2007 Legislative Compendium: Prescription Drugs

Increased Regulation of Schedule III Through V Prescription Drugs
Senate Bill 1879 by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) and Rep. Mike Hamilton (R-Mauriceville) calls for increased regulation and documentation of Schedule III through V prescription drugs. Schedule II prescription drugs currently are regulated. The bill required pharmacists to report information regarding the prescription and release of these medications to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Pharmacists also must comply with increased requirements that a patient must fulfill to refill Schedule III to V prescriptions. Though TMA recognizes that the bill is an effort to combat the proliferation of people who use these controlled substances in an illegal manner, we are concerned that the increased oversight will result in fewer prescriptions being given to patients who truly need them. Physicians may not want to deal with the additional burden associated with prescribing Schedule III to V drugs. SB 1879 is effective immediately.

SB 1879 also establishes several advisory committees:

  • Pain Treatment Review Committee to study and make recommendations regarding how to improve pain management for patients. The committee must include four physicians as voting members. Of the four physicians, one must represent TMA and one must be a psychiatrist specializing in addictive diseases. Other committee members include representatives from the Texas Hospital Association, Texas Nurses Association, American Cancer Society-Texas Division, attorney general, a probate court judge, and one public member. The committee must meet at least once every three months and recommend any needed statutory changes by Sept. 1, 2008.
  • SB 1879 Implementation Committee to advise the Department of Public Safety on improving the official prescription program, including the implementation of an electronic system to monitor controlled substances listed in Schedule II through V and the new data reporting requirements. The committee must include three physicians and three pharmacists, appointed respectively by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker, along with member of the Texas Medical Board, Texas State Board of Pharmacy, Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, and Texas Board of Nurse Examiners. The committee must submit recommendations by July 1, 2008.

HB 1, the appropriations act, allocated around $804,000 over the biennium to DPS to implement SB 1879.

Prescription Drug Public Education Campaign
House Bill 1676 by Rep. Diane Delisi (R-Temple) and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) requires the Consumer Protection Division within the Office of the Attorney General (AG) to develop a public awareness campaign about the sale of prescription drugs. The campaign would educate consumers about solicitations made - via e-mail or the Internet - for the sale of prescription drugs. The campaign must: (1) emphasize that there are reputable pharmacies and pharmacists available through the Internet, and (2) help consumers distinguish between reputable and disreputable Web-based pharmacy services. The AG's office must consult with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, trade groups, and advocates for consumer protection in conducting the campaign. The AG's office may distribute information to consumers via brochures, ads, editorials, radio, TV, Internet, or other appropriate means.

Prescription Drug TMA Staff Team:

Legislative: Darren Whitehurst
Policy: Nancy Bieri and  Helen Kent Davis
Legal:   C.J. Francisco

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