Gov. Ducey issues executive order allowing some prescriptions to be refilled without doctor visit

Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order Thursday that will allow some Arizonans to get their prescriptions refilled without having to see the doctor.

The order will allow pharmacists to refill prescriptions for up to 180 days without having to make a doctor's appointment, if necessary.

It also waives certain electronic prescribing requirements and hospital labeling restrictions for multidose medications.

Ducey says he wants to make sure seniors and those with health conditions are able to avoid going out if they don't have to.

“We want to make sure our seniors and vulnerable populations are staying safe and physically distancing to the greatest extent possible while having access to needed medications,” he said. “This commonsense order will also help free up physicians to focus on providing critical medical services at this time.”

The order also outlines new requirements when filling hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine -- including limiting the prescription to a 14-day supply and requiring that a prescription must be presented with a diagnosis code for COVID-19 from the prescriber.

Longtime pharmacist responds

Randall House, who has been in the pharmaceutical industry for two decades, says he has never seen a crisis like this, with people stocking up on prescription refills due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In times of despair and pandemics and whatever it may be, people need their medications, and that’s what we’re here to make sure that they get.”

House says he has been paying for more refills in the past 30 days. He says a majority of his customers are senior citizens who are vulnerable to symptoms.

“Be it blood pressure medications, diabetic medications, cholesterol medications, things like that to where they’re not having to sit in the office, and most of these patients are seniors," said House.

Seniors who may not want to rely on telemedicine and want to have months of prescription drugs ready at home.

House says he also foresees pharmacies potentially become testing sites for the coronavirus.

“I believe with the pandemic growing and we're not quite to the spike, or where were saying you’re seeing it’s gonna spike, we're going to hopefully be on that frontline to help these providers and provide those COVID-19 tests," said House.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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