DOD final rule underscores role of retail pharmacy in health care

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The news that the U.S. Department of Defense has issued a final rule expanding the authorization of retail pharmacies to administer all vaccinations covered under the DOD's preventive care program is important as it further illustrates the critical role that retail pharmacy plays in health care.

(THE NEWS: DoD expands pharmacy’s role in vaccinating Tricare beneficiaries. For the full story, click here.)

An interim rule issued in late 2009 recognized retail network pharmacies as providers and authorized them to administer H1N1, seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccines. This newly released rule further authorizes retail pharmacies to administer all vaccinations covered under the DOD's preventive care program, as permitted by state law.

The final rule further demonstrates the vital role of retail pharmacy and the role it can play in preventive healthcare services, such as vaccines. Such preventive services not only enable patients to live healthier lives, but they also help reduce hefty healthcare costs. Just look at the numbers.

Case in point: In the first six months of the publication of the interim rule, the DOD estimated that more than $1.5 million was saved by administering the vaccines through the pharmacy. During that time, more than 18,000 vaccines were administered in pharmacies.

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