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Comment & Response
October 2019

State-Level Approaches to Expanding Pharmacists’ Authority to Dispense Naloxone May Affect Accessibility

Author Affiliations
  • 1College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(10):1442-1443. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3653

To the Editor We read with great interest the recently published study by Abouk and colleagues1 that identified reduced opioid-related mortality in states granting pharmacists direct authority to dispense naloxone. We agree that empowering pharmacists to dispense naloxone can profoundly influence overdose risk and concur that the method of implementing such policies can greatly influence their effectiveness. However, categorizing naloxone access laws (NALs) as either providing pharmacists direct or indirect authority to dispense naloxone is an oversimplification. Based on this methodology, most states were grouped in the indirect category despite noteworthy state-to-state heterogeneity in implementation. Two recent studies, similarly designed and concurrently published in JAMA,2,3 assessed the influence of Texas’ and California’s NALs on naloxone accessibility from community pharmacies. The surprisingly divergent results highlight the importance of how NALs are implemented.

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