Mattiello bill would allow patients to partially fill painkiller prescriptions

HOUSE SPEAKER Nicholas A. Mattiello, D-Cranston, has introduced legislation that would give patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers in an effort to reduce addiction in the Ocean State. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
HOUSE SPEAKER Nicholas A. Mattiello, D-Cranston, has introduced legislation that would give patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers in an effort to reduce addiction in the Ocean State. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

PROVIDENCE – Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello, D-Cranston, has introduced legislation that would give patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers, intended to aid in reducing addiction in the Ocean State.

The bill, 2018-H 7416, would allow a pharmacist to dispense a partial fill of a Schedule II controlled substance at the request of either the patient or the prescriber.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the biggest tragedies of our time, and finding new ways to tackle it continues to be a challenge,” said Mattiello. “This legislation will allow and encourage prescribers, patients and pharmacists to work together, and empower patients to limit the number of unused pills that are left in their medicine chests, which is where opioid addiction begins.”

Under the provisions of the legislation, subsequent fills would have to be dispensed at the same pharmacy where the original prescription was partially filled, and the total quantity dispensed could not exceed the total quantity prescribed. After 30 days, the prescription would expire.

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“One of the things we’ve heard about the opioid crisis from the Centers for Disease Control is that almost 80 percent of people who are at the highest risk of overdose initially acquired pills that were legally prescribed to someone – either themselves, [or] a friend of a relative,” said Mattiello. “This is an important step in reducing the number of pills that are out there.”

Under the bill, pharmacists would also be required to record only the actual amounts of the drug dispensed in the state’s prescription-drug monitoring program maintained by the R.I. Department of Health.

The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Reps. Joseph M. McNamara, D-Warwick, Patricia Serpa, D-West Warwick, Mia Ackerman, D-Cumberland, and Majority Whip John G. Edwards, D-Tiverton, has been referred to the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.