Legislative Update

[Updated 11.15.21]

The California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) continues to grow our influence in the halls of the Capitol, before the State Board of Pharmacy and with the Newsome Administration.

CPhA staff and leadership participated in various task forces within the Newsom Administration while the state was in the midst of the pandemic to ensure that the pharmacy perspective was considered when decisions were made. Due to our involvement, we were able to secure several waivers removing barriers to pharmacist’s ability to provide care in the early days of the pandemic.

The state Legislature, like many entities, had to adjust how business was conducted in order to comply with public health mandates. For most of the last 18 months, the Capitol was closed to the public so CPhA staff had to quickly adapt to advocating for pharmacy in a “virtual world.” While the inability to meet in person with legislators created some challenges, we successfully sponsored several bills.


2020 CPhA Sponsored Legislation

AB 2100 (Wood)- It would have authorized the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to make a disease management or similar payment to Medi-Cal provider pharmacies that dispense specialty drugs to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Status: Vetoed.

AB 1710 (Wood) – This bill granted pharmacists the authority to independently initiate and administer a COVID-19 vaccine.
Status: Signed into law on September 24, 2020


2021 Sponsored Legislation

AB 671 (Wood) – This bill would have required the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to provide a disease management or similar payment to a pharmacy for specified costs and activities that are associated with dispensing specialty drugs in an amount necessary to ensure beneficiary access.
Status: This legislation was held in the Assembly as we were able to meet this objective by securing Medication Therapy Management (MTM) in the state budget.

AB 1064 (Fong) – This bill authorizes a pharmacist to independently initiate and administer any vaccine that has been approved or authorized by the FDA and received an ACIP individual vaccine recommendation published by the CDC for persons 3 years of age and older.
Status: Signed into law October 08, 2021.

SB 362 (Newman) – This bill prohibits a chain community pharmacy from imposing business quotas intended to increase corporate profit margins on the backs of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
Status: Signed into law September 27, 2021.

SB 524 (Skinner) – This bill was intended to limit the practice of “patient steering,” which is used by some health plans, insurers and their contracted pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to steer patients from their established in-network pharmacy to a pharmacy that is owned by the insurer or PBM.
Status: Vetoed.


In addition to our sponsored bills, CPhA was involved in the passage of the following bills:

SB 409 (Caballero) – Pharmacy practice: SARS-CoV-2 and influenza testing
This bill expands the authority of pharmacists to conduct specific CLIA-waived tests:

  • SARS-CoV-2 or other respiratory illness, condition or disease.
  • Sexually transmitted infection.
  • Strep throat.
  • Cardiovascular health.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Liver and kidney function or infection.
  • Thyroid function.
  • Substance use disorder.

The bill would also make conforming changes in provisions related to clinical laboratories to authorize that testing and include pharmacist-in-charge, as specified, in the definition of a laboratory director.
Status: Signed into law October 06, 2021.

AB 1533 (Business & Professions) – Sunset Review: Board of Pharmacy
This bill expanded the authority of a pharmacist to provide any medication-assisted treatment as long as the treatment is authorized by federal law.
Makes a number of changes to address violations of pharmacy law by chain community pharmacies operating under common ownership and increased penalties the BOP may impose to $100,000 for three or more repeated violations, or a maximum of $150,000 for violations demonstrated to be the result of a written policy or which was expressly encouraged by the common owner or manager.
Requires the BOP to convene a workgroup discuss whether moving to a standard of care enforcement model would be feasible and appropriate for the regulation of pharmacy and make recommendations to the Legislature about the outcome of these discussions through a report submitted to the Legislature
Requires that at least one of the professional members of the BOP to be a compounding pharmacist.
Status: Signed into law October 07, 2021.


Additional Legislation

AB 347 (Arambula) – Health care coverage: step therapy
This bill adds protections and transparency to current Utilization Management protocols to ensure patients have access to the treatments they need without delays that can worsen their medical condition.
CPhA Position: Support
Status: Signed into law October 09, 2021.

AB 458 – (Kamlager) – California Affordable Drug Importation Act
This bill would create the Affordable Prescription Drug Importation Program in CHHSA, under which the state would be a licensed wholesaler that imports prescription drugs, as specified, for the exclusive purpose of dispensing those drugs to state residents with a valid prescription.
CPhA Position: Oppose
Status: Assembly Health – Was not heard in committee

AB 933 (Daly) – Prescription drug cost sharing
This bill would require an enrollee’s or insured’s defined cost sharing for each prescription drug to be calculated at the point of sale based on a price that is reduced by an amount equal to 90% of all rebates received, or to be received, in connection with the dispensing or administration of the drug. The bill would prohibit a health care service plan, health insurer, or a plan’s or insurer’s agents from publishing or otherwise revealing information regarding the actual amount of rebates the health care service plan or health insurer receives on a product-specific, manufacturer-specific, or pharmacy-specific basis.
CPhA Position: Support if Amended
Status: Assembly Health – Was not heard in committee

AB 1328 (Irwin) – Clinical laboratory technology and pharmacists
  This bill would revise and expand the types of persons that may perform CLIA-waived tests, including pharmacists and intern pharmacists if the results of the tests can be lawfully utilized within their practice.
CPhA Position: Support
Status: Senate Appropriations – Held under submission.

AB 1430 (Arambula) – Pharmacy: dispensing: controlled substances
This bill, would require a pharmacist who dispenses in solid oral dosage form, a controlled substance in Schedule II or Schedule IIN to dispense it in a lockable vial provide an educational pamphlet on controlled substances, and, if the lockable vial uses an alphanumeric passcode or other code, include the code in any patient notes in the database or other system used by the pharmacy in the dispensing of prescription drugs.
The bill would require the board to develop the educational pamphlet and provide it to pharmacists in printed form. The bill would require the manufacturer of a controlled substance to reimburse the pharmacy each month for the cost of lockable vials used by the pharmacy to dispense controlled substances within 30 days of receiving a claim for reimbursement, and would require the manufacturer to pay, among other costs, the net acquisition cost of the lockable vials and dispensing costs.
CPhA Position: Oppose
Status: Assembly Appropriations – Held under submission

SB 306 (Pan) – Sexually Transmitted Disease: Testing
Requires a health care provider to include expedited partner therapy or EPT on a prescription if the practitioner is unable to obtain the name of a patient’s sexual partner, and would authorize a pharmacist to dispense an expedited partner therapy prescription and label the drug without an individual’s name if the prescription includes expedited partner therapy or EPT.
CPhA Position: Support
Status: Signed into law October 04, 2021.

SB 535 (Limon) – Biomarker testing
This bill prohibits prior authorization for biomarker testing for patients with advanced and metastatic stage 3 and 4 cancer.  Prior authorization is required for both the biomarker test, which indicates if there is a specific actionable biomarker present, and also required for the targeted therapy that matches to the biomarker.
CPhA Position: Support
Status: To Governor October 06, 2021.

SB 568 (Pan) – Deductibles: chronic disease management.
Lowers out-of-pocket costs for consumers by requiring that certain medicines and benefits used to treat chronic disease be covered without subjecting patients to a deductible. Requires health plan contracts/health insurance policies to eliminate the deductible for outpatient prescription drugs and some covered benefits that are used to treat chronic conditions.
The bill also makes changes to high deductible health plans by allowing prescription drugs and other services identified by the IRS to be covered prior to a patient meeting the deductible.
CPhA Position: Support
Status: Assembly Health Committee – Bill wasn’t heard in committee.