Bill to Allow Physicians to Distribute Medicine at the Office Takes a Hit

House Bill 1622, which would have let physicians distribute certain common prescribed medicines, has died in the public health committee in the Texas House of Representatives. Committee chair and Houston Democrat Senfronia Thompson has not allowed the bill to come before the committee, meaning there will not be public debate.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Tom Oilverson from Houston, and advocates say it would get rid of the hurdle of finding a pharmacy and improve medication adherence. Nationwide, 46 states have passed legislation allowing physicians to distribute certain medications at their office, urgent care clinics, or worksite clinics. Supporters argue that physicians can sidestep pharmacy overhead and pharmacy benefit managers, meaning most medicines would be cheaper than they would be at the pharmacy. The bill would not allow physicians to charge anything over than their costs for the medicine.

Opponents worry that allowing physicians to distribute medicine would remove an important check on the accuracy of the prescriptions and how that medicine might interact with other medications already being taken by the patient. There is also discrepancy about the cost of the medicine from a pharmacy versus a doctor’s office.

The Texas Pharmacy Association is against the bill, while the Texas Academy of Family Physicians and the Texas Public Policy Foundation are proponents. With less than two months left in the legislative session, it is unlikely that a similar bill will be brought up in the Senate.

Rep. Johnson’s office did not respond to a message sent last week. Learn more about the bill here.