Relates to hypodermic syringes.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to hypodermic syringes
PURPOSE: This bill would further the public health objectives of the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) by repealing provisions that limit the quantity of syringes that may be sold or furnished during one transaction to ten or fewer and prohibit pharmacies from advertising the availability of these syringes to the public.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill would amend Public Health Law (PHL) § 3381(1) to permit pharmacies, health care facilities licensed under PHL Article 28 and health care practitioners that are authorized to sell or otherwise furnish hypodermic syringes to persons without a prescription to provide more than ten syringes in a single transaction.
Section 1 of the bill would also repeal PHL § 3381(5) (d) (i), which currently prohibits pharmacies from advertising the retail availability of syringes without a prescription.
Section 2 of the bill provides that the bill would take effect immediately.
EXISTING LAW: PHL § 3381 authorizes pharmacies, health care facilities licensed under PHL Article 28, and health care practitioners otherwise authorized to prescribe syringes within their scope of practice to sell or provide syringes without a prescription to persons who are 18 years of age or older and in quantities of 10 or less per transaction. A "safety insert" must be provided each time a syringe is sold or dispensed, and pharmacies that sell syringes may not advertise them to the public.
JUSTIFICATION: More than 3,000 pharmacies, health care facilities and practitioners have registered with the Department of Health (DOH) to sell or furnish syringes to those age 18 and over without a prescription under the EBAP. This program makes syringes available without a prescription and promotes the safe disposal of used syringes. Research has shown this program effectively reduces transmission of blood-borne pathogens as a result of needle sharing and reuse and may increase safe disposal of used syringes. EBAP providers sell two to three million non-prescription syringes a year and the need for unrestricted access to syringes remains high. Only two states, Delaware and New Jersey, do not allow the sale of syringes without a prescription. In a 2003 report, the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) stated that ESAP "has great potential to prevent transmission of blood-borne diseases without any detrimental effect on syringe disposal, drug use or crime." NYAM's recommendation included: (1) enacting legislation to allow the program to continue permanently (which occurred as part of the
2009-10 enacted budget); (2) lifting the restriction on pharmacy advertising; (3) continuing education and outreach; (4) continuing safe syringe disposal education; and (5) expanding disposal options.
At the time of the program's extension through 2007, NYAM again noted the importance of syringe access, indicating that expanded syringe access "is critically important to stemming the spread of infectious disease." Numerous studies published in peer-reviewed journals have attested to the value of ESAP in reducing syringe sharing and re-use and preventing disease transmission.
This bill would eliminate two restrictions on the sale of syringes to further the objectives of ESAP. First, the bill would remove the restriction on the number of syringes that may be sold or furnished, leaving the matter to the discretion of the individual ESAP provider. The current limit of 10 syringes per transaction was first implemented when ESAP was a demonstration project. Removing the limitation would better serve individuals who use this program by ensuring that they have enough clean syringes to prevent reusing or sharing syringes. For individuals in rural regions of the State, removing this restriction will facilitate access, particularly when it may be difficult or time-consuming to get to a pharmacy to purchase or dispose of used syringes.
This bill would also permit pharmacies to advertise the availability of syringes to the public. Of the 3,300 pharmacies, health care facilities and practitioners that have registered with DOH as part of
ESAP, more than 97 percent are pharmacies. The public health function that they serve is compromised if potential customers are unaware of which pharmacies are registered ESAP providers. Appropriate pharmacy advertising can supplement the efforts of DOH to promote ESAP and provide consumers with access to information that they need to make informed choices.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.5312 - Died in Health
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: This bill is not anticipated to have a fiscal impact to the State or any locality.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill would take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 832 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to hypodermic syring- es THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivisions 1 and 5 of section 3381 of the public health law, subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 178 of the laws of 2010 and subdivision 5 as amended by section 9-a of part B of chapter 58 of the laws of 2007, are amended to read as follows: 1. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or furnish to another person or persons, a hypodermic syringe or hypodermic needle except: (a) pursuant to a prescription of a practitioner, which for the purposes of this section shall include a patient specific prescription form as provided for in the education law; or (b) to persons who have been authorized by the commissioner to obtain and possess such instruments; or (c) by a pharmacy licensed under article one hundred thirty-seven of the education law, health care facility licensed under article twenty- eight of this chapter or a health care practitioner who is otherwise authorized to prescribe the use of hypodermic needles or syringes within his or her scope of practice; provided, however, that such sale or furnishing: (i) shall only be to a person eighteen years of age or older; AND (ii)
[shall be limited to a quantity of ten or less hypoderm- ic needles or syringes; and (iii)]shall be in accordance with subdivi- sion five of this section. 5. (a) A person eighteen years of age or older may obtain and possess a hypodermic syringe or hypodermic needle pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02913-01-3 S. 832 2
(b) Subject to regulations of the commissioner, a pharmacy licensed under article one hundred thirty-seven of the education law, a health care facility licensed under article twenty-eight of this chapter or a health care practitioner who is otherwise authorized to prescribe the use of hypodermic needles or syringes within his or her scope of prac- tice, may obtain and possess hypodermic needles or syringes for the purpose of selling or furnishing them pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section or for the purpose of disposing of them, provided that such pharmacy, health care facility or health care practi- tioner has registered with the department. (c) Sale or furnishing of hypodermic syringes or hypodermic needles to direct consumers pursuant to this subdivision by a pharmacy, health care facility, or health care practitioner shall be accompanied by a safety insert. Such safety insert shall be developed or approved by the commis- sioner and shall include, but not be limited to, (i) information on the proper use of hypodermic syringes and hypodermic needles; (ii) the risk of blood borne diseases that may result from the use of hypodermic syringes and hypodermic needles; (iii) methods for preventing the trans- mission or contraction of blood borne diseases; (iv) proper hypodermic syringe and hypodermic needle disposal practices; (v) information on the dangers of injection drug use, and how to access drug treatment; (vi) a toll-free phone number for information on the human immunodeficiency virus; and (vii) information on the safe disposal of hypodermic syringes and hypodermic needles including the relevant provisions of the environ- mental conservation law relating to the unlawful release of regulated medical waste. The safety insert shall be attached to or included in the hypodermic syringe and hypodermic needle packaging, or shall be given to the purchaser at the point of sale or furnishing in brochure form.
[(d)]In addition to the requirements of paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section, a pharmacy licensed under article one hundred thir- ty-seven of the education law may sell or furnish hypodermic needles or syringes only if such pharmacy [: (i) does not advertise to the public the availability for retail sale or furnishing of hypodermic needles or syringes without a prescription; and (ii)]at any location where hypo- dermic needles or syringes are kept for retail sale or furnishing, stores such needles and syringes in a manner that makes them available only to authorized personnel and not openly available to customers. [(e)](D) The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this subdivision which shall include a requirement that such pharmacies, health care facilities and health care practitioners cooperate in [a]THE safe disposal of used hypodermic needles or syringes. [(f)](E) The commissioner may, upon the finding of a violation of this section, suspend for a determinate period of time the sale or furnishing of syringes by a specific entity. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.