Kansas Senate bill would require pharmacists to fill non-approved COVID-19 treatment prescriptions if asked
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -- Senate Bill 381 had its first hearing Wednesday in the Kansas Senate's Health and Welfare committee.
The bill would require pharmacists who receive a prescription for drugs like Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine to be used as off-label COVID-19 treatment to fill them, no matter what. The bill would also require a review of any actions taken by the board against physicians who prescribed those treatments since March 2020.
Supporters say it would give more protection to doctors who they believe are afraid to prescribe the drugs because of punishment from their employers or by the state board.
"Physicians are being intimidated and wrongly treated over this issue," said Dr. Terese Bauer, a supporter of SB 381 during the hearing.
However, leaders with some of Kansas's largest hospitals including the University of Kansas Health Systems and Ascension Via Christi, are pushing back against the bill.
"This is an this is a unwelcome, unsafe intrusion into the practice of medicine. At some level, we have to get back to common sense and reality," said Dr. Steve Stites, the chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health Systems during the system's state wide COVID call Wednesday morning.
Doctors say forcing pharmacists to fill prescriptions of drugs undermines their judgment and that the bill could open up a lot of issues down the line.
Dr. Stites said, "What happens three months from now if there's a weight of evidence really against Ivermectin, but now you still have to write for it? Or what happens if there's another drug but you still have to write for it?"
Doctors on the call also said that most are not prescribing these drugs and pharmacists are not filling them not because of fear of retribution, but because peer reviewed studies have shown they do not work as COVID treatments.
"The evidence based medicine around things like Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, when you take out all those biases, and those articles that have been retracted, or their authors have been reprimanded, it shows no benefit to receiving those," said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control for the University of Kansas Health systems.
The bill is slated to be worked in committee next week.
During the testimony, State Senator Mark Steffen from the Hutchinson area, who supports the bill, revealed he is being investigated by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for what he says is his "public comments about COVID-19" and says its been going on since 2020.
KAKE News reached out to the board of healing arts, s spokesperson said in an email "The Board of Healing Arts is not able to confirm or deny whether there is an investigation on any healthcare provider."