New Ad Campaign Touts Bill to Allow Over-the-Counter Needle Sales in California
Proponents of a bill (SB 1785) that would allow California pharmacies to sell hypodermic needles to adults without a doctor's prescription have launched an ad campaign promoting the measure, the AP/Long Beach Press-Telegram reports (AP/Long Beach Press-Telegram, 6/5). Current California law requires a prescription to buy needles unless they are used to inject adrenaline or insulin, but the bill would allow adults over age 18 to buy up to 30 hypodermic needles at licensed pharmacies without obtaining a doctor's prescription (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/24). The bill was approved by the state Senate two weeks ago and was sent to the state Assembly (AP/Long Beach Press-Telegram, 6/5). To promote the bill, the umbrella organization Californians for Responsible Syringe Policy has launched ads in English and Spanish "depicting the reality of HIV and hepatitis C's impact on hard-working families" (California Pharmacists Association release, 6/5). One ad features a woman and her baby, with the woman stating that she never used drugs but contracted HIV from her husband who shared needles with other drug users. The ad also says that allowing licensed pharmacies to sell clean needles without a prescription is "proven to slow the spread of [HIV] and hepatitis without increasing drug use or crime." The second ad, which will be posted on the Californians for Responsible Syringe Policy Web site next week, portrays a man who contracted HIV and hepatitis C from a contaminated needle before he stopped using drugs 15 years ago (Californians for Responsible Syringe Policy Web site, 6/5). The ads, which were paid for by the Center for Policy Reform, will air in English and Spanish on cable stations throughout California. The bill is backed by the California Pharmacists Association, the California Medical Association and the California Nurses Association (California Pharmacists Association release, 6/5). California is one of six states that requires a prescription for the purchase of hypodermic needles (AP/Contra Costa Times, 6/5). The first ad can be viewed online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.