Delaware state capitol building

NACDS today praised Delaware’s enactment of HB 115, which requires podiatrists, dentists, doctors, nurses and optometrists who issue prescriptions to utilize electronic prescriptions except under certain exceptions. The measure is vital for helping to address the opioid-abuse epidemic by reducing fraud and abuse. Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed the bill today, and it takes effect January 1, 2021.

NACDS recognized the legislative leadership of the bill’s primary sponsor in the Delaware House of Representatives, State Rep. Debra Heffernan (D); bill sponsor State Rep. Paul S. Baumbach (D); and the bill’s primary sponsor in the Delaware Senate, State Sen. Harris B. McDowell (D).

NACDS also acknowledged the leadership of Karyl Thomas Rattay, MD, MS, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Social Services; David C. Mangler, director of the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation, Department of State; Geoff Christ, executive  secretary of the Delaware State Board of Pharmacy; and Julie Miro Wenger, executive director of the Delaware Association of Chain Drug Stores.

This approach to opioid-abuse prevention has popular and nonpartisan support in the state. A January 2019 survey, conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS, found that 64 percent of Delaware registered voters support rules that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than by paper or fax, to reduce the likelihood of fraud and abuse.

NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, said: “We appreciate the commitment to opioid-abuse prevention that is evident among those who worked hard toward this bill’s enactment. Delaware is the 24th state to help protect its patients and communities by putting into place an NACDS-backed e-prescribing requirement. This bill will help to reduce fraud and abuse that contributes to opioid misuse and addiction.”

This legislation is consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations for opioid abuse prevention. In addition to e-prescribing, NACDS’ recommendations relate to drug disposal, supply limits for a patient’s first prescription to treat temporary pain, prescription drug monitoring plans, health plan design, and pain management.

NACDS’ recommendations parallel consistent and ongoing pharmacy strategies to prevent opioid abuse, including compliance programs; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.

In addition to 24 states having enacted an NACDS-backed law, the issue has met with success at the federal level as well. President Trump in 2018 signed into law federal legislation—the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act—which requires electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D.

NACDS has been instrumental in advancing the use of electronic prescribing as a safeguard and was on the leading edge of working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Until 2010, it was not allowed.