[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of certain local laws amending these provisions are included as an attachment to this chapter.]
[Adopted 6-9-2020 by L.L. No. 18-2020]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that Suffolk County is dedicated to protecting the health of its residents. This Legislature also finds and determines that asthma is a chronic disease affecting more than 24,000,000 Americans. Each year, asthma accounts for more than 439,000 hospitalizations and 1.6 millio emergency department visits. The estimated cost of treating asthma in the United States is approximately $62.8 billion every year. This Legislature also finds that 50% of adults with asthma and 40% of children with asthma do not have control of this disease. However, by taking appropriate medicine, avoiding triggers and participating in asthma education services, these patients can experience better control of their asthma. There are several types of asthma inhalers that are available to consumers. When inhalers are used incorrectly or accidentally interchanged, there can be severe medical consequences for the patient. This Legislature finds that pharmacists play a critical role in promoting medication adherence and providing asthma self-management education to patients with asthma. Many studies have shown that asthma self-management education provided by community pharmacists can improve asthma control and medication adherence while reducing emergency department visits, hospitalizations and missed work or school days. This Legislature further finds that it is critically important to educate the residents of Suffolk County on the differences between asthma inhalers in order to decrease the number of asthma-related emergency room visits and deaths. This Legislature also determines that in order to better educate the public on the differences between asthma inhalers, all stores with a pharmacy in Suffolk County should post signs that provide patients with necessary information on the proper use of these drugs.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to require stores containing a pharmacy in Suffolk County to post signs explaining the differences between different types of asthma inhalers.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
- A medical device used by asthmatic individuals to deliver medication to the body via the lungs.
- As defined in the New York Education Law § 6802.
- A retail outlet where goods are available for purchase.
Every store that contains a pharmacy in Suffolk County must prominently display a sign meeting the requirements set forth in this article within eight feet of the pharmacy portion of the store, either on the wall or displayed on the pharmacy counter.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is hereby authorized, empowered, and directed to collaborate with the American Lung Association to create the language which will be displayed on the signs established pursuant to this article. The signs must include language which specifically differentiates the proper use of inhalers. The Department of Health Services shall submit the language and design of said signs to the County Legislature for approval via resolution within six months of the effective date of this article.
The Department shall annually update the language on the signs to accurately reflect the asthma inhalers available to consumers in a given year. Within 30 days of updating said language, the Department shall provide the Health Committee of the County Legislature with a written statement detailing any changes or additions that were made.
This article shall be enforced by the Department of Health Services.
The Commissioner of the Department of Health Services is hereby authorized, empowered, and directed to promulgate such rules and regulations as he or she deems necessary to implement this article.
Violation of this article shall be punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for an initial offense and $250 for any second or subsequent offense. Each calendar day where signage is not posted shall be considered a separate and distinct offense.
No penalty shall be imposed under this article until after a hearing has been held by the Commissioner of Health Services, or his or her designee, upon at least seven business days' notice to the store where the pharmacy is located. Such notice shall be served receipt requested to the address of the store where the pharmacy is located and shall state the date, time and place of the hearing as well as enumerate the alleged violation.
This article shall apply to all actions occurring on or after the effective date of this article.
The Department shall distribute the PDF signs and establish the web page required for compliance with this article within 60 days of the language and design of the signs being approved by the County Legislature pursuant to § 649-4 of this article.