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Pennsylvania law to spur pharmacist-doctor teamwork

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A new law in Pennsylvania will foster more teamwork between pharmacists and doctors on behalf of patients, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS said the state law will open up opportunities for collaborative drug therapy management, which involves written agreements between physicians and pharmacists that allow pharmacists to put their accessibility, training and skill set to work for patients. Previously, collaborative drug therapy management only was permitted in institutional settings like hospitals and nursing homes, but with the passage of the new legislation it can now occur in the community setting, the association noted.

The legislation, H.B. 1041, was sponsored by Pennsylvania state Rep. Deberah Kula (D) and was signed into law by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell (D) on June 1, according to NACDS.

NACDS, which advocated for the legislation, applauded the efforts of the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association in getting the bill approved by state lawmakers.

"With the enactment of this legislation, Pennsylvania has said ‘yes’ to improving the health and lives of patients and to reducing overall health care costs," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. "This new law recognizes the expertise of pharmacists, the accessibility of community pharmacy, and the ability of pharmacists to help patients properly manage their health conditions for the well-being of patients and for the good of society."

Pennsylvania is the 33rd state to allow collaborative drug therapy management in a community setting, according to NACDS. Nine states allow it in institutional settings only, and eight don’t allow it at all, the association reported.

Collaborative drug therapy management builds on the concept of medication therapy management (MTM). NACDS noted that collaborative drug therapy management can occur only with the approval of the patient and with appropriate privacy protections, and the doctor remains in control by virtue of the terms of the agreement and the pharmacist’s reporting to the physician of all interactions with the patient.

"With this new law," Anderson added, "Pennsylvania has taken important step toward maximizing the potential of pharmacy for the good of patients."


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