Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/25/1995 01:45 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
               SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                             
                         April 25, 1995                                        
                           1:45 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman                                                   
 Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 231                                                            
 "An Act relating to the interview requirements of the State Medical           
 Board."                                                                       
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 168(HES)                                                
 "An Act relating to temporary permits for certain optometrists."              
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 158                                                           
 "An Act relating to pharmacists and pharmacies."                              
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 HB 231 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 HB 168 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 SB 158 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Marveen Coggins, Legislative Aide                                             
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of HB 231.                                     
                                                                               
 Catherine Reardon, Director                                                   
 Division of Occupational Licensing                                            
 P.O. Box 110806                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0806                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 231 and HB 168.                           
                                                                               
 Theresa Sager, Legislative Aide                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of SB 158.                                     
                                                                               
 Chris Coursey                                                                 
 Alaska Board of Pharmacy                                                      
 HC 83, Box 1734                                                               
 Eagle River, AK 99577                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Maggie Sarber                                                                 
 P.O. Box 6635                                                                 
 Ketchikan, AK 99901                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Richard Holm                                                                  
 167 Santa Claus Lane                                                          
 North Pole, AK 99705                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Kendal Kaihai                                                                 
 4737 Villanova Dr.                                                            
 Fairbanks, AK 99709                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Tim Boehmer                                                                   
 12640 Ridgewood Rd.                                                           
 Anchorage, AK 99516                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Jacki Warren                                                                  
 2200 Providence Dr.                                                           
 Anchorage, AK 99516                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Jack Heesch                                                                   
 Alaska Academy of Physicians' Assistants                                      
 Alaska Nurses Association                                                     
 P.O. Box 201608                                                               
 Anchorage, AK 99508                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Robert Niebert, President                                                     
 Alaska Pharmaceutical Association                                             
 710 Birch                                                                     
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Ursula Gahler                                                                 
 Alaska Pharmacy Association                                                   
 1413 Mary Ellen Way                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
 Dave Williams, Director                                                       
 Division of Medical Assistance                                                
 Department of Health and Social Services                                      
 P.O. Box 110660                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0660                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 158.                                      
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 95-19, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
          HB 231 INTERVIEWS BY THE STATE MEDICAL BOARD                        
                                                                              
 CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                 
 meeting to order at 1:45 p.m. and announced HB 231 to be up for               
 consideration.                                                                
                                                                               
 MARVEEN COGGINS, Legislative Aide to Representative Cynthia Toohey,           
 explained that under existing law, physicians applying for                    
 permanent licensure must be interviewed in person by the Alaska               
 State Medical Board or a member of the Board.  This mandated                  
 interview is cumbersome, expensive, and of limited value since the            
 license application process which takes place prior to the                    
 interview is extensive and thorough.  An interview is unlikely to             
 reveal any information not already known.  HB 231 would allow the             
 interview to be discretionary.                                                
                                                                               
 HB 231 is supported by the Alaska State Medical Association, the              
 Alaska State Medical Board, and the Division of Occupational                  
 Licensing.  There is a $0 fiscal note.                                        
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 supported HB 231.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO moved to pass HB 231 from committee with individual              
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
          HB 168 PERMITS FOR NONRESIDENT OPTOMETRISTS                         
                                                                              
 SENATOR KELLY announced HB 168 to be up for consideration.                    
                                                                               
 SAM KITO, Alaska Optometric Association, said HB 168 was introduced           
 at their request.  The purpose is to allow permits to be issued to            
 non-resident optometrists for the purpose of assisting or                     
 substituting for an optometrist licensed under Alaska Statute                 
 08.72.  He explained that Alaska has a lot of solo practitioners in           
 remote and semi-remote areas of the state.  If a practitioner                 
 becomes injured or seriously ill, or must be temporarily out of his           
 office, he presently has to close down his clinic.  This can be a             
 hardship to his patients, especially if it is for several months.             
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON said she supported HB 168.                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked why anyone who holds a valid license should           
 be from Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.  MR. KITO explained that           
 those licenses were compatible with the ones in the United States.            
                                                                               
 Number 46                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO moved to pass HB 168 from committee with individual              
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
               SB 158 PHARMACISTS AND PHARMACIES                              
                                                                              
 SENATOR KELLY announced SB 158 to be up for consideration.                    
                                                                               
 THERESA SAGER, Legislative Aide to Senator Mike Miller, said this             
 legislation was brought to their attention by the Alaska                      
 Pharmaceutical Association.  She said they worked with Mr. Chris              
 Coursey who would give them a brief overview.                                 
                                                                               
