Automated drug dispensing passed by House

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Nursing homes would be able to distribute medications using an automated system designed to deter pharmaceutical waste and save money, under a bill passed 130-0 as amended by the House.

HF2626/ SF2173* would expand a pilot program statewide that uses managing pharmacies to fill automated drug dispensers. Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Lake Elmo) and Sen. Benjamin Kruse (R-Brooklyn Park) are the sponsors.

Because the House amended the bill to exempt rural areas of the state where pharmacies are not in close proximity to nursing homes, it now returns to the Senate where it was originally passed 65-0 March 27.

As amended, the bill would allow for issuance of a restricted limited service pharmacy license in health professional shortage areas, such as the Little Fork Medical Center in Koochiching County.

Automatic drug dispensers are refilled daily, resulting in fewer medication errors, reduced drug waste from blister packs and improved control over prescription drugs, Lohmer said.

“Remote dispensing is a step forward to getting pharmaceutical waste out of the environment and saving taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park).