Earlier this month Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) signed into law Senate Bill 948, which expands pharmacy scope of practice for testing services. The legislation allows pharmacists to initiate and administer testing for strep, flu and COVID-19 and be permitted to treat those conditions via a statewide protocol approved by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy. Virginia is the seventh state to grant pharmacists test to treat authority outside a physician’s order or collaborative practice agreement.
A state task force studying the rise of unregulated cannabis products in Virginia is recommending stricter rules for businesses selling hemp-based delta-8 THC products that technically aren’t marijuana but produce a similar high when eaten or smoked. Businesses that sell delta-8 products, the task force says, should have to apply for a permit and face tougher civil penalties for breaking the rules. The task force is also recommending an overhaul of how the state regulates all types of cannabis, suggesting a more coordinated strategy instead of having the responsibility split among numerous agencies touching on agriculture, pharmacy, forensic science and law enforcement.
HB 1324 became law after approval from both the Virginia House and Senate. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) took no action on the bill, effectively putting it in place. HB 1324 directs the state Board of Pharmacy to adopt regulations related to workplace safety that protect the health and safety of patients. It is intended to mitigate mistakes and errors in the pharmacy, while also protecting the best interests of pharmacists.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin approved several medical marijuana laws. Two of these bills, HB 933 and HSB 671, ensure that Virginia patients with medical marijuana prescriptions no longer have to register with the state Board of Pharmacy. Another bill, SB 591, contains additional medical marijuana amendments from Gov. Youngkin, which state lawmakers will consider during an upcoming veto session. These amendments include expressly banning delta-8 THC, prohibiting sales of products containing THC to people under 21, and increasing penalties for individuals caught possessing more than two ounces of cannabis. If enacted, the amendments become effective on October 1, 2022.
Independent pharmacists in Virginia are asking the State Board of Pharmacy to adopt new regulations in the workplace. In the past 2 years, increased workload and reports of burnout have led pharmacists to make dangerous medication and dispensing errors. A new bill, HB 1323, takes aim at the working conditions that surround dispensing errors and argues that better conditions will lead to fewer errors. HB 1323 has been passed by both the Virginia Senate and the House of Representatives. It now sits on Governor Glenn Younkin’s desk for final passage.
Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS)
A Virginia bill that aimed to protect providers who prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients was rejected by a Virginia Senate Committee on January 20. Both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are legal for doctors to prescribe, but the Virginia Board of Medicine and Virginia Board of Pharmacy dictate that doctors could face punishment for doing so. This bill, SB 73, would have barred both boards from punishing prescribers, but it was ultimately defeated in a 9-6 vote along partisan lines — calling on the FDA's guidance of not prescribing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
ABC 8 News
HB 2219 prohibits any insurance carrier, corporation, or pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) from limiting a patient's ability to select the pharmacy of their choice. Along with this, any pharmacy that meets the terms and conditions of participation in a direct service / provider agreement must be have their request acted upon within 60 days of receipt.
HB 2333 and SB 1445 were both enacted into law by Governor Northam to help slow the pandemic by facilitating COVID-19 vaccination in the state. These laws better enable pharmacies to efficiently immunize their communities by allowing pharmacies to volunteer their facilities as COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Bristol Herald Courier