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New California law allows mobile pharmacies to serve vulnerable populations

PIX Now 08:39

SACRAMENTO – A new law from a Bay Area lawmaker will authorize the creation of mobile pharmacy vans offering medication and counseling for hard-to-reach communities and the homeless.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 872 by State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa). The measure, which had bipartisan support, cleared both the Assembly and State Senate without opposition.

"With this new law we can help address the underlying cause of many societal challenges, including homelessness," Dodd said in a statement posted Tuesday. "And it creates critical access to potentially life-saving drugs that will improve the lives of the most vulnerable Californians."

Under the measure, cities, counties or a special hospital authority would be allowed to operate a mobile unit as an extension of its pharmacy license. Medication could be provided to specified individuals, including people without fixed addresses, people living in housing owned by cities and counties, along with people enrolled in Medi-Cal plans.

Along with a licensed pharmacist, the mobile unit would have a doctor on hand to prescribe medications that can be dispensed immediately, according to Dodd's office.

The measure does not allow mobile pharmacy units to carry or dispense controlled substances, and dangerous drugs could not be left behind in the vehicle while it's not operating.

Mobile units will be overseen by the state Board of Pharmacy.

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