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NCPA Testifies Before California Board of Pharmacy on E-Pedigree
Date:12/5/2007

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dave Wilcox, RPh, owner of Northwest Medical Pharmacy in Fresno, Calif., testified today on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) before the Enforcement Committee of the California Board of Pharmacy at the E-pedigree hearing. All members of the pharmaceutical community have to comply with a well-functioning interoperable system of E-pedigree and track and trace technology by January 1, 2009, in order to strengthen the chain of custody for drugs by preventing diversions and counterfeit products from entering the marketplace.

Wilcox's primary recommendation was delaying the implementation date to provide the necessary time to ensure proper compliance. He said, "To get right to the point, the January 1, 2009 deadline is impossible for independent pharmacy to achieve. This is largely due to circumstances far beyond our control, such as lack of standardization, cost considerations and pending Federal proposals. For E-pedigree to be a success, the implementation deadline must be extended at least 24 months." In fact, all sectors of the pharmaceutical community--manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers agree that logistical challenges require more time to be successfully overcome.

Wilcox advocated the following four steps to ensure pharmacists are able to effectively implement E-pedigree:

-- Adjust the implementation date to January 1, 2011, with additional time for the adoption of interoperable standards and technology to reach the retail level.

-- Adopt a phased-in approach to implementation.

-- Grandfather pre-implementation drugs for one year.

-- Only adopt inference if liability does not attach to the drug container recipient.

Another compelling reason for the delay is the financial considerations that must be taken into account. Wilcox said, "Without a uniform technology standard, pharmacists will be forced to purchase and maintain multiple track and trace technologies--readers, scanners, software and the like. The cost of E-pedigree regulation is substantial for community pharmacy and must be compensated. The costs to a retail pharmacy have been estimated at anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 per location. Chain pharmacies have stated that once the plans of upstream trading partners are known, it will take an additional 15 -18 months to implement E-pedigree. For the small businesses in the independent pharmacy sector lacking the resources of larger chains, the consequences will be even worse." The state has created an unfunded mandate by failing to have any mechanisms to help offset the cost to pharmacies.

In California, NCPA represents 2,215 community pharmacies with over 30,000 employees--a substantial portion of the California retail pharmacy marketplace. The proposed changes will enable the transition to E-pedigree to be efficient and effective, ultimately benefitting public safety.

View the entire Wilcox testimony at the following link: http://www.ncpanet.org/pdf/leg/testimony-pedigreewilcox20071204.pdf

The National Community Pharmacists Association, founded in 1898, represents the nation's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation's independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines. For more information, go to http://www.ncpanet.org.


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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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