a prescription order filled out in the 29 days prior.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum and co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point. It would also allow pharmacists or pharmacy students under supervision to administer any vaccine listed in the immunization schedules published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It would also allow them to administer any vaccine not on the CDC list as long as the vaccine is given for a prescription order, vaccination protocol, or standing order.

Bill authors say these changes would give more families, especially those in rural areas, access to vaccinations. They say the bill would also maintain medical professionals’ records for prescriptions vaccinations, and let pharmacy students get necessary, hands-on experience.

AB 679 would make several changes to pharmacy practice laws relating to the dispensing of “interchangeable biological products.”

It was sponsored by Reps. Mike Rohrkaste, R-Neenah, John Spiros, R-Marshfield, and Debra Kolste, R-Janesville. It was cosponsored by Sens. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, and Tem Carpenter, D-Milwaukee.

Under current law, pharmacists can give out a “drug product equivalent” if it’s less expensive than the prescribed drug, as long as the prescribing practitioner didn’t specify that no substitute can be made. Valid drug product equivalents are determined by the Food and Drug Administration.

The current law also says physicians can include on the drug label both the generic name for the drug product equivalent and the brand name specified in the prescription order, unless the prescribing practitioner requests the brand name not be included.

This bill would create similar provisions for biological products, which are regulated by the FDA under the federal Public Health Service Act.

Biological products are different from drugs. Rather than being chemically synthesized with a well-defined structure that can be characterized, biological products are usually derived from living material like a human or animal cell or a microorganism, and are therefore complex in structure and are usually not fully characterized.

The bill defines “interchangeable biological product” as a biological product that the FDA says is therapeutically equivalent to the biological product prescribed.

The bill would also require pharmacists who dispense biological products to communicate to the prescribing practitioner through electronic records systems or otherwise about which product was dispensed.

And like the current law on drug product equivalents, the legislation would allow the label for the prescribed product to include both the proper name for the interchangeable biological product and the brand name in the prescription order.

Current law requires certain information to be included on the commercial container for prescription drugs. This bill would make a similar rule for biological products, covering both the brand name and the proper name of the biological product.

The bill authors for AB 679 say patients who need biological products are paying more than they should be, arguing the bill would give Wisconsin consumers the choice to save money on medications.

See the bills here:

–By Alex Moe