McKesson’s Unique Public Policy Perspective
McKesson understands that the decisions made by policymakers have a profound impact on our industry. With businesses and customers that span all settings of care, McKesson has a 360-degree view of the healthcare system. We are actively engaged in numerous public policy issues that impact our operations, and those of our customers.
Engagement and Collaboration
McKesson plays an active role in educating elected officials and policymakers about the solutions we offer to improve patient safety, reduce the cost and variability of care, and improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. Through tours of our distribution centers and visits to pharmacy and hospital customers, policymakers can better understand the steps we take to assure the safe, efficient and rapid distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical-surgical supplies and the tools and technology solutions we provide our customers to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare.
Key Public Policy Issues
Public policy issues important to the company, to our customers, and to our mission of improving the quality and delivery of healthcare include the following:
Patient Safety and Innovation in Health IT
McKesson is actively engaged in the transformation of healthcare from a system burdened by paper to one empowered by interoperable electronic solutions that improve patient safety, reduce the cost and variability of care, and improve healthcare efficiency. Significant technological advances in the medical field, including the development and adaptation of state-of-the-art hardware and software, are critical to better healthcare outcomes. Therefore, it is imperative that software is defined and regulated in a way that fosters innovation while ensuring product and patient safety.
Health IT plays a critical role in improving the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of care. McKesson urges the development of a new oversight framework for health IT that would appropriately support both patient safety and innovation. We actively promoted the inclusion of a provision to address the development of a new oversight framework for health IT in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), enacted in July 2012.
McKesson’s advocacy for an appropriate risk-based regulatory framework for health IT is embraced by others in the healthcare community. This concept was adopted in a Bipartisan Policy Center report, An Oversight Framework for Assuring Patient Safety in Health Information Technology.
McKesson supports federal bipartisan legislation which would create a risk-based framework that recognizes the different categories of health IT solutions that remain undefined under current law. We continue to work with federal agencies to ensure that any regulatory activity promotes innovation while protecting patient safety.
Security of the Supply Chain
Safe medicines are a critical component of effective healthcare. Patients should have access to these lifesaving treatments without having to worry about the safety of the medication. A robust and secure medication delivery infrastructure is critical to achieving efficiency, safety and quality. McKesson is committed to innovative solutions that will make the nation’s pharmaceutical supply chain, already the safest in the world, safer and more secure. We were actively engaged in and support the recent enactment of the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013. This law creates a uniform national standard for drug supply chain security that will make a safe distribution system even safer.
We are leaders in collaborating with manufacturers to test and implement carrier technology that will trace pharmaceutical products from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the pharmacy. We are collaborating with the FDA and state agencies to refine requirements for the implementation of these uniform standards for the traceability of pharmaceutical medicine distribution.
Beginning in January 2015, the new law will phase in unit-level serialization for all pharmaceutical products so they can be traced electronically from manufacturer to distributor to pharmacy, and, if necessary, back up the chain.
Interoperability of Health IT
The healthcare industry has long recognized the importance of healthcare data interoperability, which is essential to improving quality, reducing costs, enabling regulatory compliance and ensuring better access to healthcare for millions of people.
In an industry with multiple standards and hundreds of health IT platforms, no healthcare technology supplier can solve the problem of interoperability alone. Today, our healthcare delivery system lacks a universally adopted, easy, affordable way to allow for the seamless movement of patient-centered data across all settings of care. Solving this challenge will require a multi-faceted approach.
Last year, McKesson along with other industry leaders launched the CommonWell™ Health Alliance a collaborative effort among competitors in the health IT industry focused on achieving data exchange between different health IT systems. CommonWell is an inclusive not-for-profit organization supporting real-time access to health data in different locations across all settings of care. Since its formation, the CommonWell Health Alliance has successfully initiated live service in four regions of the country. CommonWell continues to expand membership and services to additional healthcare services companies and health systems across the country.
Responsible Management of Healthcare Information
We are committed to carefully managing the rights of individuals and safeguarding the privacy of healthcare information entrusted to us by utilizing industry-accepted best practices. This data is critical to the timely and effective delivery of healthcare products and services, improvements in quality and safety, and the development of new lifesaving and life-enhancing medical innovations. We advocate for and subscribe to policies and practices that proactively protect the privacy of patients and healthcare consumers, while simultaneously enabling the essential flow of patient information.
McKesson Crisis Response
As the largest healthcare services company in the United States, we touch the lives of more than 100 million patients and are positioned as a critical partner with the federal government in times of crisis.
We have a long history of providing vital pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and health IT solutions to hospitals, healthcare businesses and individuals impacted by natural disasters, acts of terrorism or other major crises such as Hurricane Katrina, H1N1 influenza and Ebola. A commitment to enhanced contingency planning and ongoing communication with our business partners and government agencies will allow McKesson to continue to help Americans respond to unforeseen or anticipated crises.