Whitmer eases restrictions on pharmacists, emergency refills during pandemic

The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order allowing Michigan pharmacists to refill up to 60 days of patients' medication and requiring insurers to cover the emergency refills during the coronavirus pandemic.

The order, which is scheduled to last through April 22, also allows pharmacists to dispense COVID-19 treatments according to government-approved protocols.

“Residents who are limiting their time in public places and practicing social distancing shouldn’t have to fear running low on their prescription drugs during these trying times," the governor said in a statement Wednesday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference on Friday, March 20, 2020, to give an update on the state's response to COVID-19.

The order only applies to non-controlled substances, and pharmacists also have the discretion to substitute therapeutically equivalent medications without prescriber approval if there are critical shortages, according to the release. 

“This Executive Order will ease a burden on seniors and families worried about maintaining a supply of medication for themselves or their children,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We continue to urge Michiganders to practice social distancing if they are out in public and to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer regularly to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”