Regulation of pharmaceutical services may be a legislative interim study item, if a Senate panel gets its way.

The Senate Social Services Standing Committee agreed on Tuesday to refer SB151, sponsored by Sen. John P. Holmgren, R-Box Elder, back to the Rules Committee with a request that it become a study item.The bill was designed to release some of the pressure local drugstores have come under in recent years. It would require the Division of Health Care Financing to allow any pharmacy willing to meet Medicaid's requirements to participate in the program. Health Maintenance Organizations would also have to allow any pharmacy that meets its terms to be a contract provider.

Members of the Utah State Pharmaceutical Association and the Utah Health Insurance Association told the committee that they supported the idea behind the bill but worried that it would have adverse effects on the industry, rather than helping it.

They also said that pharmaceutical issues need a complete review. For instance, they are concerned because mail-order pharmacies are taking money out of state and affecting the economy.