TOPEKA — The Committee on Public Health and Welfare was reluctant to come to an agreement Monday, March 25, while discussing a bill that would require the use of electronic prescriptions for controlled substances and narcotic drugs.
Senate Bill 234, originally introduced to the Committee on Federal and State Affairs, would amend the Kansas Pharmacy Act by requiring all Schedule II controlled substances and narcotic drugs to be prescribed electronically. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration organizes drugs into schedules based on acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.
Colorado recently passed regulation similar to that of Senate Bill 234. The bill, which passed unanimously in the Colorado Senate, requires podiatrists, physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and optometrists to prescribe schedule II, III or IV controlled substances only through prescriptions that are electronically transmitted to a pharmacy.
The Kansas committee unanimously voted to amend the bill to include schedules III, IV and V as well.
Sen. Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg) voted to amend the bill to require the use of electronic prescriptions for all controlled substances and narcotic drugs. She described her time as an educator witnessing the selling and abuse of these types of drugs.
“I felt this bill seemed logical. It’s just common sense,” Baumgardner said. “What are we doing to prevent addiction in this state?”
Rachelle Colombo, director of Kansas Medical Society, testified during the committee meeting to share opposition to the amendment and the bill as a whole.
“There are no physicians that would support that decision because it’s too broad,” Colombo said.
Colombo described that not all controlled substances lead to abuse and addiction as well as the reliance on technology that is already lagging and expensive.
“Even if you implemented this, the technology is not there,” she said.
Other senators met Baumgardner’s amendment with hesitation.
“This is a very substantial policy change,” Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) said. “Opening it up to any controlled substance may be too big of a jump too fast.”
“We believe the physician ought to have the opportunity to prescribe the best way they see fit,” Colombo said. “We believe the practice should lead, not the government.”
Paige Henderson is a University of Kansas senior from Lenexa majoring in journalism.