SAN DIEGO — Who will pay for the electronic and paper record-keeping mandated by state pharmacy laws and regulations being considered across the country?
That was the main issue raised by Dennis Wiesner, senior director, privacy, pharmacy and government affairs, H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, in a recent presentation at the Pharmacy & Technology Conference here of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Alexandria, Va.
With state pharmacy laws and regulations proliferating, supermarket executives, as well as other retailers filling prescriptions, need to get involved locally to make sure that the resulting rules work for them, Wiesner said.
Retailers operating across state lines would prefer consistency, but there is little to guarantee this will happen. Related federal legislative activity in most pharmacy areas is under way, but is unlikely to preempt the local laws, he said.
“The big picture is to make sure that people get engaged, because we have the ability to influence how some of the rules and regulatory pieces come into play,” Wiesner said. In most cases, it's not a matter of whether or not it will happen, “it is a question of how they are actually going to be put together,” he told SN.
Among the issues being considered:
Electronic pseudoephedrine logs.
Prescription drug monitoring programs.
Generic substitution and drug interchange legislation.
Prescription drug pedigree laws.
Continuous quality improvement programs and peer review protections.
Technician registration and training, and technician-pharmacist ratios.
Central fill and processing regulations.
For example, the PSE electronic logs are being sought by law enforcement agencies, and “these are going to happen,” Wiesner said. “We need to make sure as they work in a way that is consistent, and we don't have to address this in potentially 50 different ways.” From a technology standpoint, the retail pharmacy business wants “something that is universal and consistent,” he said.
Six states — Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia — have enacted such laws, and more are considering them. The question is, “Who is going to pay for it?” Wiesner said.
Prescription drug monitoring programs, generic substitution and drug interchange, and drug pedigree laws also will involve record-keeping, he said.
“When we look at this, we know we are going to go electronic. But it needs to be done in a consistent way that allows everybody to participate.
“Technology is where we need to go, as long as it is a consistent standard, so that everyone can operate at that level equally,” he said.
Staffing time and related issues also must be considered, he added.