Kentucky passes positive verification; states expand prescription authority

Kentucky passes positive verification; states expand prescription authority

Rodemich, Karen


* As we went to press, we learned that Kentucky became the latest state to pass a contact lens release law. SB157 prohibits mail-order companies from mailing, sending, delivering or dispensing contact lenses before receiving: 1) a written or faxed prescription that is signed by the prescribing practitioner; or 2) an electronic or oral affirmative of the complete prescription from the prescribing practitioner. Changes to the prescription cannot be made without the direction of the prescribing practitioner.

SB157 requires that contact lens prescriptions include the manufacturer, lens series, lens material (if applicable) and all lens parameters and ophthalmic information necessary to accurately fabricate or dispense the lens. It must also include an expiration date and the number of refills or lenses allowed. In addition to this new contact lens release law, three states have also passed new laws regarding expansions in prescriptive authority. Here’s a quick briefing and a rundown of the new laws.

States expand Rx authority

In the area of pharmaceuticals, only four or five states have their prescriptive authority laws in good form, says American Optometric Association State Legislative Analyst Sherry L. Cooper. Other states need to add drugs or clean up statutory restrictions, conditions, or other standard-of-care-type language, which is included in many optometry laws but not included in laws that regulate dentists, podiatrists or medical physicians.

To date, optometrists in all 50 states may prescribe medications to treat allergies and infections to some degree, whether using just topical drugs, just oral drugs or both.

South Dakota: Under law SB135, optometrists in the state may now prescribe any and all oral medications to treat eye problems. The bill, which amends part of the state’s existing prescribing authority, does specify that “No optometrist may prescribe, administer or dispense any oral therapeutic agent to any child under 12 years of age, or any oral steroid to any person” without first consulting with ophthalmologists or other doctors.

Pennsylvania: SB831 allows O.D.s – who are certified to administer and prescribe pharmaceutical agents – to utilize the beta blockers and steroids that are approved by the Secretary of Health. The board anticipates that the secretary of Health will approve specific steroids by early this month.

The law also allows O.D.s (who are certified by the State Board of Optometry to treat glaucoma) to treat open-angle glaucoma, exfoliation glaucoma and pigmentary glaucoma.

Michigan: The new state law adds oral drugs, including schedule 3, 4 and 5 controlled narcotic substances; and expands the definition of diagnostic drugs from two drugs to include all topically applied agents.

The law also allows Michigan O.D.s to diagnose and initiate treatment for glaucoma without consulting with an ophthalmologist first.

Karen Rodemich, Managing Editor

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