 CHRIS COURSEY, Alaska Board of Pharmacy, said they had been working           
 on this issue for four years.  He noted that the committee had a              
 sectional analysis in their packets that he had prepared.  The                
 pharmacy community, some years ago, recognized the need to revise             
 and update the statutes which, in general, are antiquated and                 
 obsolete.  Most of the statutes are dated from the 1930's through             
 the 1970's and do not reflect the current practice of pharmacy.  In           
 addition, many of the statutes have been introduced in a piecemeal            
 fashion and are overly restrictive or specific and would be more              
 appropriate addressed in regulation.                                          
                                                                               
 For example, 08.80.350 requires pharmacies to have reference texts            
 which are no longer published, requires records to be kept for five           
 years, while federal regulations require records to be kept for two           
 years, and has a grading system and examination which is obsolete.            
                                                                               
 MR. COURSEY noted there are several major omissions in the existing           
 statutes.  Nowhere is the practice of pharmacy defined, nor are               
 there any provisions for the use of support personnel.  There is              
 existing, but very vague, language in the area of discipline or               
 unprofessional conduct.                                                       
                                                                               
 In Section 2, line 12 - 19, people who engage in the practice of              
 pharmacy needs clarification, as well as the reference to                     
 "distribution" other than dispensing, he advised.                             
                                                                               
 Number 180                                                                    
                                                                               
 Section 16 on page 7, line 17, the intent of the Board of Pharmacy            
 is to apply to those facilities that are currently licensed by the            
 Board.  There is no intent to license practitioner offices, medical           
 clinics, etc., that are not currently licensed.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked on page 10, line 24, if the standards of                  
 immorality were being lowered.  MR. COURSEY said that was not the             
 intent, but rather they are actually broadening the ability of the            
 Board to discipline or sanction a licensed person.                            
                                                                               
 Number 290                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO was concerned with the elimination of #9 and #10 which           
 make a controlled substance available to a person, except upon                
 prescription, etc.  She thought that would be one of the more                 
 serious offenses in the pharmaceutical world.  MR. COURSEY                    
 explained that controlled substances are specifically addressed in            
 regulations with disciplinary guidelines.                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if they exist in regulation only because they             
 are authorized by #9 and #10.  SENATOR SALO noted that she thought            
                                                                               
 MR. COURSEY explained the intent of section 20 was to cover                   
 situations in which a disciplinary action or licensing action is              
 taking place, in case the owner of a pharmacy, for instance, isn't            
 a licensed pharmacist.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 324                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked what the substitution of equivalent drug                  
 products in section 21 meant.  MR. COURSEY replied that the statute           
 is basically the same as what exists now except that some of this             
 is dealt with in regulation.  There is no intent to weaken or                 
 lessen this area.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked, once again, if the deleted the specific                  
 language from statute, if the Board would have to address it all.             
 MR. COURSEY replied they wouldn't have to.                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO noted that they wanted a pharmacist to have the                  
 ability to substitute generic drugs largely for cost reasons.                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY said he would like to hear from the doctors whether             
 or not this language is sufficient.  He was concerned that this               
 would not allow a pharmacy to stock a whole lot of drugs if they              
 could get away with just stocking generic drugs.                              
                                                                               
 MR. COURSEY said when the existing statute was passed, medical                
 doctors were the only group of practitioners who were authorized to           
 prescribe and dispense.  At this time, we have advanced nurse                 
 practitioners, physicians' assistants, and dispensing opticians who           
 dispense.  The advanced nurse practitioners have dispensing                   
 regulations within the Board of Nursing which sets the same                   
 standards for dispensing as a pharmacist is held to.                          
                                                                               
