A 21-day public comment period on proposed rules to expand the role of Florida pharmacists in treating patients started Thursday. The Board of Pharmacy is collecting comments on the proposed rules through Oct. 1. If the rules aren’t challenged, the board can file them for adoption following the three-week period. It takes about another three weeks for the rules to be formally adopted, but barring any challenges they could be in effect by Nov. 1, said Jacksonville health-care attorney Chris Nuland. The rules carry out a 2020 law that allows pharmacists to enter into collaborative agreements with physicians and treat patients for arthritis; asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases; Type 2 diabetes; human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; and obesity. The Board of Pharmacy, working in consultation with two physician boards, expanded the list of conditions pharmacists could treat to also include opioid abuse disorder; hypertension; hyperlipidemia; smoking cessation; and anticoagulation management. The pharmacy board considered adding heart failure as a treatable condition but decided against it fearing the inclusion would draw a challenge. The rules also carry out another part of the 2020 law that allows pharmacists to test and treat patients for influenza, streptococcus, lice, skin conditions and minor, uncomplicated infections. Pharmacists would need to have written protocol agreements with physicians to begin testing and treating for those conditions.