Skip to main content

Berry, Moran to unveil legislation to clear sale of DME in pharmacies


Washington Reprising an effort they made last fall, two of community pharmacy’s most ardent supporters in Congress are hatching new legislation to clear away legal barriers to the sale of durable medical equipment by retail pharmacies.

Under recently imposed guidelines from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, pharmacists are the only licensed medical professionals that must meet the agency’s new accreditation requirements to sell Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies. Those requirements — which are bitterly opposed by retail pharmacy advocates — restrict access to needed medical supplies by patients and impose unreasonable requirements on pharmacists, who are already licensed professionals, the two lawmakers assert.

In response, Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., and Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., are jointly sponsoring a new bill to ensure patients have easy access to medical supplies. To do so, the legislation would add community pharmacists to “the long list of medical professionals that have been conditionally exempted from the requirement by CMS,” noted a spokesperson for Rep. Berry, the only member of Congress who has practiced pharmacy.

“In rural areas, including many small towns across Arkansas, community pharmacists are often the only medical professionals available who supply durable medical equipment to beneficiaries,” said Angela Guyadeen, Berry’s communications director. “The current law threatens their ability to serve their patients.

“Rep. Berry's bill will help continue to provide Medicare patients with access to DME, while also helping to ensure that community pharmacies are not forced to close their doors,” Guyadeen added. The bill, to be introduced this week as the new Obama Administration takes office, will also spur momentum for healthcare reform, she noted.

Berry and Moran are winning strong support for their proposal from pharmacy and retail organizations, including the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association and the Food Marketing Institute.

“NACDS, along with other pharmacy groups, has worked closely with Reps. Berry & Moran to articulate the need to stop ill-advised regulations that could limit patients’ access to durable medical equipment from neighborhood pharmacies,” noted NACDS spokeswoman Chrissy Kopple. “The introduction of this bill is critical to pharmacy, and we appreciate the leadership of both members of Congress for introducing this bill early in this new Congress."

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds