Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill that will increase the number of times someone can receive a life-saving medication in an emergency situation without a prescription.
House Bill 37, sponsored by state Rep. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, was signed into law Tuesday. It passed overwhelmingly in the Ohio Senate and House, according to the state legislature’s website.
Under the bill, patients may receive up to three emergency refills of life-saving medication in a year without a prescription if a pharmacist cannot get authorization to refill the prescription and failing to dispense the drug to the patient could result in harm to their health, among other conditions.
That is an expansion from a 2016 law introduced by Manning that allowed for one emergency refill.
The patient’s insurance will cover the emergency refill as if it were part of the benefit plan and emergency refills will not be consecutive, according to a news release from Manning’s office.
She said Thursday that the insurance coverage element was an important addition that was not included in the original bill.
"We figured, if the insurance covers it normally if the provider writes the prescription, it should be covered even if the pharmacist renews the prescription," Manning said.
Refills will be for a limited supply. The first is for up to a 30-day supply, and the second and third are for up to a seven-day supply, if used in the same year.
Manning took to Twitter on Thursday to thank Dan and Judy Houdeshell of Avon Lake for their work with her on the legislation, which she referred to as “Kevin’s Law 2.0” in honor of their son Kevin Houdeshell.
Kevin Houdeshell died at age 36 in 2014 after he was unable to obtain necessary insulin to manage his diabetes over the New Year’s holiday. After his death, his parents became advocates for legislation that could prevent others from having similar experiences.
They submitted testimony to the House Health Committee in support of the new bill, stating that it would strengthen the original law. Dan Houdeshell wrote in the testimony that it “is not a small issue and deserves all the power and tools the state can supply.”
Twenty states have followed Ohio’s example in upgrading their laws and four others were in the process, he wrote.
Dan Houdeshell wrote that the original Kevin’s Law “has already proven to be effective by the number of people who have used it and whose lives have been saved by it.”
Manning said the new bill was especially important to her because it originated with the Houdeshell family, who live in her district and have been working for years on the matter.
"As I tell them, 'You've made quite a difference in not only the state of Ohio but the United States in honor of your son,'" she said.
Recipients of a scholarship honoring Kevin Houdeshell were among those who were invited to be in attendance when DeWine signed the bill Tuesday.