A coalition of veterinarians and pharmacists recently persuaded Florida Gov. Jeb Bush not to support legislation that would have weakened the state's pharmacy-dispensing standards for animal drugs.
The AVMA and Florida VMA, along with the state's Board of Veterinary Medicine, Board of Pharmacy, and Pharmacy Association, opposed S.B. 2452. The bill would have dramatically lowered the standards of practice for pharmacists dispensing medications for animal patients, thus jeopardizing human and animal health, they stated.
Passed by both houses of the Florida Legislature in May, S.B. 2452 would have amended statutes so that pharmacies would be able to dispense medications on the basis of a fax from an animal owner for first-time prescriptions and refills, without the required additional consultation between the pharmacist and prescribing veterinarian.
Moreover, the bill would have stripped away protections against fraud and abuse by eliminating requirements that pharmacists obtain the original prescription or verification from the prescribing veterinarian before releasing the drug to the client, and that the client sign a log identifying the recipient of the prescription and the patient.
Additionally, unlicensed pharmacy technicians would have been able to initiate or receive requests for original prescriptions for animals. The bill would have increased the ratio of technician to pharmacist from 1:1 to 5:1.
In a June 3 letter to the Florida secretary of state, Bush cited several reasons for withholding his support for the bill, including the potential for fraud, diversion, and drug abuse.