In an effort to expand access to care, a proposed Texas law would allow pharmacists to authorize certain prescriptions, including antibiotics.
The bill, introduced last week by Republican Rep. Kevin Roberts, aims to expand pharmacists' services so patients will have easier access to antibiotics for common illnesses such as strep throat.
Under the bill, pharmacists will be able to order drugs for patients based on results from clinical tests they currently administer. The prescribed drug must be authorized by a physician through a written medical order. The pharmacist can then be reimbursed for ordering the prescription.
“As the need and demand for healthcare services continue to grow so must the locations for patients to access the care," Roberts said.
Texas law currently allows pharmacists to test patients for various conditions, including strep throat and influenza, but they're not allowed to prescribe antibiotics.
The proposed law would apply to patients in various health plans, including employer insurance, but excludes patients with a Medicaid managed-care plan.
The law would also require participating pharmacists to complete a training program approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. In addition, the state pharmacy board will adopt specific rules for appropriate adoption of the law, including requirements for the physicians' written order.
The legislation is backed by the Texas Pharmacy Association, which represents the more than 31,000 pharmacists and 60,000 pharmacy technicians in the state.
The association claims the bill will lead to lower medical costs because patients can receive treatment quickly after they receive a clinical test at a pharmacy.
“When this legislation passes, pharmacies across the state will have the ability to perform a flu or strep test and when needed, furnish our patients with the appropriate medication so that they can quickly get home to rest and heal,” said Texas Pharmacy Association President Rene Garza in a news release.