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AMA SUPPORTS MD DISPENSING VIA RESOLUTION

Executive Summary

AMA SUPPORTS MD DISPENSING VIA RESOLUTION adopted at the association's mid-year meeting in Chicago. The American Medical Association adopted a resolution proposed by the Washington state delegation to put the association on record to "encourage the dispension [sic] of medications by practicing physicians." AMA accompanied the support with a call for the establishment of an approach for "appropriate monitoring." During the legislative attention to MD dispensing this spring, AMA had been taking a more precautionary position. The physicians' group had been opposing "regular dispensing and retail sale [by physicians] of drugs, devices or other products when the needs of patients can be met by local ethical pharmacies or suppliers." The new endorsement of MD dispensing cites the increased competition among physician provider groups. The Washington resolution portrays the position as a way to keep individual MDs and small group practices competitive with the larger groups of providers. The background material for the resolution also contends that the role of the pharmacist as the compounder of drugs has been virtually abandoned over the past 30 years. The resolution declares that "the marketplace has responded with a technologic solution to permit the individual physician practitioner and/or small groups to compete with prepayment programs (HMOs), large medical groups, and/or hospitals in the field of dispensing prescription medications." The AMA position was adopted just as the legislative momentum behind a ban on MD dispensing was dying out. A key House Health Subcommittee staffer recently predicted that the MD dispensing bill is dead for this year in Congress ("The Pink Sheet" June 29, T&G-3). One of the hurdles facing the bill is the Senate, where no interest has been shown yet.
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