Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 535

S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 535 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to clarify the scope of practice of pharmacists to authorize pharmacists to prescribe and dispense an opioid antagonist to individuals at risk for an opioid overdose or the family members or caregiver of the individual at risk for an opioid overdose.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health, Board of Pharmacy, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, Walgreen Co., Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition, Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, and nine individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawaii Medical Service Association.


Your Committee finds that Hawaii is one of the last states where opioid antagonists are not made widely available in the community through pharmacies. Deaths caused by opioids are often preventable with timely administration of an opioid antagonist, such as naloxone. Opioid antagonists remain underutilized in many overdose situations because many overdoses occur in places where immediate access to opioid antagonists is unavailable and first responders cannot reach a patient in time. Your Committee further finds that the Board of Pharmacy's Pharmacy Working Group has determined that, in addition to family members, caregivers, or the individuals at risk for an opioid antagonist, further clarification is needed with respect to the name on the prescription written by the pharmacist and to whom the opioid antagonist can be dispensed. Allowing an opioid antagonist to be prescribed and dispensed in the name of the individual requesting it would make opioid antagonists more widely available in the community and aid in the reduction of drug overdoses in the State.


Your Committee notes that the Department of Health and interested stakeholders have had an opportunity to discuss potential amendments to this measure, to ensure that all pharmacies will be able to prescribe and dispense opioid antagonists for individuals at risk for an opioid overdose and make certain that opioid antagonists are widely available to anyone who requests them. Amendments to this measure are therefore necessary to incorporate this consensus language.


Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Specifying that a pharmacist acting in good faith and exercising reasonable care may prescribe and dispense an opioid antagonist;


(2) Inserting a definition for "at risk for an opioid overdose";


(3) Inserting a sunset date of June 30, 2024; and


(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 535, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 535, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,