A proposal being pushed at the General Assembly would create a costly, new prescription drug mandate that inflates the profits of Big Pharma and undermines the doctor-patient relationship.
Specifically, House Bill 93, would mandate that naloxone be co-prescribed with opioids whenever certain conditions exist.
Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.
Now, everyone agrees that saving lives and lessening opioid-related casualties is a worthy aim and the right thing to do.
But legislators in Raleigh telling doctors what to prescribe their patients, while adding millions of dollars in new healthcare spending, is not the way to do it.
It’s costly. It’s unnecessary. And it sets a dangerous precedent.
The cost of this mandate could total nearly $3 million a year. That’s $3 million that goes straight to Big Pharma’s bottom-line.
Moreover, North Carolina already has laws in place that make this mandate unnecessary and redundant.
In 2016, a state law was passed that allows pharmacists to provide naloxone without a prescription from your doctor.
If, for example, you are a family member of someone who takes opioids and they are at risk of an overdose, you can get naloxone from your pharmacist by simply asking for it.
Also, CDC guidelines already tell doctors that they should co-prescribe naloxone to patients who are at high risk of overdose, such as those who have a high-dose opioid prescription or are prescribed any combination of opioids and benzodiazepines.
There is simply no need for a mandate when naloxone is already available in pharmacies without a prescription and the CDC says doctors should co-prescribe for high-risk patients.
Finally, we should not be setting a precedent where lawmakers get to tell doctors what they must and must not prescribe their patients. That is a job for medical professionals, not state legislators.
House Bill 93 is, at best, redundant.
At worst it is another costly mandate that boosts Big Pharma’s profits and puts politicians between patients and their doctors.