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December 1, 2008

ASHP, Member Efforts Secure Delay in Tamper-Resistant Requirement

What happens when a well-intentioned policy has an effective date that could result in patients going without needed medications? You get a groundswell of advocacy that causes Congress and the White House to take notice.

When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new tamper-resistant requirement for prescriptions for Medicaid beneficiaries, ASHP quickly realized that the timeframe for implementation was too short.

“As a fraud-prevention measure, this is a good rule,” said Joseph Hill, director of ASHP’s federal legislative activities. “But we immediately began to hear from members that there was no way that they could be ready to follow through by the rule’s deadline.”

The Society quickly swung into action, working with several other pharmacy organizations to urge CMS to delay the requirement’s implementation, seeking legislative relief by working with key legislators, and enlisting ASHP members to contact their Congressional representatives.

In the span of just one month, Congress passed legislation postponing the rule for six months. President Bush then signed it into law in late September.

“This issue really hit home for a number of our members, and I am thrilled that we were able to give them some breathing room to properly prepare for the new requirements,” said ASHP President Janet A. Silvester, MBA, FASHP .

Check out www.ashp.org/advocacy to see how the Society’s work on this issue evolved.

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