Nevada Law Allows Pharmacists to Help Combat Diabetes--June 2009

Pharmacists in Nevada are now able to improve diabetes screening with the governor's signing of S 72 into law. The law gives registered pharmacists throughout the state a role in detecting diabetes.

The faculty and students at the University of Southern Nevada College of Pharmacy, who actively supported the bill to further improve health care in the state, applauded Gov Jim Gibbons' actions. "We are very pleased with the action by our state legislators and the governor for recognizing the importance of enhancing diabetes detection in Nevada," said Renee Coffman, BSPharm, PhD, dean of the school. "Not only will screenings by pharmacists help identify undiagnosed patients so they can seek care from their physician, but it will allow pharmacists to fully assist newly diagnosed patients on how to properly use their glucose monitors, which is fundamental in controlling the disease."

She also noted that the earlier an individual is diagnosed and treated, the more likely they are to avoid serious diabetes-related complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, diabetic nerve disease, and vascular complications that can often lead to amputation.

Nevada is above the national average, with 8.2% of the population having diabetes. This accounts for >215,000 Nevadans that are diagnosed, according to Chris Moore from the Adult Diabetes Education and Management Support Group.

Under the new law, pharmacists conducting blood glucose screenings could become a valuable resource in gathering test data to provide a more accurate account of individuals with diabetes in the state. Nevada had been 1 of 3 states that did not give trained pharmacists the ability to conduct blood glucose tests in pharmacies to screen the public for diabetes.