Mass. Legislature Gives Final Approval for Bill That Would Authorize Nonprescription Sale of Hypodermic Needles
The Massachusetts House and Senate on Thursday voted to give final approval to a bill (H 4176) that would authorize the nonprescription sale of syringes to people ages 18 and older as a means of reducing the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other bloodborne diseases, the AP/Boston Globe reports (LeBlanc, AP/Boston Globe, 6/22). The state Senate earlier this month voted to pass the bill and the state House in November 2005 voted to approve similar legislation. The bill would require pharmacists dispensing the needles to provide a brochure created by the state Department of Public Health that includes information about the proper use and disposal of syringes and needles, the risk of contracting bloodborne diseases through such devices and the state's toll-free number for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C information (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/2). The bill now goes to Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who likely will veto it, according to the AP/Boston Globe (AP/Boston Globe, 6/22). Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom has said that Romney opposes the bill, adding that the governor "believes that removing prescription controls on hypodermic needles ... encourages heroin use." The bill has received enough votes that a veto by Romney could be overridden (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.