Nursing homes no longer subject to independent pharmacist regulation

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PharMerica agrees with FTC lawsuit blocking Omnicare takeover
PharMerica agrees with FTC lawsuit blocking Omnicare takeover

Federal regulators have reversed a controversial proposal that would have required facilities to hire consultant pharmacists to review residents' medications.

Officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Monday that the independent pharmacists regulation — which was proposed last October — would be “highly disruptive to the industry.” When the regulation was proposed last year, shares of nursing home pharmacy suppliers Omnicare and Pharmerica dropped sharply.

CMS Deputy Director Jonathan Blum said that while the agency is concerned about the inappropriate medicating of residents, physicians and other nursing home staff also “contribute significantly to the problem,” Bloomberg reported. The agency is particularly concerned about anti-psychotics.

In a separate statement, CMS encouraged nursing homes to voluntarily adjust how medications are prescribed or face stiffer regulations down the line.

Under current federal laws, nursing homes are required to review resident drug regimens once per month. This task frequently is outsourced to the companies that already supply the same facilities with medications. Regulators have been concerned that this practice opens pharmacists up to potential conflicts of interest.

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