Assembly Health Committee Approves Bill to Allow Needle Sales Without a Doctor’s Prescription
The Assembly Health Committee Tuesday voted 13-2 to pass a bill (SB 1785) that would allow adults to purchase as many as 30 hypodermic needles at licensed pharmacies without a doctor's prescription, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 6/20). State law currently requires a prescription to purchase needles, except for those used to inject adrenaline or insulin. The bill, which passed the Senate 21-12 last month, would require pharmacies to store syringes so that they are available only to authorized personnel and not openly available to customers. The legislation also would require pharmacists to provide an on-site safe syringe disposal program and information on drug treatment and disease prevention. Health advocacy groups, pharmacies and other supporters have said that the bill would reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C and could save the state millions of dollars in health care costs through a decrease in the use of shared needles. However, opponents have said that the legislation would provide illicit drug users with access to needles and would advocate illicit drug use. Although 44 states have similar laws, the Assembly Health Committee had defeated similar legislation in the past (California Healthline, 6/18). The bill now moves to the Assembly Public Safety Committee for consideration (Los Angeles Times, 6/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.