Published Online: Monday, October 1, 2007

Widespread use of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) for Medicare drug patients would reduce the cost of the program's Part D prescription benefit by significantly increasing the use of cheaper generic pharmaceuticals, representatives of the nation's pharmacy benefit managers said. "Requiring eprescribing in Medicare would improve medication adherence by alerting physicians and patients when clinically sound, yet more affordable, drugs are available to treat specific conditions," the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said. "Currently, neither seniors nor their doctors are aware of their full range of pharmacy options, including generic drugs," the group said.

In addition to boosting generic drug usage, PCMA maintained that e-prescribing could prevent up to 1.9 million medication errors-a result that could save Medicare beneficiaries and the federal government billions of dollars over the next decade. The increased use of generics and other "existing proven pharmacy benefit management tools?are generating savings on average of 29%, compared to retail purchases with no pharmacy benefit management support," the group said.

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