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PCMA: 2008 Health Debate Highlights 'Workable Solutions' Like E-Prescribing

New Congressional Task Force Focuses on E-Prescribing, Other Issues in 2008

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As policymakers continue to seek common ground promoting bipartisan health care issues that improve safety and save money, Representatives Allyson Schwartz, (D-Penn.), Lois Capps, (D-Calif.), and Jason Altmire, (D-Penn) today launched the New Democratic Health Care Task Force, which will focus on passing electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) legislation among other heath care initiatives.

"PCMA applauds the determination of Representatives Schwartz, Capps, and Altmire to pass e-prescribing legislation this year," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. "2008 is a year in which 'workable solutions' like e-prescribing will drive the health care debate."

The mission of New Democratic Health Care Task Force highlights the growing momentum to require that doctors use e-prescribing in Medicare. In December, the bipartisan "Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007" was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Members John Kerry, (D-Mass.) and John Ensign, (R-Nev.). Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Schwartz and Jon Porter, (R-Nev.) and is supported by a broad coalition of consumers, unions, businesses, purchaser groups, and other prescription drug stakeholders.

E-prescribing improves safety by alerting a doctor when a drug about to be prescribed could dangerously interact with other medications that a patient is already taking. E-prescribing also eliminates medication errors that result from sloppy handwritten prescriptions that are illegible at the pharmacy counter. In 2006, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee recommended that all physicians begin using e-prescribing by 2010 to help reduce the estimated 1.5 million preventable medication errors that occur in the United States annually. However, fewer than one-in-ten physicians currently use e-prescribing technology.

PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 210 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D.

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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