(SACRAMENTO) – A prescription access bill by State Assemblymember Manuel Pérez passed its final legislative hurdle today and now heads to Governor Brown for signature. AB 2603 protects individuals who pick up a prescription medication for a family member or friend, ensuring they can do so without being in violation of the law.
“Some people – whether they are homebound or lack transportation – need assistance picking up their prescription medications,” said Pérez. “We take for granted that the law permits this, but actually the law has been unclear on the matter. This bill provides that needed clarity. Now you can be certain that you can help a friend or loved one get their needed medications without running afoul of the law. I think this bill is especially relevant for seniors, homebound individuals, and for people who live in rural and medically underserved areas, where it is not uncommon to rely on a family member or friend to pick up your prescription.”
Specifically, the bill makes a change to the California Health & Safety code to allow for the possession and transportation of a prescription medication by a person authorized by, and for the purpose of assisting, the prescription holder. The need for this bill surfaced as a result of a recent court ruling by the California Court of Appeals in the case of People V. Carboni. It is commonly assumed that the law permits a designated representative – such as a family member or caregiver – to assist a prescription holder by picking up medications on his/her behalf. Yet in the Carboni case, the court ruled that current law is unclear on the legality of this activity and that the Legislature must remedy the issue by clarifying state law.
AB 2603 passed through the legislative process with unanimous bipartisan support, never receiving a no vote. It is sponsored by California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and its supporters include the Congress of California Seniors, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, and the Drug Policy Institute.