Prescription drug bill reaches 2nd, 3rd reading in Knesset

Two MKs who are licensed physicians angrily protested and one walked out of the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee session on Monday after it approved five to one for its second and third reading a bill that hands over powers to pharmacists that previously belonged only to physicians.
The bill was initiated by the Treasury to be part of the Treasury’s Arrangements Law, and committee chairman MK Haim Katz had to bring it to a vote in his committee even though he objected to the Finance Ministry’s rush to get it passed.
The bill would allow registered pharmacists to renew prescription drugs taken for chronic illnesses for up to nine months after a physician originally prescribed them. This will reduce the number of times such patients have to visit their doctors to get prescriptions, which could reduce health funds’ costs on doctors’ visits and thus is favored by the Treasury.