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Rauner Proposes Changes to Address Potentially Dangerous Drug Interactions

Governor Bruce Rauner today called for a strengthening of the Rules that oversee pharmacy consultations in Illinois, in an effort to increase pharmacy accountability and ensure public safety. The proposed rule changes to the Illinois Pharmacy Practice Act were submitted today for publication in the Illinois Register to begin the First Notice Period and take aim at ensuring Illinoisans are provided proper counsel on any potential drug interactions that may result from filling prescribed medicines.  The changes will reduce medication error rates, including the harmful effects of adverse medication interactions, while providing the state with additional legal avenues in instances of non-compliance.

“The Tribune investigation revealed deficiencies in the state’s current pharmacy system that put patients at risk. We tasked our state’s regulator to examine our statutes and rules to determine what could be done,” said Governor Rauner.  “These actions today represent additional safeguards that can be implemented quickly to hold pharmacists accountable in their duty to consult patients on potential drug interactions.

The proposed amendments submitted to the Illinois Register mandate pharmacists counsel patients on pertinent medication information, including potential drug interactions.  It also adds a requirement for signage notifying customers of the above requirement and provides that failure of a pharmacist to provide counseling or attempts to circumvent counseling requirements constitutes unprofessional conduct.

“Ensuring patient safety is our primary focus as the state’s regulator of pharmacies and pharmacists,” said Bryan A. Schneider, IDFPR Secretary.  “We believe the implementation of these proposed rule changes will assist our Department in better enforcement of current laws to help ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public.”

“The physician members of the Illinois State Medical Society are dedicated to maintaining the safety of our patients in all contexts, including prescription drug safety,” Thomas M. Anderson, M.D., President of the Illinois State Medical Society.  “We support the Administration’s efforts to increase the communication and counseling that occur when prescription drugs are dispensed at pharmacies. We are confident that the medical community can work with the Administration and interested stakeholders in a collaborative manner to ensure the safest and most effective medication dispensing practices are employed in Illinois.”

The proposed rule changes have been filed for First Notice in the Illinois Register.  Persons who wish to comment on this proposed rulemaking may submit written comments no later than 45 days after publication of the Notice.