PHARMACY

NCPA survey: Accreditation requirements hinder pharmacists from offering DME

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A survey of National Community Pharmacists Association members found that almost one-third (31%) of independent pharmacist-owners in the DMEPOS business would cease offering durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies to their Medicare patients if new accreditation mandates take effect on Oct. 1.

That includes diabetes supplies.

“Pharmacists have been unfairly singled out for this accreditation rule, but patients will be the ones who truly lose out if this isn’t changed,” stated Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “These findings illustrate that the current policy could prevent patients, especially in underserved areas, from accessing medical supplies that help navigate health challenges, such as controlling diabetes. We hope Congress will act swiftly with the accreditation deadline fast approaching.”

For those independents currently not in the DMEPOS business, mandated accreditation would significantly deter 67% of those respondents from participating in the future.

Currently, only 1-in-10 community pharmacies currently providing DMEPOS have become accredited. The accreditation fees, training and implementation costs are projected to total at least $5,000 to $7,000, over three years, which is cost prohibitive for many pharmacists.

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J&J: Agreements with Schering-Plough void after Merck merger

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. The planned merger between Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co. would permit the termination of agreements between Schering-Plough and Johnson & Johnson’s biotech division, J&J asserted in an arbitration demand filed Wednesday with the American Arbitration Association, an alternative dispute resolution organization.

The drug maker said the planned merger constituted a change of control that would allow the termination between agreements its Centocor Ortho Biotech division made with Schering-Plough regarding the inflammatory and immunological disease drugs Remicade (infliximab) and Simponi (golimumab).

“As its public statements have made clear, Merck is acquiring Schering-Plough,” J&J said in a statement. “The acquisition constitutes a change of control that tribbers the right of our Centocor Ortho Biotech subsidiary to terminate the agreements.”

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FDA accepts approval application from Warner Chilcott

BY Alaric DeArment

ARDEE, Ireland The Food and Drug Administration has accepted an approval application for a low-dose oral contraceptive from Warner Chilcott, the drug maker announced Wednesday.

The agency accepted Warner Chilcott’s new drug application for WC 3016, submitted through a subsidiary on March 26.

The company recently relocated its headquarters from Bermuda to Ireland.

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