PHARMACY

DEA submits proposal on e-prescribing

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Drug Enforcement Administration has sent a proposal to the Department of Justice to allow e-prescribing of controlled substances, according to published reports. This comes after increase pressure from the Senate and other healthcare professionals to propose a rule for it.

The DEA said it had submitted the proposed rule but couldn’t predict how long the Department of Justice would take reviewing it. The Office of Management and Budget, which also must review the rule, has up to 90 days to render a decision on it.

Once the Department of Justice and Office of Management and Budget have approved the proposed rule, it can be scheduled for publication in the Federal Register. The DEA then will accept comments on the proposal and draft a final rule.

Current DEA regulations require that doctors write paper prescriptions for controlled substances, including pain medications, antidepressants and some drugs to treat asthma in children. The DEA has been evaluating allowing e-prescribing since March 2001, when it issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the topic.

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PHARMACY

HealthPort receives SureScripts’ certified approval

BY Drew Buono

COLUMBIA, S.C. HealthPort’s Electronic Medical Record application is now certified to connect to The Pharmacy Health Information Exchange operated by SureScripts.

HealthPort’s e-prescribing module replaces old error-prone approaches to prescribing such as handwritten prescriptions, computer-printed prescriptions, and computer-faxed prescriptions. It also reduces the risk of medication errors associated with poor handwriting, illegible faxes, similar sounding/named drugs, and manual data entry.

As a SureScripts Certified Solution Provider, HealthPort’s physician clients who use its electronic medical record product can now connect to the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, operated by SureScripts. The Pharmacy Health Information Exchange allows physicians and pharmacists to electronically exchange prescription information and electronically transmit new prescriptions and refill requests during routine and emergency care.

Today, more than 95 percent of all pharmacies are certified on the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange and approximately two-thirds are processing prescriptions electronically.

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FDA is not ready to pursue authority to approve follow-on biologics

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Food and Drug Administration spokesperson Christopher Kelly recently said that, despite comments from an agency official on Monday, the agency will not submit to Congress a legislative proposal to seek authority to approve generic versions of biotechnology medications, CongressDaily reports.

FDA chief operating officer John Dyer had said on Monday that the agency had begun to draft language for such a proposal. In addition, a congressional aide said that the FDA informed the House Energy and Commerce Committee about plans to submit such a proposal but did not disclose a timeline.

Kelly said that the comments from Dyer resulted from a misunderstanding. Fiscal year 2009 budget documents refer to a legislative proposal that will provide recommendations on an FDA approval process for generic versions of biotech medications. Kelly said that the reference to such a proposal was an “expression by FDA of our interest in moving this forward, not an actual proposal.”

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