Issue: October 2011
October 01, 2011
1 min read

New Illinois law eliminates limitations on ocular treatment options

The state’s board of optometry can now approve agents yet to be developed.

Issue: October 2011
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With the passage of HB 1494, Illinois optometrists are now permitted to prescribe all drugs for the treatment of the eye and adnexa. The legislation also allows the Illinois Optometric Licensing and Disciplinary Board to approve additional agents.

Gov. Patrick Quinn signed the legislation into law July 22 and it immediately went into effect.

According to Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) executive director Mike Horstman, two drug categories that were added include drugs for treating hypotrichosis and dry eye. Mr. Horstman told Primary Care Optometry News in an interview that this would include Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution 0.3%, Allergan) for hypotrichosis and FreshKote (polyvinyl pyrrolidone 2.0%, polyvinyl alcohol 0.9%, polyvinyl alcohol 1.8%, Amisol clear, Focus Labs) for dry eye.

Mr. Horstman said that these categories were not included in the original 1995 therapeutic pharmaceutical legislation because such drugs did not exist.

“We’ve had Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%, Allergan), but FreshKote came into question because it wasn’t classified as an anti-inflammatory,” he said.

He noted that punctal plugs have always been part of the law, and legislation was passed several years ago permitting the prescription and sale of drug-eluting contacts.

Mr. Horstman said with the addition of these two categories, “we have all drugs for the treatment of the eye and adnexa. This was our first goal in terms of this bill.

“The major accomplishment of the law is the fact that our state board can now approve additional agents that are not even imagined at this point in time,” Mr. Horstman continued. “This benefits our patients because they’ll have timely access to new medications. To go the legislature would take 2 to 3 years. Going to the state board can be done in a matter of months. Patients will now have the benefit of the latest pharmaceutical agents on the market.”

The IOA initially received strong opposition from organized ophthalmology when an effort was made to eliminate the drug categories altogether.

“However, through negotiations we were able to reach agreement on the bill, and it passed almost unanimously,” Mr. Horstman said. “The bill we ended up with was just as good as what we started out to achieve.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS