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October Legislative Update

2007 Defense Authorization - TRICARE

2007 Defense Authorization: H.R. 5122/S. 2766
TRICARE, the military health system, has been placed in the middle of a growing battle over the cost of prescription drugs. The Department of Defense turned to Congress for a solution, and now two divergent plans have emerged from the Senate and House Armed Services Committees: H.R. 5122 and S. 2766. The issue driving the legislation is cost-savings. The Department of Defense (DOD) currently receives discounted pricing for prescriptions dispensed at military treatment facilities and through mail order. Most drug manufacturers refuse to provide this discounted pricing to DOD for prescriptions dispensed by retail pharmacies, making TRICARE prescriptions filled in community pharmacies more expensive to DOD.

Congress needs to adopt language included in the Senate bill so it is clear that these discounts are available to TRICARE retail prescriptions. TRICARE enrollees should not be denied access to community pharmacies because manufacturers do not provide lower prices to DOD for TRICARE retail prescriptions.

However, while the Senate bill makes it clear that these discounts are available to TRICARE, the bill also mandates the use of mail order for those in the TRICARE system. The House version, meanwhile, would get rid of co-payments on drugs ordered by mail and raise the co-payments for those picked up at a drug store. The bill is now in conference committee.

OPA urges everyone to contact your members of Congress, Representatives and Senators, and tell them how the unfair treatment of retail pharmacy in the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill will affect your business. We need to level the playing field by getting rid of the provision that would mandate higher co-pays on retail pharmacy and force TRICARE beneficiaries into mail order and away from their neighborhood pharmacy.

U.S. legislators may be found at $$Link
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
0$$ and at $$Link
http://www.house.gov/
http://www.house.gov/
0$$.

Combat Meth. Act of 2005- Self-Certification
In order to comply with federal Combat Meth Act requirements regarding training and self-certification, the DEA has established a website that will allow retail pharmacies to complete the self-certification online and submit it to DEA electronically. A self-certification certificate will be generated by DEA upon receipt of the application. The pharmacy will print this self-certification certificate, or if the pharmacy is unable to print it, DEA will print and mail the certificate to the self-certifier.

Businesses wishing to self-certify can do so online at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/meth/index.html. The process requires providing the following information:

1. DEA Number (if applicable)
2. Tax ID 3. Business name
4. Address Line 1
5. Address Line 2
6. City
7. State
8. Zip Code
9. Point of Contact (POC) Last Name
10. POC First Name
11. POC Middle Initial
12. POC Email Address
13. POC Telephone Number
14. Number of employees trained
15. Total number of employees at location
16. Type of establishment (e.g., pharmacy)
17. Products handled
a. ephedrine
b. pseudoephedrine
c. phenylpropanolamine

Procedures are also available for chains to register multiple locations in a single process. Information regarding the chain self-certification process may be obtained by contacting the DEA Registration Unit at 800.882.9539.

In addition to the self-certification requirements, the DEA also released proposed rules to implement the Combat Meth. Act. They can be found at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/meth/irule.htm. They are being submitted to the Federal Register and an official date for the end of comment will be given when the rule is officially published, but it is expected to be mid-November. OPA will update you when more information is available.

Medication Therapy Management Update
In an article published in the September 2006 issue of Ohio Pharmacist journal concerning the Pharmaceutical Case Management (PCM) program, it was mistakenly reported that the Ohio Medicaid program would contribute information for the project. The program is a collaborative effort between the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio Northern University, Division of Critical Care, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, and the University of Findlay School of Pharmacy. The program became effective February 1, 2006 and includes children suffering from severe pediatric asthma or diabetes.

If you have any questions or comments about the issues mentioned in this article, please contact Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs, at 614.586.1497 or kvyzral@ohiopharmacists.org.


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