Should Community Pharmacies Be Accredited?
Like a seven-year itch, discussions about requiring accreditation of community pharmacies are picking up steam again. Led by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, a number of pharmacy organizations are talking about whether the profession should support required community pharmacy accreditation. There are several topics that seem to boomerang back periodically and this is one of them.
Since 1998 NCPA's official position has been to support individual state boards of pharmacy as the regulating bodies for pharmacy rather than another entity providing national oversight.
Frankly, we don't see a demand coming from patients that is warranting a significant change in that position. We also believe that the individual boards of pharmacy are more than adequately keeping their charge of looking after the public's interests in their state, and it appears that many NCPA members feel the same way.
Last week we sent a survey to NCPA members about community pharmacy accreditation. Some 77% of respondents indicated that national community pharmacy accreditation was not necessary and individual state boards should continue to oversee pharmacies.
When asked what the appropriate accrediting body would be if such a program were developed, 57% felt that it should be carried out by state boards. One of the respondents asked why the profession was considering adding another layer of accreditation when community pharmacy is already regulated by state boards, DEA, FDA, and CMS among others.
NCPA wrote a letter last month to NABP expressing concerns about the need for community pharmacy accreditation
Some of the points we raised were:
- Is there evidence that suggests accreditation is needed?
- If evidence exists, accreditation should be voluntary.
- More dialogue is needed with the affected stakeholders and each state board responsible for oversight of pharmacies and pharmacist licensure.
- If accreditation is needed, it should not create a profit center for any accrediting body.
We have heard some contend that pharmacy accreditation is needed because "not all state boards are created equally." We think it would make more sense to determine if that statement is true first and, if it is, address any short fallings in those few states rather than requiring community pharmacy accreditation.
There are also rumblings that some PBMs may require pharmacy accreditation in order to participate in their network. Again, we believe that compliance with individual state board of pharmacy regulations should qualify a pharmacy for a pharmacy network. We'll continue to keep an eye on developments there as well.
While many community pharmacists are hearing about the most recent attempt to require pharmacy accreditation for the first time, the effort may be gaining momentum. We'll continue to keep you posted as the accreditation issue evolves. Whatever position you have on accreditation, make sure your board knows your thoughts.