Gov. Gavin Newsom has the opportunity to continue to ensure parents are able to administer their children’s much-needed medicine by maintaining the ability for pharmacies to dispense children’s medicine with added flavoring.
Inglewood Assemblymember Tina McKinnor has authored legislation, Assembly Bill 782, alongside Assemblymembers Jacqui Irwin and Tom Lackey, which addresses compounding regulations that allow dispensing medicine, which includes splitting, crushing, or adding a flavoring agent to enhance palatability.
According to KidsData.org as of 2021 there were six million children under the age of 11 who reside in California which could be impacted should the flavoring be removed.
“As a mother of two sons, I know first-hand how difficult it was at times for my children to take the medicine they needed to get and stay healthy,” said Asm. McKinnor when reached for comment. “Making it easier for children to take their prescription medicine through my AB 782 will improve health outcomes for children in my community and across California. I’m no Mary Poppins, but her song rings true: a spoonful of (fruit flavor) will help the medicine go down.”
I’ve spoken to members of my family, with children under the age of 13 and they also agree that the flavoring should remain because they can’t remember a time when it wasn’t available to them.
In diverse and vibrant communities across California, local neighborhood pharmacies represent far more than dispensaries of medicines and consumer goods. Neighborhood pharmacies are the center of trust and guidance in navigating the complex healthcare system and provide a much-needed resource when parents seek guidance from pharmacists on best practices to administer to their children, particularly those under the age of 13.
Neighborhood pharmacies are safe havens where language barriers dissolve and healthcare solutions are supported. When our children suffer from a tummy ache, the flu, or to help break a fever, many Latino families predominantly rely on these neighborhood pharmacies for medications and trusted advice and guidance.
The California Board of Pharmacy is considering a proposal that would inhibit the state’s more than 5,000 pharmacies from flavoring medication for children, a practice that has been in place for decades.
As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Understandably, parents want a safe process to ensure their child’s safety but not one study has been offered to provide data that flavoring of medicine provides an adverse reaction to children. Parents will argue that removing it will interfere with their child’s recovery time, which could result in a loss of time from work.
We are moving into a serious healthcare timeframe, as the cold and flu season, and a potential Covid outbreak, are upon us. The State of California should not be working to place additional burdens on parents during this time or any other, especially those already trying to overcome language barriers and a confusing healthcare system. The last thing any parent needs is a new set of problems that will deprive our children of the medicine they need.
Supported unanimously in a bipartisan manner, AB 782 would ensure that California remains aligned with 48 other states that ensure neighborhood pharmacies continue to provide parents and caregivers the medication they need for their toddlers and children. It is now in Governor Gavin Newsom’s hands to sign the legislation. With four kids of his own, the Governor surely understands the struggles of parenting, especially when kids become ill.