Zorn electronic prescription bill sent to governor

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to require prescriptions for opioids to be transmitted from the doctor to the pharmacy electronically is on its way to the governor to be signed.

“This legislation would use e-prescribing technology to improve patient safety and efficient access to necessary medications and help address the opioid abuse epidemic that still plagues Monroe County,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Requiring electronic prescriptions for opioids will reduce the illegal supply of these highly addictive drugs and virtually eliminate ‘doctor shopping’ — where someone gets prescriptions from several different doctors.

“Some prescription opioid pain medicines have effects similar to heroin, and this legislation would also keep prevent drug dealers and abuser from using fraudulent prescriptions to get them.”

Senate Bill 248, sponsored by Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, would require the electronic prescribing of prescription drugs in Michigan by Oct. 1, 2021. If a prescriber could not meet the electronic transmission requirements due to a technological limitation that was not reasonably within their control, they could apply for a waiver from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Zorn’s bill, SB 254, would apply to prescriptions for controlled substances containing opioids or benzodiazepines.

Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, is the use of a technological system by prescribers to write and transmit a patient’s prescription to a participating pharmacy.

According to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of the bills, at least 23 states require e-prescribing with certain exemptions.