In response to an influx of evacuees from Hurricane Irma, Governor Haslam has issued Executive Order No. 66, “An Order to Allow Medical and Other Health-Related Services for Evacuees of Hurricane Irma.” The Executive Order became effective on September 10, 2017, and is effective through 12:00 a.m. CDT on September 25, 2017.
The Executive Order suspends TCA 63-10-207 (a) and (c) [below] to allow pharmacists to dispense up to a 14-day supply to victims of Hurricane Irma. However, (b) was not suspended by the Governor, so the Executive Order does not extend to controlled substances.
Per Governor Haslam’s Executive Order No. 66: The provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-10-207(a) and (c) are hereby suspended to allow a pharmacist to dispense a fourteen-day supply of a prescription drug without proper authorization to evacuees from Hurricane Irma, subject to all other provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-10-207 [below].
63-10-207. Dispensing of medication prior to authorization.
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a pharmacist may, in good faith, dispense to a patient without proper authorization the number of dosages of a prescription drug necessary to allow such patient to secure such authorization from such patient’s prescriber, not to exceed a seventy-two-hour supply, if:
(1) The patient offers satisfactory evidence to the pharmacist that the prescriber has placed the patient on a maintenance medication and that such patient is without valid refills or for some valid reason cannot obtain proper authorization; and
(2) In the judgment of the pharmacist, the health, safety and welfare of the patient would otherwise be endangered.
(b) This section shall not be construed to authorize dispensing of controlled substance medication without proper authorization. [NOT SUSPENDED by Executive Order No. 66]
(c) If proper authorization cannot be obtained during the seventy-two-hour period, then the pharmacist may dispense the number of dosages necessary for one (1) additional consecutive seventy-two-hour period in accordance with the requirements of this section.
Governor Haslam’s Executive Order No. 66 shall remain in effect until 12:00 a.m. CDT on September 25, 2017.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has also provided a link to Healthcare Ready, a non-profit supported by both public and private sector partners that works to ensure patient access to healthcare, including medicines, during times of disaster. Healthcare Ready has activated its virtual Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to support healthcare and public health response operations and assist victims of the recent hurricanes.
The Tennessee Pharmacists Association extends sympathies to the hurricane victims and thanks our pharmacists and pharmacy professionals for your collective efforts to assist in this emergency.
We are also grateful to Governor Haslam and his office, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy for working to ensure that patients have uninterrupted access to life-saving and life-sustaining medication therapies. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as they become available.