House Bill 96 SL2021-110 is a law that allows injectable drugs to be sold to pharmacists. The North Carolina General Assembly is dedicated to improving access to health care and better health for its citizens. Therefore, the North Carolina General Assembly is now enacting this law, taking into account various factors. Primarily significant to the law’s passage in North Carolina is citizens benefit from health care providers practicing under their license. Whereas pharmacists are the primary healthcare providers, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for services from all healthcare professionals, there was a need to adopt HB 96.
A pharmacist may inform and educate patients and health care providers about the use, therapeutic value, content, and serious issues with drugs and devices. It also allows collecting and recording patient histories related to drug therapy and device therapy. In addition, they must also conduct drug use reviews and be involved in the selection of drugs and drug sources, and the selection of device sources, as specified in GS 90–85.27 – GS 90–85.31 (House Bill 96, 2021). The immunization pharmacist is authorized to administer injectables following the provisions of GS 90-85.15B and by regulations adopted by the Board of Pharmacy, the Board of Nursing, and the North Carolina Medical Board (House Bill 96, 2021). These rules should be developed to ensure the safety and health of patients who receive such injectables.
A bill is considered ‘registered’ when passed through both houses (House and Senate). Only a member of the General Assembly can propose a bill, that is, submit it to the General Assembly, and this member is called the proposer or sponsor (How a bill becomes law). As soon as the bill enters the room, additional discussions are held, and the members of the House as a whole vote to approve any amendments. The bill is then passed or rejected by a vote of members and is sent to the governor, who can sign or veto the bill (The journey of a bill, 2021). Once a bill is passed and becomes law, it is published; HB 96 was signed by the government and published on 08/20/2021 in a volume titled ‘Session Laws of North Carolina.’
The bill now does not consider minors’ opinions regarding vaccination, which is very relevant given the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. A situation may arise when the parents of a teenager want or do not want to vaccinate their child, and this is contrary to his or her desire. On the other hand, HB 96 does not prevent people under 18 from getting the vaccine without parental permission (House Bill 96, 2021). However, this is only possible through an appeal to the health department, which can significantly complicate the vaccination procedure. In addition, pharmacists cannot dispense drugs without a standing order, which is signed instructions from a provider authorized by state law to prescribe drugs.
Pharmacists still need to advise patients and ultimately notify their healthcare provider. Thus, pharmacy staff cannot dispense any of the drugs described in HB 96 without a prescription. The state health director needs to issue an order and appropriate protocols to ensure full access to the medicines needed by the public. Pharmacies and government medical boards should also adopt standards for communication between pharmacists and primary health care providers.
How a bill becomes law. NC State Senator Chuck Edwards. (n.d.). Web.
NCACPA. (2021). The journey of a bill. North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. Web.
North Carolina General Assembly. (2021). House Bill 96 / SL 2021-110 (2021-2022 session) – North Carolina General Assembly. ncleg.gov. Web.