New legislation signed into law could pave the way for new educational opportunities and modernization of pharmacy practice in the state, according to officials with the Marshall University School of Pharmacy.
Director of Pharmacy Services Brian Gallagher said the new legislation, which goes into effect July 1, expands collaborative practice between pharmacists and physicians, updating a policy from the 1990s.
"The changes provide the opportunity for pharmacists to be more active members of the health care team by managing medications for patients in conjunction with the patient's physician," Gallagher said in a news release. "Allowing cooperation among health care professionals in the community setting improves the quality of care and provides increased access while decreasing overall costs."
Gallagher said the new law will allow pharmacists to partner with physicians to provide specific patient care functions.
Marshall School of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Kevin W. Yingling said the new policy will allow for enhanced patient care outcomes through medication therapy management by physicians, and it also will allow for broader experiential opportunities for pharmacy students.
"The modernization of the pharmacy practice act moves West Virginia forward in pharmacy education and ultimately means better and more accessible health care for patients," Yingling said in a news release. "I commend the West Virginia Legislature, in particular, Delegate Don C. Perdue and Senator Ron D. Stollings and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for their dedication for shepherding this much-needed initiative into law."
The new law, nicknamed the Larry W. Border Pharmacy Practice Act, was named in memory of the long-time delegate and pharmacist Larry Border who died in 2011.
Perdue, D-Wayne, was a sponsor of the legislation. He also is a pharmacist and said the new legislation comes after years of work from those in the academic, clinical and community areas.