ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The National Association of Chain Drug Stores here was planning by this week to file some suggestions to modify the federal medical privacy rule proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
HHS made several changes to the original rule that were favorable to retail pharmacies while preserving consumers' privacy protections, according to NACDS, but the association is hoping to encourage some additional tweaking. The rule spells out consumers' rights concerning how their medical data is used by pharmacies and other entities.
One of the changes NACDS was planning to suggest was that retailers be given two years from the date the rule is finalized to comply. Currently, retailers will be expected to comply by April 14, 2003.
"Our fear is that they might change the rules a month before we have to start complying," said Don Bell, associate general counsel, NACDS, in an interview with SN last week.
Among other changes NACDS will propose is that retailers be required only to make their printed privacy policies available to customers via a display in the pharmacy area, rather than making them hand a copy to every patient.
Bell said NACDS hoped to have recommended comment guidelines for retailers by this week. The comment period ends April 26.