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Bill would expand pharmacists' role

US Senator Kay Hagan has introduced a bill intended to expand the role of pharmacists in helping patients manage their medication

US Senator Kay Hagan, the Democrat from North Carolina, has introduced a bill intended to cut costs and increase patient compliance by expanding the role of pharmacists in helping patients manage their medication.

The proposed legislation, known as the Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010, builds on provisions in the healthcare reform law to enhance pharmacist-provided medication therapy management (MTM) services for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries by opening MTM services to patients suffering from any chronic condition or disease.

The bill, which is co-sponsored by the high-profile Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, has been endorsed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

"By encouraging MTM services in neighbourhood pharmacies, the bill would improve public health and reduce healthcare costs by helping patients to take their medications in the right ways and avoid complications with their drug therapies," said NACDS president and CEO Steven C Anderson. "Patients suffering from chronic disease, be it diabetes, hypertension, asthma or other conditions, will benefit from these pharmacy services, which also strengthen the pharmacist-patient relationship."

The legislation is the Senate's companion to a House bill, the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act of 2009, which was introduced by Mike Ross, Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, in Arkansas last year.

30th June 2010

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