Gideon: “We should do everything in our power to save every life possible.”

AUGUSTA – Today, Chairman Joe Bruno and the entire Maine Pharmacy Board finally took action on proposed rules related to LD 1594, An Act Regarding the Dispensing of Naloxone Hydrochloride by Pharmacists. At the request of Governor LePage, the Board amended the rules to raise the age the life-saving drug could be dispensed to 21, from 18 as originally written.

Speaker Sara Gideon released the following statement:

“Addiction knows no age. Overdoses can strike at 18 or 19 or 29 or 54. And in every instance, at every age, we should do everything in our power to save every life possible. What the Board of Pharmacy did today has no basis in medical research or expert opinion, it was merely a petulant action at the behest of Governor LePage that directly contradicts legislative intent. While I’m grateful there is finally some clarity regarding dispensation, I will continue my work to ensure the Board of Pharmacy follows the law.”

BACKGROUND:
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. LD 1594, An Act Regarding the Dispensing of Naloxone Hydrochloride by Pharmacists, was passed by the Legislature in May of 2017.

The Maine Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously August 3, 2017 to approve rules related to LD 1594. Since then, the rules have been stuck in uncertainty due a lack of action from the Executive Branch. Speaker Gideon issued a joint letter with Senator Troy Jackson urging the Board to take action on rules related to LD 1594, An Act Regarding the Dispensing of Naloxone Hydrochloride by Pharmacists on January 27.