Legislature Introduces Bill for Mobile Pharmacy Units

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By Sarah Dahm

SB 872 (Dodd), as introduced on January 24, 2022, would add section 4110.5 to the Business and Professions Code to authorize a county or a city to operate a temporary licensed mobile unit to provide prescription medication within its jurisdiction to specified individuals, including those without fixed addresses, in cases of damage or destruction to the pharmacy causing closure. Each mobile unit would have a physician as part of the team to prescribe medications that can be dispensed immediately.

The bill would authorize the California Board of Pharmacy to license mobile units and allow mobile units to dispense prescription medications based on a valid prescription if the county or city meets specific requirements for licensure, staffing, and operations. These requirements would include: (1) The mobile unit is licensed by the Board, (2) The mobile unit is staffed by a pharmacist in charge and a pharmacy technician, (3) A licensed pharmacist is on the premises and the mobile unit is under the control and management of a pharmacist while prescription medications are being dispensed, (4) All activities of the pharmacist, including the furnishing of medication by the pharmacist, are consistent with the requirements for prescriptions as set forth in sections 4050, et seq. of the Business and Professions Code, (5) If a physician is practicing in the mobile unit, all prescriptions written by the physician meet the requirements of the Medical Practice Act, and (6) The mobile unit does not carry or dispense controlled substances.

According to the author, this bill creates critical access to potentially life-saving drugs that will improve the lives of the most vulnerable Californians, particularly unhoused communities. Specifically, the bill would authorize pharmacy services to the public in case of destruction to a pharmacy facility and create continuity in pharmacy care for California residents in case of a weather disaster, fire, or other causes of damage or destruction of a pharmacy structure.

The bill was referred to the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee on February 2, 2022. It is currently active and in the committee process.

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