What’s new with drugs?
Pot is hot
Medical Marijuana use continues to grow in Ohio, with the Board of Pharmacy citing 73,376 registered patients and 590 physicians with Certificates to Recommend as of December 2019. Medical Marijuana sales figures show $60.6 million in total sales for the first year of the program (January 16, 2019 – January 16, 2020). The rapid growth of this industry has health care providers wondering how this drug will impact both patients and physicians. Some health care systems are taking a firm stand to keep Medical Marijuana out of their facilities, while others are embracing it.
Regardless of position, providers should be sure to have a policy addressing how to manage Medical Marijuana when it enters their facilities, because it certainly will. Providers are wise to empower their staffs by detailing security and storage procedures and to ensure consistent record keeping by defining how and where patient use is recorded in the EMR (which may impact medication reconciliation procedures). In addition, with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois and Michigan, many patients and providers are wondering if Ohio will follow suit and legalize as well. Only time will tell. Until that point, providers need to make sure they are equipped to handle the medicinal version.
Hyped for hemp
Providers should also be aware of the continued growth of hemp-based products, such as CBD, since Ohio has become one of the first states with federal approval to legally grow hemp.
The other drug plaguing providers is of the opioid variety. Providers are faced with opioid-related issues both in the emergency department and in the courtroom. The multi-district opioid litigation took an interesting turn in January 2020 as the defendant pharmacies “named” 500 Jane and John Doe physicians as third-party defendants in the case. The plaintiff counties have objected to joining the physicians, arguing that the sole purpose of the third-party complaint is to delay the trial scheduled for October 2020. The parties await a determination by the court whether to dismiss the third-party complaint or sever it and address it only after the primary lawsuit is resolved by a jury verdict. This recent activity has both physicians and their health system employers uneasy.