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NCPDP highlights progress in Rx initiatives
January 23rd, 2012
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) made key strides during 2011 in the areas of prescription labeling, electronic prior authorizations, medication therapy management and electronic prescribing.
In its 2011 year-in-review announcement, NCPDP said Monday that among its initiatives, the pharmacy standards organization mobilized the industry around best practices for prescription container labels for drugs containing acetaminophen. Efforts included hosting focus groups and producing a white paper providing industry guidance on best practices for labeling prescription containers for medicines with acetaminophen, the overdose of which remains a serious public health problem.
NCPDP also reconvened its ePA Task Group in 2011 to evaluate the use of current electronic prior authorization (ePA) transactions and pilot efforts as well as to gauge industry needs that have expanded with advances in medication therapy management (MTM), biotechnology, designer drugs and other factors. The ePA Task Group will work to develop a flexible, industrywide standard for the exchange of ePA data, NCPDP said, noting that the process of coordinating prior authorization for drugs remains time-consuming and costly and can cause delays in getting medications to patients.
The year, too, saw NCPDP develop new medication therapy management (MTM) transactions to sharpen the accuracy of service requests and pharmacist documentation of MTM services. The group pointed out that pharmacist-led MTM programs have been shown to boost medication adherence and patient engagement plus reduce medication errors and health care costs.
Also in 2011, NCPDP released an enhancement to the SCRIPT standard, a core requirement of "meaningful use," to enable e-prescribing of controlled substances. The SCRIPT and other NCPDP e-prescribing standards improve patient safety and enable providers to make more informed decisions at the point of care with access to medication history and formulary and benefit information, NCPDP noted.
And in the area of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), NCPDP — using its ANSI-accredited Telecommunication Standard — developed a reference guide for pharmacists, doctors and manufacturers to ensure compliance; manage physician engagement, benefits and workflow; and maximize patient access and effectiveness. Medicines with safety concerns — that is, when the benefits outweigh risks for certain patients — are subject to Food and Drug Administration-mandated REMS.
"We made tremendous progress in 2011, moving patient safety initiatives forward and enhancing interoperability and collaboration across health care," Lee Ann Stember, president of NCPDP, said in a statement.
NCPDP added that it continues to educate policy makers on the role of pharmacists in the interdisciplinary patient care team, contributing expertise and knowledge that are vital to improving health care delivery.
Stember commented, "It is gratifying to be part of an organization that makes a real difference in improving the business and delivery of health care — for pharmacists, physicians and patients."