Every day throughout the State of Ohio, individuals receive medications from their local pharmacists.  When these life-sustaining medications are not available to patients due to well-intentioned governmental regulations, catastrophic effects can take place.

In the case of 36-year-old Kevin Houdeshell, such a tragic event transpired. Kevin, an Avon Lake resident and diabetic, needed a new prescription for his insulin but was unable to reach his doctor over the holidays in late December of 2013.  He passed away four days later from an extremely high blood glucose level.  Even more tragic than his death, is the fact that it could have been avoided if Kevin wasn’t turned away from receiving his medicines by his pharmacist.

House Bill 188, which I am joint-sponsoring with Representative (and physician) Steve Huffman, directly addresses this issue and many others like it. The bill would give pharmacists the ability to issue a refill prescription if the prescribing physician is not available, and the refill prescription is essential to sustain the life of the patient or continue therapy for a chronic condition.

In numerous cases, patients need to refill a prescription when their doctor is unavailable to them. Many times if they are unable to get a refill, the result is a costly trip to the emergency room, an unnecessary exacerbation of their condition, or in the most awful extreme, death.  Many medications, including insulin, cannot be broken down into a 72 hour dose, which current law allows to be distributed. HB 188 will allow pharmacists to provide a 30 day(or typical quantity) supply of drugs that cannot be dispensed in smaller quantities, which can reduce the burden on the health care system and still ensure that patients are receiving their needed medications.

Dan Houdeshell, Kevin’s father also of Avon Lake, appeared before the Health and Human Services Committee and closed his testimony by saying, “Hopefully this bill will prevent someone else from enduring the grief of losing a child, a family member, an uncle, or their best friend, like we have.  Enacting this bill into law would be a blessing to so many.”  The Houdeshell family, with help from the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland, is hosting The Kevin Houdeshell Memorial Golf Outing on Saturday, June 27 at Sweetbriar Golf Club to raise awareness about this issue.  Any contributions made in his name go directly to the emergency insulin relief program provided by the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland. 

In short, I hope to provide additional support to any who suffer from a chronic illness such as diabetes, asthma, COPD, and other illnesses requiring life-saving medication with House Bill 188. As with all state government related issues, I hope you will contact my office and work with us as we continue in the 131st General Assembly. 

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