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6/13/2024 Assembly OKs bill imposing probation or suspension on prescribers who overmedicate with death resulting
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today gave its approval to legislation introduced by Rep. Deborah A. Fellela (D-Dist. 43, Johnston) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) that strengthens Ryan’s Law, a measure that penalizes prescribers who overmedicate with death resulting.

The original act introduced by Representative Fellela and passed by the General Assembly in 2021 increased the maximum fine amount for those found guilty of unprofessional conduct from $10,000 to $30,000. It also established a new chapter of the general laws that gives the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline the authority to levy fines.

The legislation Representative Fellela and Senator Lombardi introduced this year (2024-H 7013A, 2024-S 2758) would require any licensing board responsible for governing professional conduct to also impose a probationary period of three years for any licensee found guilty of overprescribing with death resulting. A subsequent violation during the probationary period could result in a suspension or revocation of licensure.

Ryan’s Law was named in honor of Ryan Massemini, a Johnston man who died after being overprescribed medication to treat Huntington’s disease.

“We were successful in 2021 in getting this legislation passed to have more accountability from doctors who overprescribe,” said Representative Fellela, who has known the Massemini family for years. “I’m glad to take steps to strengthen this law further to continue to hold prescribers accountable.”

“My heart goes out to those — particularly the parents — who are left to pick up the pieces after overprescribing leads to the death of a loved one,” said Senator Lombardi. “It’s clear that we need more accountability for those who overprescribe, especially when it means the difference between life and death.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903