Pharmacy Syringe Access (SB 41 - Yee)

As of January 2012, California has a new law to help prevent new cases of viral hepatitis and HIV. It allows licensed pharmacies throughout the state to sell or furnish up to 30 syringes to any persons 18 or older, without prescription, without identification and without a logbook. It does not require a vote of local government as had the previous pilot program. It is up to the individual pharmacist to decide whether to furnish sterile syringes to an adult without a prescription

The law also allows adults to possess up to 30 syringes for personal use, if acquired from a pharmacy, physician or authorized syringe exchange program.

The overwhelming medical and scientific consensus is that "Non-Prescription Syringe Sale" (NPSS) helps slow the spread of hepatitis B & C, HIV and other blood-borne diseases without contributing to increased drug use, crime or unsafe discard of syringes.

CalHEP worked with hepatitis activists, HIV advocates, drug policy reformers, and the largest associations of pharmacists, physicians and nurses in the state to push SB 41 by Senator Leland Yee (D-SF), to make syringe access through pharmacies legal in California. Now that it is law, we are part of an effort  to educate pharmacists and encourage them to participate in the program and to provide information to the viral hepatitis community. Check back often for updated information and news.

Links and important documents:

Pharmacy Syringe Access (SB 41) Fact Sheet

California State Office of AIDS: Syringe Access information

Office of AIDS "SB 41 Requirements and Provisions"

Key stakeholders' policies on syringe access

Federal/state reports supporting syringe access

Recent articles and studies