Virginia General Assembly Law Summary – 2015

Provided below is a summary of the legislation passed during the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session
(will be updated to include bills as they are signed by the Governor)

Effective July 1, 2015


HB1839 – Routine Scheduling Bill

  • Removes hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III and classifies alfaxalone, suvorexant, and tramadol as Schedule IV controlled substances.
  • Thus, any product that contains hydrocodone will be classified as a Schedule II (to match the DEA’s schedule).

HB1914 – Pharmacists Ability to Possession and Administer Epinephrine and Oxygen for Emergencies

  • Provides that a prescriber may authorize pharmacists to possess epinephrine and oxygen for administration in treatment of emergency medical conditions.

HB2192 – Requirement of Permit for Physicians Dispensing

  • Prohibits a practitioner of the healing arts from dispensing controlled substances unless licensed by the Board of Pharmacy to sell controlled substances.
  • The bill requires facilities from which practitioners of the healing arts dispense controlled substances to obtain a permit from the Board.
  • NOTE: Board of Pharmacy must develop regulations to implement this law within 280 days of its enactment.

HB1736 – Wholesale Distributors Notify Board of Pharmacy When Ceasing Distribution Due to Suspicious Ordering

  • This bill mimics the mechanism of reporting that already occurs to the DEA after a Wholesaler ceases distribution of controlled substances to pharmacies due to suspicious ordering.
  • This bill does not mean that Wholesalers will be reporting pharmacies due to triggers being met or any other automatic restriction or cessation of distribution.  Suspicious ordering will involve a review prior to reporting.

HB1737 – Outsourcing Facilities and Compounding Changes

  • Creates a new regulatory framework for permitting of outsourcing facilities that compound drugs and are located within the Commonwealth and registering nonresident outsourcing facilities that ship product into Commonwealth.
  • Bill requires that all outsourcing facilities are supervised by a pharmacist and if compounds are dispensed pursuant to a prescription, facility must have a pharmacy permit.
  • Bill also allows for pharmacists to provide office-use compounds if there is a critical need to treat an emergency condition, or as allowed by federal law or regulations
  • NOTE: Board of Pharmacy must develop regulations to implement this law within 280 days of its enactment.

HB2063 & SB1227 – Telemedicine Definition Changes

  • These bills amends the definition of telemedicine services to encompass the use of electronic technology or media, including interactive audio or video, for the purpose of diagnosing or treating a patient, consulting with other health care providers regarding a patient’s diagnosis or treatment, or transmitting a patient’s health care data.
  • The measure also provides that for the purpose of prescribing a Schedule VI controlled substance to a patient via telemedicine services, a prescriber may establish a bona fide practitioner-patient relationship by an examination through face-to-face interactive, two-way, real-time communications services or store-and-forward technologies when certain conditions are met.


Effective January 1, 2016

and SB1262 – Prescription Prior Authorization Reform VPhA LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY

  • These bills were the primary focus of the Medical Society of Virginia during the 2015 session.  VPhA and many other groups worked closely on these bills that address the prescription prior authorization process.
  • These bills will establish the following reforms to the prescription prior authorization process:
    • Requires a 24-hour turnaround on prior authorization requests for urgent medical needs.
    • Establishes a deadline of two business days for health plans to act on a prescription prior authorization request, with an additional two business day extension for action upon receipt of requested supplementation.
    • Requires that health plans accept electronic prescription prior authorizations that can be transmitted by electronic medical record, e-prescribing, or health information exchange.
    • Health plans must provide a reason when denying a prior authorization on a prescription.
    • Requires health plans to honor an approved prior authorization from a patient’s previous health plan for at least 30 days when a patient switches plans.
    • Formularies, medications subject to prior authorization, prior authorization procedures, and all prior authorization forms must be located in one place on the health plan’s website. Providers will be provided a tracking number when requested, so physicians can track the status of their requests.
    • Requires health plans to participate in a workgroup with physicians to discuss and bring data forward on mental health, chronic care management, and generic medications and improvements to the prior authorization process for those medications.

HB2031 – Weekly Updates of Maximum Allowable Cost (MAC) Pricing VPhA LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY
– This bill will address a number of issues concerning MAC pricing due to massive fluctuations of generic medications
– This bill will establish the following:

  • Require MAC prices to be updated not less frequently than once every seven days.
  • Provide a process for each pharmacy to readily access the maximum allowable cost list specific to that pharmacy
  • Provide a dispute request that:
    • Pharmacies have 14 days to file a dispute request on a price
    • Plans must investigate and resolve a dispute request within 14 days of receiving the request
    • If an dispute request is denied, provide (i) a reason for the denial, and (ii) the NDC of the drug under dispute that the carrier or its intermediary contends may be purchased by the participating pharmacy provider for an amount that is equal to or less than the maximum allowable cost
    • Update the MAC within 5 days after the dispute is resolved

HB1841– PMP Requirements for Pharmacists

  • This bill requires that the Department of Health Professions registers all pharmacists for the PMP program.
  • Also amended a requirement passed just last year for prescribers.  Prescribers must check the PMP program if:
    • Initiating a new course of treatment with benzos or opiates and anticipated that treatment will last more than 90 consecutive days
    • This language REMOVED the need for a treatment agreement