NCPA Participates in White House Roundtable Discussion on Prescription Drug Abuse and Health Information Technology

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Alexandria, Va. - June 6, 2011

Last Friday the White House held a roundtable discussion with approximately two dozen leaders across the public safety, health care, and technology sectors to address how health information technology can help limit prescription drug abuse. The main focus was how data from Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) can better facilitate prescribing, be incorporated into pharmacies, and leveraged in emergency rooms. Among the participants, representing the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), was Timothy Davis, PharmD, owner of Beaver Health Mart Pharmacy in Beaver, Pennsylvania.

"Including committed, technologically-savvy, independent community pharmacists like Tim Davis in the fight against prescription drug abuse is a must," said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, NCPA executive vice president and CEO. "One of the keys to beating this epidemic is using health information technology in a coordinated fashion between the public and private sector to combat problems associated with drug diversion."

Hoey added, "When the White House announced its new strategy for combating this scourge in April, NCPA pledged its support. We will continue working with the U.S. Congress, state governments, and state boards of pharmacy. But most importantly, we will continue to help fight pharmacy crime and help with the safe disposal of medications."

The White House report states that during the past decade there was a 48 percent increase in filling narcotic drug prescriptions from 174 million to 257 million. In the past five years emergency department visits caused by prescription drug abuse or misuse has doubled. Unintentional drug overdoses account for 28,000 annual deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Independent community pharmacies have adopted technology and built relationships that will be vital in the fight against medication abuse," said Davis. "Every single pharmacist has the ability to make a difference in his or her community when given the right tools. It is exciting that pharmacists have been given the opportunity to work with other professionals and our government in designing and deploying these tools during this innovative time in health information technology. We promise to use this time to maintain access to care while ensuring the safety of our patients and our communities."

Davis is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, where he is also a guest lecturer as an Adjunct Instructor and serves on their Executive Alumni Board. He also serves on the McKesson Independent Advisory Board, the Health Mart Ambassador Bureau, and Pitt Healthcare for Underserved Populations. He has created technologically advanced pharmacies that permit replication of successful practices and now chairs NCPA's Committee for Innovation and Technology in Pharmacy and resides on the Board of Directors for the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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