New state law requires electronic prescriptions starting Oct. 2021

The law is aimed at curtailing prescription fraud
This sign is just outside Binson's Pharmacy
This sign is just outside Binson's Pharmacy(ABC12 News Staff)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed companion bills on Wednesday that supporters say will help to stop prescription fraud and fight the opioid crisis in the state.

“It’s a big dilemma for a lot of pharmacies to make decisions every single day,” said Binson’s Pharmacy Manager Chadi Azzi.

Azzi oversees Binson’s Pharmacies in Michigan. Two are located in the Flint area. He says because of the opioid pandemic prescription fraud is always a constant concern, but during COVID-19 it’s even worse.

“Because of COVID-19 your staff is not complete all the time. There’s a lot of pressure on the pharmacist. There’s a lot of things happening in the environment,” he said. “So definitely with the COVID-19 it added a lot of tremendous pressure on the pharmacy team as a whole to make those decisions.”

Azzi hopes to see some significant changes now that the governor has signed House Bill 4217 and Senate Bills 248 and 254. Together they require prescribers to submit prescriptions electronically beginning October 1, 2021, reflecting an analogous federal mandate designed to minimize fraud. HB 4217 was sponsored by Representative Joseph Bellino, R-Monroe, SB 254 was sponsored by Senator Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, and SB 248 was sponsored by Senator Dale Zorn, R-Ida. The bills are tie-barred.

“For opioids, for narcotics, for just regular blood pressure medication, it’s always easier and more transparent to have an e-prescription sent to the pharmacy,” Azzi said. “In general, I’m with e-prescription all the time from the get-go, but for opioids in particular, that’s a huge plus in my opinion. It will help tremendously our pharmacy team.”

Azzi says Binson’s already receives 60 to 70-percent of its prescriptions electronically, but he knows there are still providers who prefer the old-fashioned way. If the prescriber cannot meet the requirements for electronic submissions, they can apply for an exemption waiver.

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