 As for enforcement, MR. COURSEY said, the Board of Pharmacy would             
 not be enforcing action against another practitioner group.  They             
 do believe the Board of Pharmacy should be the entity establishing            
 minimum standards for dispensing of drugs such as labeling and                
 record keeping.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 403                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if the Board is attempting to regulate outside            
 of Alaska.  MR. COURSEY said under 08.80.158 they register                    
 pharmacies located outside of the state.  These are essentially               
 mail order pharmacies that do business within the state.  The new             
 definition of pharmacy, by referring to  pharmaceutical care                  
 services, further refines and limits the definition to apply to a             
 pharmacy where a licensed pharmacist is present.                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO said the pharmacists in her home town like this bill             
 and she is likely to support it, but she questioned section 22, the           
 confidentiality section, which wasn't there before.  She was                  
 particularly concerned with number three saying that she thought              
 pharmaceutical records should be as confidential as medical records           
 are within a doctor's office or clinic.  She asked why other                  
 persons or government agencies might have access to them.  MR.                
 COURSEY replied that meant other persons or agencies authorized by            
 law, for example, the Division of Occupational Licensing, in an               
 investigation of a physician or pharmacy or prescription records              
 subpoenaed by a court.                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked, regarding number two in the confidentiality               
 section, if that kind of availability of records was aimed at                 
 someone who might be abusing prescription drugs by going to several           
 different places.  She asked if there was an intention of sharing             
 information between pharmacies.  MR. COURSEY said this legislation            
 was not too involved with a person who was abusing drugs,                     
 necessarily, but for a patient, for example, who has prescriptions            
 issued by multiple prescribers who may not be aware of other drugs            
 being prescribed.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON was concerned that a Board member has the                   
 authority to go into someone's business and red line a product he             
 believes may be misbranded.  The Board consists of five pharmacists           
 and two people from the general public and he thought the                     
 professionals should be specified for this action rather than just            
 any Board member and section b should have some sort of official              
 time line.  MR. COURSEY responded that he didn't have any problem             
 with any of his suggestions.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 475                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if Section 2, Number 11, to seize all drugs           
 or related material found by the Board to constitute danger, meant            
 that the Board has the authority to say an FDA approved drug is not           
 allowed to be prescribed in Alaska.  He commented that that seemed            
 like very broad authority for the Board.                                      
                                                                               
 Referring to language on page 7, line 29, SENATOR TORGERSON asked             
 for an example of what would not be in the public interest.  MR.              
 COURSEY gave the example of a pharmacy owned by a non-pharmacist              
 whose pharmacy license is up for renewal, but he doesn't have any             
 licensed pharmacist employed.  SENATOR TORGERSON said that, again,            
 he thought that was very broad based language and wasn't in the               
 best interests of the public.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 500                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked his staff to get a list of the repealers in               
 section 32.  He asked what the registration fee was for pharmacists           
 in Alaska.  MR. COURSEY replied that it was $180 per license period           
 (two years).                                                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY noted that the fiscal note says the request for an              
 executive secretary would drive the price up.  MR. COURSEY replied            
 that they are not requesting a secretary at this time.  SENATOR               
 KELLY asked if he would request higher dues before it is filled.              
 MR. COURSEY replied yes and that they believe the Board should be             
 self supporting.                                                              
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 supported the general effort of the bill to update and make more              
 comprehensive the pharmacy statute, but believed work was needed to           
 get it into shape for passage.  She also noted that the intent of             
 the bill is not to limit the dispensing authority of physicians'              
 assistants, nurse practitioners, doctors, and dispensing opticians,           
 but the actual wording of the bill does restrict them.  Mr. Coursey           
 also made it clear that the intent is to only apply this bill to              
 drug stores, but the actual wording may be broader.                           
                                                                               
 If fees were to be raised for hiring an executive secretary, they             
 would go up $283 bi-annually.  MS. REARDON said they are not                  
 comfortable with increasing fees that much.  The other costs of the           
 bill are relatively miner, she said - contractual services for                
 printing new statute and regulation books.  SENATOR KELLY wanted              
 clarification of the fiscal note.  MS. REARDON explained that the             
 fiscal note was above and beyond the amount that is in the budget.            
 She clarified that the fee would be an increase of $283.                      
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-19, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 590                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she thought the reason the executive secretary               
 language was in the bill was in case they wanted to request one               
 through the budget process at a later time.  She thought this was             
 a misunderstanding.  If the legislature desires to give them that             
 position and fund it, they could do it any time without this                  
 language.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked her if she meant that the legislature could               
 fund another position and then the licensing fees would                       
 automatically go up, because the Boards are self supporting.  MS.             
 REARDON agreed that is basically what happens, although it wouldn't           
 be instantaneous, but would happen the next time the renewal period           
 came around.                                                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if the section were deleted, would that remove            
 the fiscal note from the bill.  MS. REARDON said that would remove            
 everything except the reprinting of statutes and regulations which            
 they would have to consider absorbing.                                        
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON explained that the reason for having the executive                
 secretary in the fiscal note was to let the committee know how much           
 one would cost.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked who was currently doing the clerical support              
 for the Board.  MS. REARDON replied within the Division of                    
 Occupational Licensing there are quite a few licensing examiners              
 who are range 12 positions working here in Juneau.                            
                                                                               
 Number 506                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON thought the embargo and the sealing sections needed               
 more work in outlining the exact process.                                     
                                                                               
 In reference to Senator Torgerson's comment about the Board having            
 the authority to prohibit the sale of drugs that weren't FDA                  
 approved, she said.  Her understanding of current Alaska law is               
 that pharmacies may carry non-FDA-approved drugs, because                     
 physicians may prescribe, with informed consent of the patient,               
 drugs that are not FDA-approved.  So she thought some thought was             
 needed in that area as well.                                                  
                                                                               
