Missouri becomes the third state in the nation to allow HIV post-exposure drugs to be dispensed without a prescription. Gov. Mike Parson has signed a bill into law allowing Missouri pharmacists to dispense the medication without a doctor’s prescription.
If a person is exposed to HIV, taking these drugs within 72 hours can kill the virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Getting a doctor’s appointment and prescription within that 72-hour time frame can be the tricky part. So, the bill aims to improve access to the medication and prevent someone exposed to HIV from a lifetime of taking expensive medications.
Representative Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, helped to lead the effort.
“We are really at the forefront of the country on providing access to these important medications. I’m glad to see our state lead in an innovative way,” he tells Missourinet.
California and Colorado are the two other states with laws allowing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medications to be dispensed without a prescription.
“These drugs are very new. They’ve only come about in the last few years. This is only the second time this bill was filed. I filed it for the first time last year,” he says. “Getting it across in the second year of its introduction is really remarkable. bills just don’t make it or they take years and years and years to get done. So, I was happy that we acted quickly on this.”
Christofanelli says the medication is a critical tool to help eradicate HIV.
“Missouri was cited federally as an area of concern for increasing HIV transmission rates, especially in rural Missouri. We were identified as one of the seven fasting-growing HIV populations in the country,” Christofanelli says.
Under the bill, pharmacists must follow an established plan formed with a physician to distribute the drugs, similar to how vaccines are given in Missouri pharmacies.
Senator Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, has also been leading the charge on getting the bill across the finish line. He introduced the measure in the Senate and also during his time in the House.
The language was added to a bill sponsored by Representative Derek Grier, R-Chesterfield. To view House Bill 476, click here.
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