Before the Committee on Public Health
The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) wishes to be recorded in support of H.1929, “An Act relative to the Partial Fill Prescribing Method Advisory Commission.” This bill would direct the executive office of Health and Human Services to create a special commission to study the feasibility of implementing a program allowing for the partial filling of opioid prescriptions. We offer an amendment at the conclusion of this testimony.
The concept of “partial fills” would allow patients to elect to receive a portion of their Schedule II and III opioid prescription from the pharmacy. Certain versions of partial fill legislation, including the one detailed in Senate bill 2010, allow for the remainder of the prescription to remain valid to enable the patient to return to receive the rest of the prescription if the pain persists. The Medical Society sees this detail as vital to our support of partial fill legislation and hopes that an advisory commission would include this detail in its study.
Prescriptions that are larger than necessary can lead to opioid dependence and misuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 80% of persons misusing opioids did not receive the drugs from a valid prescription. Limiting unused pills via partially filled prescriptions can in turn limit the diversion of prescription drugs.
Allowing for partial fills, while beneficial to public health, would affect many aspects of the health care and pharmaceutical delivery system. An advisory commission could help elucidate the details of how this policy would be structured and implemented. The Medical Society, representing over 25,000 physicians and medical students, feels that its representation on the commission would be critical to offer the perspective of the professionals who are prescribing many medications that patients could elect to partially fill. We respectfully ask that the bill be amended to include a representative of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and to ensure that the partial fill program studied by the commission allows for the remainder of the partially filled prescription to remain valid.
The Medical Society applauds this bill, and urges the Joint Committee to favorably report this bill as amended.