 The statute currently requires fluency in spoken and written                  
 English as a requirement for a pharmacy license.  This bill                   
 maintains that requirement, she explained.  It is an unusual                  
 requirement, but the justification is that understanding and                  
 communicating in English are necessary to properly dispense drugs.            
 However, in statute, we do not require that of physicians and other           
 health care providers of whom the same argument might be made.                
                                                                               
 Number 465                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON pointed out that, in addition to the repealer, the new            
 section 08.81.40 replaces the current reciprocity statute and,                
 therefore, the existing statute should be repealed.                           
 Finally, on page 6, line 25 under reciprocity we are requiring that           
 we look at the requirements that the person was subject to in their           
 other state, perhaps 10 years before, and compare them with the               
 state's requirements 10 years before, which would be fairly                   
 difficult for them to do, so they request language instead that               
 says, "The qualifications necessary to be licensed in this state at           
 this time."                                                                   
                                                                               
 One more point MS. REARDON mentioned was in section 9, removal only           
 for cause of Board members.  The reasons are set out on page 4,               
 line 29, she explained, and it is their position that occupational            
 boards should serve at the pleasure of the governor.  The current             
 statute does say that Board members may be removed by the Governor            
 for cause.  This is very unusual.  The Medical Board and the                  
 Nursing Board do not contain the "for cause" criteria.  The Board             
 has a lot of power and they feel it is important that someone have            
 the ability to redirect boards and their policy decisions.                    
                                                                               
 Number 446                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY announced a recess from 2:45 - 2:55 p.m.                        
                                                                               
 MAGGIE SARBER, Ketchikan, said she was testifying on behalf of Mary           
 Christianson, who was not able to attend the meeting.  She said the           
 bill they have before them represents specific statute revisions              
 that pharmacists across the state have endorsed to better reflect             
 the current practice of pharmacy in Alaska.  She supported SB 158             
 in its entirety.                                                              
                                                                               
 RICHARD HOLM, North Pole pharmacist and past president of the                 
 Alaska Pharmaceutical Association, supported SB 158.  He added that           
 they would find very few doctors or pharmacists who would object to           
 making generic substitutions, because to a large extent they are              
 already doing it under Medicaid regulations.  Regarding FDA                   
 approval, he cautioned the committee to not use language referring            
 to FDA approval, because it is specific to mass-produced                      
 manufactured drug items.  Historically pharmacy and practitioner              
 prescriber have used many preparations that are not FDA approved,             
 nor would they ever be.  He said that definitions they use in this            
 statute have to be broad in nature, because of the changes that are           
 coming over the pharmacy industry.                                            
                                                                               
 KENDAL KAIHAI, Fairbanks pharmacist, said this legislation is                 
 important for pharmacists and patients they are dealing with.  The            
 rules governing pharmacy now make for some very difficult                     
 situations.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY said that the committee would work on this bill and             
 have it before them on Thursday.                                              
                                                                               
 TIM BOEHMER, pharmacist at Providence Hospital, clarified that the            
 removal for cause (of Board members) issue was national language              
 and the current language is acceptable.                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if, in using national language, he was                    
 referring to a model that was enacted by the National Association             
 of Pharmacists.  MR. BOEHMER answered that was correct; it was a              
 model practice act that was put forward by that Association.                  
                                                                               
 With the executive secretary, they intended some modification of              
 the current licensing examiners position to accommodate someone who           
 could be clearly involved in dealing with an urgent situation, like           
 the case in New York where tylenol was adulterated with cyanide,              
 when the public needs to be protected quickly.                                
                                                                               
 Number 291                                                                    
                                                                               
 JACKI WARREN, Director of Pharmacy at Providence Hospital, said SB
 158 is important to Alaska.  She has responsibilities related to              
 both inpatient practice and retail pharmacy and, she said, we need            
 to put our Board in the position of being able to provide guidance            
 on how support personnel should be addressed and give them further            
 language that will put them in line with the model.                           
                                                                               
 Page 11, Section 21 Substitution of Equivalent Drug Products needed           
 more clarification. She explained the way a physician controls the            
 dispensing process is by checking "dispensed only as written" on              
 the prescription.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if there was another law requiring the                    
 dispensed only as written language or could the Board of Pharmacy             
 change the ability of the physician to check that box.  MS. WARREN            
 replied that she thought the language on line 22 took care of that            
 concern.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 160                                                                    
                                                                               
