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‘Remote’ pharmacies bill OK’d by Michigan Legislature

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) – People could pick up prescriptions at Michigan pharmacies that are not staffed by an on-site pharmacist under a bill that cleared the Legislature on Wednesday and will go to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.

The measure would allow for “remote” pharmacies, which proponents support as a way to expand access to pharmacy services in rural and underserved areas. Pharmacists at “parent” pharmacies” could use real-time audio and video computer equipment to review a prescription before it is dispensed by pharmacy technicians.

The bill won final approval on a 32-5 vote in the Republican-led Senate, with some Democrats opposed. Michigan would become the 24th state to allow remote pharmacies, joining nearby Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, according to an analysis of the bill.

The legislation is backed by major drug distributor Cardinal Health, the Michigan Pharmacists Association, hospitals and other health groups.