North Carolina recently announced that it will begin long-range healthcare deliveries by drone in an effort to expand on-demand healthcare and improve the patient experience in the state. Distributors, including Cardinal Health, will work collaboratively with Zipline, a drone delivery company, to deliver products to patients in North Carolina. The drone delivery services will offer delivery within 15 minutes and serve patients within a 7,800-square-mile radius. With this new service, North Carolina aims to create care and convenience so that all residents can get access to the products they need.
A North Carolina bill that got passed last summer went into effect on February 1. Among its other provisions, HB 96 grants pharmacists the ability to dispense birth control, HIV prevention medications, and prenatal vitamins to North Carolina women without a doctor’s prescription. HB 96 also gives pharmacists the ability to administer injectable drugs, like nicotine replacement therapy and treatment for hypoglycemia. In effect, HB 96 improves patient access and marks an important step in expanding the rights ad responsibilities of pharmacists in the state.
The Daily Tar Heel
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed Senate Bill 257 into law, increasing the state's regulation of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Starting October 1, PBMs must obtain a license and renew it annually in order to conduct business in North Carolina. The law will also protect consumers from surprise fees and overpayments, and it blocks PBMs from retaliating against pharmacies. It also allows the insurance commissioner to petition a court order for restitutions to be paid to pharmacies by any PBMs that violate policies within the bill.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted North Carolina legislature to pass House Bill 96 into law, extending the authorization that was temporarily given to pharmacists through the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act and by a standing order from the North Carolina state health director. In response to the pandemic, North Carolina pharmacists, technicians, and interns were given emergency authority to administer COVID-19 vaccines. This new law will expand the temporary authority into a permanent authority for pharmacists. This law authorizes pharmacists to dispense, deliver, and administer treatment and medications without a prescription, and it also now requires parental consent for the administration of vaccines under emergency authorization (such as COVID-19) to a minor (under 18 years of age).
The News & Observer
A new bill, House Bill 96, would grant pharmacists in the state the ability to administer injectable medicines with a prescription. Currently, pharmacists can administer vaccines, but this bill would give them the ability to offer other kinds of injections as well. In effect, the bill would grant pharmacists greater authority and improve access to patients. HB 96 passed the House unanimously and awaits hearing in the Senate healthcare committee. (UPDATE: House Bill 96 has been passed into law on August 20th, 2021)