HIV medication redistribution bill clears Alabama Legislature

New information: Gov. Robert Bentley will not sign the bill, his health policy adviser Dave White said Friday, June 12. White attributed the decision to a technical error in the committee amendment and said Bentley supports the bill’s intent.

Pharmacies that distribute HIV medications in or for HIV clinics could redistribute certain unopened drugs under a bill that won final approval Thursday in the Alabama Legislature and was sent to Gov. Robert Bentley.

HB 247, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, passed both the House and Senate without a single “no” vote. The bill includes a Senate committee amendment protecting drug manufacturers from liability in the event of improper re-dispensing and excluding drugs that require patient registration with the drug’s manufacturer. Pharmacies serving correctional facilities and nursing homes already have the authority to redistribute unopened drugs.

Under current law, HIV clinics must destroy unopened medications if patients do not show up for treatment. Todd’s bill, if signed by Bentley, will allow pharmacies to redistribute those drugs to other patients and set controls on handling and oversight of the drugs. Arise recommended this policy change in 2013 to the governor’s Medicaid Pharmacy Study Commission, which sought ways to reduce costs in the state’s Medicaid drug assistance programs.

By Jim Carnes, policy director. Posted June 4, 2015. Updated June 12, 2015.