Ms. Khani and Mr. Sewell are copresidentsof the Coalition for CommunityPharmacy Action.
Last month, we discussed thepassage of the tamper-resistantprescription-pad delay—soimportant to protecting pharmacyaccess for Medicaid beneficiaries. Aprovision tucked deep into an Iraq WarSupplemental spending bill finalized onMay 25, 2007, required all Medicaidprescriptions to be written on tamper-resistantprescription pads beginningOctober 1, 2007. The troubling newprovision was not directed at physiciansand other prescribers—only pharmacistswould have beenpenalized for filling a noncompliantprescription.The delay gives us the next6 months to inform physiciansof the requirementsand make sure that aworking process for tamper-resistant Medicaid prescriptionsis in place.
With such a difficult situationfacing communitypharmacy, the Coalitionfor Community PharmacyAction (CCPA) launchedan education campaign to>535,000 physicians informingthem of theimpending change. TheNational Association of Chain DrugStores (NACDS) and the NationalCommunity Pharmacists Association(NCPA) also worked hard urgingCongress to pass legislation that wouldimplement a delay.
Our efforts were successful, yieldinga 6-month delay passed as part of HR3668 and signed by President Bush just2 days before the new requirementwas to be enforced. The CCPAapplauds the outstanding leadership ofpharmacy supporters in Congress,such as Sens Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio)and George Voinovich (R, Ohio) andReps Charlie Wilson (D, Ohio), MikeRoss (D, Ark), Marion Berry (D, Ark), andTom Allen (D, Me).
While our advocacy efforts have concluded,our education efforts continue.With a 6-month window now in place,community pharmacists must stayactive. In order to preventdisruptions for our patients,we will be working closelywith state Medicaid directorsto establish clear, workableguidelines. We will also workto ensure that all prescribersand pharmacists are awareof and compliant with thenew requirement.
The Coalition for CommunityPharmacy Action (CCPA) is analliance between the NationalAssociation of Chain Drug Stores(NACDS) and the NationalCommunity PharmacistsAssociation (NCPA), whichtogether represents more than55,000 community pharmacies.CCPA leverages the support,effort, and infrastructure ofNACDS and NCPA while engagingcommunity pharmacy to participateand advocate on issuesaffecting the industry.
The CCPA, NCPA, andNACDS fully support safeguardsdesigned to curbhealth care fraud and abuse.Four months was not enoughtime, however, for regulators,physicians, pharmacists, andprescription-pad manufacturersacross the country tocomply with such a widespreadchange. With >300million Medicaid prescriptions filledeach year, this requirement wouldhave caused major problems for ouroperations and our patients.
The CCPA continues to advocate onbehalf of community pharmacy andour Medicaid patients on this issue.Wewill continue to work with Congress,the Centers for Medicare & MedicaidServices, state Medicaid directors, andother concerned organizations acrossthe country, while we also continue toserve as a resource for physicians andpharmacists. As always, the CCPA isworking to ensure patients' safety andcontinued access to their trusted communitypharmacy.