Gideon: “We are again at a standstill when people’s lives are literally on the line.”

Jackson: “We cannot afford to delay access to this life-saving drug any longer.”

Today, Democratic Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson issued a formal letter to Chairman Joe Bruno and the entire Maine Pharmacy Board urging them to take action on rules related to LD 1594, An Act Regarding the Dispensing of Naloxone Hydrochloride by Pharmacists.

Lawmakers initially approved making naloxone available without a prescription in April 2016 (LD 1547, An Act To Facilitate Access to Naloxone Hydrochloride). At the request of the Board of Pharmacy, the Legislature clarified the language with an amended bill with the intent that dispensation would begin soon after rulemaking.

“It has now been close to two years that we have been trying to dispense this life-saving drug at our pharmacies,” said Speaker Sara Gideon. “And for some unknown reason, we are again at a standstill when people’s lives are literally on the line. I respectfully urge the Board of Pharmacy to publish these rules and provide the clarity so desperately needed.”

“Everyday the opioid crisis claims the life of another Mainer. We cannot afford to delay access to this life-saving drug any longer,” said Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson. “I hope the Board of Pharmacy will publish the rules that are so desperately needed to start combatting this epidemic. Let’s do something to actually help people. The opioid crisis affects everyone. No family is immune to this scourge.”

The Maine Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously August 3, 2017 to approve rules related to LD 1594. However, recent press reports have made clear there is a hold up in the rules being formally published as a result of inaction by the Executive Branch. Currently, Maine’s pharmacies are following differing protocol in dispensation due to a lack of clarity regarding these rules.

Full text of letter available here.