Massachusetts Legislature Overrides Veto of Bill Allowing Nonprescription Sales of Syringes
The Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday voted to override the veto of a bill (H 4176) that authorizes 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 Standard-Times reports (Kibbe, Standard-Times, 7/15). Gov. Mitt Romney (R) earlier in the month vetoed the bill, which requires 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. "We believe that upon further review of the bill, some of the unintended consequences could be more severe than the benefits of signing the bill," Romney said in his veto statement (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/5). The override passed Thursday in the state House by a vote of 113-42, and the Senate passed the override by a vote of 25-11, according to the Standard-Times (Standard-Times, 7/15). "The Legislature's override of the governor's veto will save lives, reduce new infections and save the Commonwealth millions of dollars in health care costs over the next several years," Rebecca Haag, executive director of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, said (AP/Boston Globe, 7/14). The new law goes into effect Sept. 18 (Standard-Times, 7/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.