3 New Florida Laws Effective on January 1

While you were celebrating the 2017 New Year, 3 Florida laws quietly went into effect:

SB 938 - Cough Medicines

This law prohibits the sale of those cough medications containing the synthetically produced drug dextromethorphan to individuals younger than 18. The law also requires that those purchasers who are presumed to be younger than 25 produce ID to show that they are age 18 or over.

The original proposal was driven by reports of teenagers using cough medicine to get high. At high doses, side effects of intoxication from the drug include slurred speech, loss of coordination, sweating, hypertension and spasmodic eyeball movement. 6 deaths in 2014 related to use of dextromethorphan were reported by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Dextromethorphan can be found in many over-the-counter cough medicines including Vicks NyQuil, Robitussin, Alka Seltzer Plus and Tylenol Cough & Cold.

SB 422 - Opioid Insurance Coverage

Under this law, health insurance policies that cover opioid medications are prohibited from requiring prior authorization for abuse-deterrent versions of the drugs. Abuse-deterrent labeling indicates that the drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in claiming that the drug is expected to discourage prescription drug abuse. So these insurance policies cannot require the use of opioid products that are not labeled over those that do have the labeling.

However, if insurance policies already have an opioid painkiller pre-authorization requirement without the abuse-deterrent labeling, they can also enforce the same requirement for those with the labeling.

Supporters of this measure argued that requiring pre-authorization may deter doctors from making the initial prescriptions and that the change will make it easier for those needing painkillers to access those medications that are less likely to result in addiction.

SB 1104 - Financial Institutions

This law requires financial institutions to be in accordance with existing law for delivery of services of process, notice, levy or demand, including subpoenas and summonses. Financial institutions may designate a single location or agent for these deliveries.  

These 3 laws were passed either unanimously or by wide margins in the Senate and House and then signed into law in 2016 by Governor Rick Scott.

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