The Ohio Board of Pharmacy recently approved 70 provisional licenses for new medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. A provisional license requires owners to build the dispensary in compliance with state marijuana laws, then pass an inspection from the BOP, and finally receive their license. The BOP gives each provisional licensee 270 days to start operating. Previously, there were 58 licensed dispensaries in Ohio, and now, there are nearly 130. That number is only expected to grow in the coming months.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed an executive order banning 7 new opioids due to their dangers of abuse and addiction. The now-banned opioids include butonitazene, etodesnitazene, flunitazene, metonitazene, metodesnitazene, N-pyrrolidino etonitazene, and protonitazene. According to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, each of the 7 drugs is illegally manufactured, usually in other countries. The Board of Pharmacy supports Gov. DeWine’s executive order and is hopeful that the order will make an impact on Ohio’s ongoing opioid crisis.
Dayton Daily News
The State of Ohio has made big strides in reforming the Medicaid managed care system. Most recently, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine authorized a single PBM, Gainwell Technologies, to administer the pharmacy benefit to all pharmacies across the state. The decision will set a transparent benchmark for the PBM and initiate an adequate professional dispensing fee. The new single PBM model will be implemented on July 1, 2022.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy recently passed a new rule, Ohio Admin. Code 4729:5-3-20, that allows pharmacies to start new pilot programs. Under the rule, pharmacies can petition the Board for approval of new projects not currently permitted by Ohio law. Some restrictions apply. For instance, the rule cannot expand the definition of “practice of pharmacy.” In other words, the Board has the power to decide what programs fit within “the practice of pharmacy.” Even with these restrictions, the rule still opens up new avenues not otherwise permitted to pharmacists.
A federal jury ruled in the state of Ohio last Tuesday, finding three of the nation's largest pharmacy chains liable in the opioid epidemic. Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart were found guilty of fueling the opioid crisis in Ohio due to their lack of efforts to prevent pain pills from getting into the wrong hands. The chains strongly disagree with the verdict and claim that it is the doctors' duty to responsibly prescribe these drugs. However, the court stated that pharmacies are the last line of defense against the epidemic, and that these chains did not have enough systems in place, nor the right amount of staff, to catch suspicious activity. This ruling in Ohio now opens the door to similar cases going on in other states.
National Public Radio (NPR)
Centene, the country's largest Medicaid managed-care organization (MCO), is no longer going to be operating as a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) following an Ohio lawsuit. In March, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sued Centene for layering its MCO operations along with PBM operations, resulting in overbilling taxpayers by tens of millions of dollars. While Centene would not admit to any wrongdoing, it has agreed to pay the state of Ohio $88 million for damages. The company has also set aside $1 billion to deal with future similar lawsuits from other states.
Ohio Capital Journal
A civil trial has begun in the state of Ohio in regards to the opioid crisis. Chain pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart are being sued in federal court over their role in perpetuating the opioid epidemic. They are being sued for their reckless dispensing of pain medications and ignoring the red flags of patient addiction. If the companies lose the trial, they could be expected to pay billions of dollars to compensate their damage to the victims, as well as government entities and taxpayers who have footed the bill in response to the crisis.
Morehead State Public Radio
Ohio House Bill 6 was passed by Governor DeWine, implementing several provisions related to the pandemic. Notable elements include: written consent for vaccination of a minor, pharmacists and technicians being able to administer flu, COVID, and other vaccines to children, and other pharmacy technician practice expansions.
Bricker & Eckler