Bill would expand role of pharmacists in Calif.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Assembly has approved a bill that would expand the services California pharmacists can provide to patients.

The legislation is part of what had been a package from Democratic Sen. Ed Hernandez of West Covina intended to help address the state’s expected shortage of primary care physicians. Under SB493, pharmacists could order certain laboratory tests and prescribe smoking-cessation drugs.

Two other bills from Hernandez aimed at expanding the roles of nurse practitioners and optometrists failed to pass out of Assembly committees.

Supporters, which include pharmacy schools and Blue Shield of California, say the legislation would allow pharmacists to better use their training and could help control health care costs.

The Assembly passed the bill 56-0 Wednesday, returning it to the Senate for a final vote.

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