Pharmacists Allowed to Administer Epinephrine in Texas

Pharmacists in Texas can now legally provide and administer epinephrine auto-injectors to patients experiencing anaphylaxis, under a state law effective January 1, 2016.

Pharmacists in Texas can now legally provide and administer epinephrine auto-injectors to patients experiencing anaphylaxis, under a state law effective January 1, 2016.

“Prior to the passage and implementation of this new law, pharmacists were legally prohibited from administering epinephrine and could only help their patient by calling 911, even when the pharmacist had the lifesaving epinephrine sitting on the shelf only feet away,” Texas Pharmacy Association spokesman Justin Hudman explained to Pharmacy Times. “The most critical piece right now is assuring that pharmacists are aware of this new authority.”

Before Texas House Bill 1550 was implemented, the state’s pharmacists felt forced to decide between treating a patient experiencing severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction or risk losing their jobs. Hudman made clear that the new law is really about allowing the state’s pharmacists to put patients first and act when seconds truly matter.

“This law did not come about as a response to any specific issue related to a pharmacist’s actions, but instead as a result of pharmacists seeing a significant need within their communities and realizing that they were legally prohibited from saving their patients’ lives,” Hudman said.

He noted that the law also raises awareness of pharmacists as health care providers, rather than merely drug dispensers.

“Now, the public can start to see that pharmacists are highly educated and trained individuals who do in fact have an important role within the health care team,” Hudman said. “In addition, this [state epinephrine law] provides a means for the public to see the pharmacist move beyond the counter and into a much more publicly active role of patient services.”

He believes that this law will show patients that “our pharmacists and pharmacies are well positioned to play an ever-increasing role in meeting the demands and needs of patients in need of health care services.”

“The Texas Pharmacy Association and our pharmacists are excited by the knowledge that as a result of this law and the part that our pharmacists can now play, countless people, including in large part children, will have improved access to this life-saving treatment,” Hudman told Pharmacy Times.

Other states are currently in the process of passing or implementing similar epinephrine laws. For instance, Michigan House Bill 4438 was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder on December 18, 2015, and it will go into effect 90 days from that date.

Michigan Pharmacy Association director of professional practice Eric Roath, PharmD, said the state’s epinephrine law differs from the one implemented in Texas in that it will “allow pharmacists to dispense the first dose of epinephrine to an authorized entity with a prescription, such as a school, so it can be available in more public places for administering when needed,” but the pharmacist cannot administer it.