WASHINGTON — Following an intense effort by the pharmacy industry, including Food Marketing Institute, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and National Community Pharmacists Association, Congress is moving forward with legislation that will delay implementation of a law that requires all Medicaid prescriptions to be written on tamper-resistant prescription paper. Unless overriding legislation can be passed and signed by the President, the law will go into effect Monday, which all involved in retail pharmacy agree is not enough time to prepare, or acquire the new prescription pads. However, as of yesterday afternoon, the Senate had unanimously passed a standalone bill supporting retail pharmacy on the issue, while the House passed a measure that was combined with other legislation. To become law, the bills must be passed in the same form, according to FMI, Arlington, Va. “We urge the Senate to act swiftly, clearing the way for President Bush to sign the delay into law prior to the Oct. 1 deadline,” said Tim Hammonds, FMI president and chief executive officer. “This requirement was to take effect next Monday — long before the medical community and pharmacists had time to implement the measure, which was slipped into an Iraq war funding bill this summer. A delay will allow supermarket and other community pharmacies time to implement this requirement in a seamless manner without disrupting patient access to vital medicines,” Hammonds added.
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