Supermarket pharmacists generally support the move toward electronic prescribing, action on which was stepped up in late 2007 and may be enacted in 2008.
U.S. senators introduced a bill in early December that would reward doctors in the Medicare program for writing their prescriptions electronically, while cutting their payments 10% each time they do not prescribe electronically.
“This is long overdue and we would welcome e-prescribing. We are ready, willing and able to process these prescriptions,” said Dan Milovich, director of pharmacy operations for Bashas' in Chandler, Ariz.
However, pharmacists and associations will make sure e-prescribing rules are set up to be fair, and not burdensome for retailers to implement.
“We're big partners of e-prescribing, but mandatory prescribing is difficult unless it is done in a fashion where it doesn't cost the pharmacy money,” said Charlie Sewell, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association, Alexandria, Va.
“We support efforts to increase e-prescribing, as long as it is implemented in a fair and reasonable manner and does not limit patient access to medicines,” said Cathy Polley, vice president of pharmacy services for Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va.
The good news is that both Democrat and Republican legislators support e-prescribing, particularly in conjunction with Medicare legislation.
“E-prescribing has caught on in a bipartisan way. We're really encouraged by what we're seeing in that whole area,” said Steven Anderson, president and chief executive officer of National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Alexandria.