Published Online: Friday, September 1, 2006

An association of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) is urging the federal government to encourage the development of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) as a vehicle for promoting more widespread acceptance of costsaving generic drugs. In calling for the creation of "a national, uniform standard for electronic prescribing," a spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) told Congress that e-prescribing "has great potential to improve quality and promote the use of generic alternatives."

The problem, however, is that "a patchwork of varying state e-prescribing laws—in addition to the new e-prescribing regulations contained in the Medicare Modernization Act—have created sometimes conflicting and duplicative rules," PCMA President Mark Merritt said. "The adoption of a national, uniform standard for e-prescribing laws would encourage physicians to prescribe generics over brands whenever clinically appropriate," Merritt told Congress.

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