(JUNEAU) - The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 51 by a vote of 34 to zero today. Sponsored by Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer), HB 51 requires pharmacists to include the generic name of the medication on the prescription label. Rep. Seaton said that patients should know the medications they take might have more than one name.
"This tells consumers if they have two prescriptions for the same drug," Seaton said. "That way they do not unknowingly take six pills of the same kind of medication when really they should only take three."
When a new drug goes to patent, the company that manufactures the drug gives it a brand name; however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also gives every new medication a generic name. Patients who use the prescription might not be aware that the same drug has two names and request prescriptions for both the generic and brand name. Such a mistake has led to overdoses.
"This problem has been rampant among those in the senior community and for parents with young children," Seaton said. "We have so many pills for specific symptoms today that one patient can easily take six to eight pills a day. All those prescriptions can be difficult to track."