Cutrona drug bill passes in Legislature
A bill sponsored by state Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, that requires prescriptions for Schedule II drugs to be filled electronically to cut down on fraudulent possession of opioids is set to become law.
“People steal physicians’ paper pad and write fraudulent prescriptions,” Cutrona said. “We see it all over the state and in the Valley. By requiring it to be done electronically, it will cut down on fraud.”
Schedule II drugs include oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, hydromorphone, Ritalin, Adderall and Demerol.
Schedule II drugs “have a high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence,” according to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“One of my key priorities that I ran on was addressing the opioid crisis,” Cutrona said. “It’s something that we need to call immediate attention to now.”
Cutrona said at his recommendation, the state Senate added amendments before a Wednesday vote. The Senate approved the bill and then the state House voted to concur. The House initially passed the bill without the amendments in June 2021.
The amendments include exemptions if there is a broadband failure preventing pharmacists from getting an electronic prescription; it is for a nursing home resident or hospice care patient; the prescriber is employed by or under contract with the same entity that operates the pharmacy; or the prescriber determines an electronic prescription cannot be issued in a timely manner and the patient is at risk.
“It came out a stronger bill,” Cutrona said.
The bipartisan bill had numerous co-sponsors, including the other members of the Mahoning Valley’s state House delegation: Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown; Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta; and Michael J. O’Brien, D-Warren.
The bill will become law 90 days after Gov. Mike DeWine signs it.
Almost half of the states in the country have enacted mandatory e-prescripting of Schedule II drugs, Cutrona said.
Ohio officials will communicate with their counterparts in those other states to learn what modifications to the law might be needed, he said.