PHARMACY

NCPA backs Patients’ Freedom to Choose Act

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association has expressed support of legislation that seeks to overturn two provisions in the Obama healthcare law that limit a patient’s choice in how to use consumer-directed health savings plans.

The NCPA said Friday it supported the Patients’ Freedom to Choose Act, which was introduced to the House and Senate by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn. The legislation would repeal the requirement for patients to obtain prescriptions for over-the-counter medications when using their flexible saving accounts and health saving accounts.

"We want to thank Sen. Hutchison and Rep. Paulsen for their strong leadership in attempting to restore the ability for patients to purchase OTC medications through their FSAs and HSAs without the inconvenience of first having to get a prescription from a doctor’s office,” said Kathleen Jaeger, NCPA EVP and CEO. "Until this year, these commonplace and inexpensive drugs for treating pain, allergies and other ailments were not subjected to this unreasonable requirement. We call on Congress to pass these companion bills as quickly as possible."

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PHARMACY

AIP-Texas joins NCPA

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Academy of Independent Pharmacists-Texas is the newest member of a group that represents the nation’s independent pharmacies.

The National Community Pharmacists Association said having AIP-Texas participants as members will “strengthen the voice of independent pharmacists and their patients.”

AIP-Texas promotes the practice of independent pharmacy in Texas by providing a forum for independents to exchange information and develop strategies, goals and objectives. AIP-Texas advocates on legislative and regulatory issues on behalf of independent pharmacists and their patients, both in Texas and across the United States, the NCPA said.

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FDA approves test to monitor levels of Zortress in the bloodstream

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. —The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday the approval of Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher’s QMS Everolimus Immunoassay, a test that monitors the blood for levels of Novartis’ drug Zortress (everolimus).

Zortress is a drug used to prevent rejection of transplanted kidneys.

“QMS Everolimus is the first FDA-cleared test physicians can use to maintain appropriate levels of the immunosuppressant everolimus,” FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health director Jeffrey Shuren said.

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