Pharmacists warn of prescription denials for Medicaid residents

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Medicaid beneficiaries in nursing homes and other settings will be denied access to medications starting Oct. 1 if a mandate for "tamper-resistant" prescription pads is not changed. That's the warning from the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, which joined other pharmacists last week in urging authorities to alter the rule.

Under a provision contained in a major appropriations act for this year, drugs covered by the Medicaid program may be dispensed after Oct. 1 only if requested in writing on special, new tamper-resistant forms. Pharmacists say that distributing such prescribing pads, yet alone getting doctors to use them for every prescription, would be too of big or a hurdle to overcome in less than three months.

ASCP's director of policy and advocacy said it was "essential" for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to grant exceptions for telephone orders and faxed prescription orders. "The logistical challenge of getting all medication orders for these residents also written separately on tamper-resistant prescription pads would just be unworkable," said ASCP's Thomas R. Clark

On Thursday Reps. Mike Ross (R-AR), Marion Berry (D-AR) and Charles A. Wilson (D-OH) introduced the Patient and Pharmacists Protection Act of 2007, which would require that only Class II narcotics be written on tamper-resistant paper starting Oct. 1.