COLUMBUS (WYTV) – Governor John Kasich announced new plans on Thursday to help fight the opioid epidemic in Ohio. The new regulations could help reduce opioid addiction from prescription drugs.
The proposed new rules would make it easier for drug wholesalers — which sell to pharmacies in the state — to track suspicious orders. The rules have been worked on for a few months but a town in West Virginia has brought more interest to something that could help Ohio.
From 2008 to 2015, the town of Williamson, West Virginia was sold more than 20 million prescription painkillers from two different pharmacies. But Williamson only has a population of 3,000.
“The incident out of West Virginia, that really enforced the need for Ohio to take this responsibility,” said Cameron McNamee, with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
On Thursday, Gov. Kasich announced new proposed rules in an attempt to stop the illegal distribution of pharmaceuticals.
“What we have is a national model,” Kasich said.
It’s known as the Know Your Customer requirement.
“Wholesalers will be required to report detailed information on the business practices of their customers,” said President of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy Megan Marchal.
Wholesalers will then report any suspicious orders, like the one in West Virginia, to the Drug Enforcement Agency. They’ll also be required to have on-site visits to companies they do business with, as well as stopping shipments that are deemed suspicious.
“You have an obligation to know who you’re selling these pills to,” Kasich said.
Until now, the state has followed national guidelines for reporting suspicious orders. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy calls those guidelines vague and inconsistent.
If the state discovers it’s a minor offense, a pharmacy could be hit with sanctions. More extreme cases could result in immediate license suspension and criminal charges.
There are more than 500 wholesale pharmaceutical distributors in Ohio and about 20,000 pharmacies, doctors and others that can sell to patients.
If the rules are approved, it will be a few months before they are put in place.