House bill would let pharmacists treat certain chronic conditions

Ask Elizabeth Dennison what it is like to get a prescription in Southwest Florida and she will tell you.

“Expensive where the doctor has to see you first, whether you need it or not,” Dennison said.

But a change in the law could lead to tests and prescriptions for the flu and strep throat written inside the pharmacy, without that visit to the doctor’s office.

T.J. Depaola, Cypress Pharmacy president, said Florida House Bill 111 has its perks.

“It would cut down on wait times and take some of the pressure off the practitioners,” Depaola said. “It would make it a lot easier for everybody.”

But, not all physicians are on board with the idea because it would also allow some pharmacists to treat other ongoing medical conditions like prescribing insulin to a person with diabetes.

Dr. Alejandro Perez-Trepichio, secretary of the Collier County Medical Society, said patient safety is a big concern with what House Bill 111 proposes.

“What would be the consequences if something were to go wrong?” Dr. Perez-Trepichio said.

Meaning, what would happen if a patient were misdiagnosed or given a prescription he or she does not need. But pharmacists said there are measures in place to prevent that, which includes training that would be required every two years.

Customers, like Dennison, are excited by the idea of quicker treatment.

“I can understand why there’s some concern,” Dennison said. But, he believes it would be a “wonderful thing.”

Reporter:Channing Frampton
Writer:Michael Mora