 JACK HEESCH, Alaska Academy of Physicians' Assistants and the                 
 Alaska Nurses Association, supported SB 158, because they believed            
 the pharmacy statutes are outdated and need revision.  However,               
 they think some of the definitions may be over-reaching.                      
                                                                               
 On page 2, line 12, for instance, the practice of pharmacy (page              
 16, line 16) means the interpretation, evaluation, and dispensing             
 of prescription drug orders and drug administration, etc. They                
 would like additional verbiage to cover the fact that there are               
 people out there practicing under their own licenses who are                  
 allowed to dispense medications and clarify that the Board of                 
 Pharmacy is not going to be regulating nurses or physicians'                  
 assistants or dispensing opticians.                                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if that was the status quo.  MR. HEESCH said it           
 was in that regard.  He said the other concern they have is                   
 specifically on page 12, line 25 which they consider somewhat                 
 onerous, because it might require record keeping well beyond the              
 bounds of necessity.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 222                                                                    
                                                                               
 ROBERT NEIBERT, President, Alaska Pharmaceutical Association, said            
 the Association supports the bill whole-heartedly.  He assured the            
 committee that as long as a physician has the dispense only as                
 written authority, every pharmacist understands that, unless the              
 product is therapeutically equivalent, they aren't going to                   
 substitute something that is inferior.  Samples fall under federal            
 regulations and so does record keeping, he said.   The Pharmacy               
 Practice Act, he thought, was to make sure no one would get in                
 trouble with the feds if there was a major drug recall and there              
 needed to be a way to identify the recalled product and get it back           
 to the manufacturer.                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked him if the confidentiality language was part of            
 the national model.  MR. NEIBERT replied that is where it came                
 from, but in reality they are finding that medicaid patients                  
 records available to anyone using their medicaid I.D. number.                 
 There isn't much confidentiality, because the state is demanding it           
 in other areas.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked if there were circumstances where it would be              
 useful to have information kept for longer than two years and if it           
 was that much of a problem to store with today's technology.  MR.             
 NEIBERT said prescriptions are still hard copy and take up a lot of           
 room.  A normal prescription is only valid for 12 months to begin             
 with; controlled substances are good for only six months.  There is           
 no practical reason to keep records beyond even that.  Two years is           
 reasonable.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked what if you're dealing with thalidomide, for               
 instance, with ensuing litigation.  MR. NEIBERT said an example of            
 this type of thing is with DES which they heard nothing about over            
 20 years.  Even a five-year limitation wouldn't have helped that.             
                                                                               
 Number 64                                                                     
                                                                               
 URSULA GAHLER, Alaska Pharmaceutical Association, said she has been           
 frustrated with Alaska statutes which have not kept pace with                 
 national trends and rapidly changing technology.  For example, she            
 said, advances in technology have made it possible for computer               
 controlled delivery systems which didn't even exist when the                  
 current statutes were written.  New drugs have been created, she              
 said, that require special handling and equipment are not currently           
 addressed.  Current statutes required her to purchase specific,               
 very expensive reference texts which are not useful to her.  As               
 statutory requirements, the Pharmacy Board has no latitude to                 
 update pharmacy requirements such as this without legislative                 
 approval which is a waste of money and valuable legislators' time.            
 Because of restrictive statutes it has been difficult and costly              
 for some licensed practicing pharmacists from other states to be              
 licensed in Alaska which limits the ability to import experienced             
 professional pharmacists to the state.  The new statutes empower              
 the Pharmacy Board with the ability to adjust and regulate rapidly            
 changing pharmacy practices.                                                  
                                                                               
 She noted that the people who have worked on updating the statutes            
 have worked over a period of four years and are well respected                
 experts in the profession of pharmacy and have adopted                        
 recommendations from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy           
 to fit the unique needs of Alaska.                                            
                                                                               
 DAVE WILLIAMS, Director, Division of Medical Assistance,                      
 complimented the Division of Occupational Licensing on the work               
 related to this bill.  He didn't want to leave them with the                  
 impression that at the point of sale a person's whole record would            
 be flashed before every pharmacist in the state.  The intent is to            
 let them know if there is a refill time due so there aren't early             
 refills and to let them know if the patient is eligible and,                  
 therefore, might pay their bill with medicaid.                                
                                                                               
 MR. WILLIAMS said that he would like to check some issues with the            
 Division of Public Health regarding duties of the epidemiologist              
 and drugs that might be compromised.                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY said he would work with the sponsor, state agencies,            
 the Alaska Pharmaceutical Association, and the Alaska Board of                
 Pharmacy to come up with a version of the bill that would receive             
 the legislature's approval.                                                   
 SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 3:30 p.m.                              
                                                                               

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