Background

In 2018, legislation was passed in Iowa that required a company to have VAWD Accreditation as a prerequisite to being awarded wholesale drug distribution licensing, in line with three other states.

Per an FAQ published October 2018 on the Iowa Board of Pharmacy website: “All new wholesale distributors and 3PLs seeking initial licensure in Iowa must provide proof of VAWD Accreditation prior to a license being issued by the Board. Currently licensed wholesale distributors and 3PLs must provide proof of VAWD Accreditation with the 2020 renewal,” (read the FAQ here).

Therefore, companies that are (1) not currently licensed in Iowa and are still working/planning to achieve VAWD Accreditation, or are (2) not at all interested in VAWD Accreditation, are at risk of being unable to do business in Iowa.

Reasons for the Waiver Request

At the September 10 Iowa Board of Pharmacy meeting, six waiver applicants had the chance to plead their cases on why they should be granted a waiver to the VAWD requirement. Some companies requesting the waiver cited the extensive wait times in regards to the VAWD Accreditation process. In one case, an applicant waited 18 months between submission of their VAWD Application and moving to the first official phase of the Accreditation process.

Waiver Approval

Five of the six companies that requested the waiver were approved as they were willing to achieve NCDQS QAS Accreditation and/or VAWD Accreditation.

The one company that was not interested in achieving ANY Accreditation, and accordingly requested a blanket waiver to the VAWD requirement, was completely denied the waiver. Therefore, it seems Iowa is committed to requiring Accreditation, whether it be NCDQS QAS Accreditation and/or VAWD Accreditation.

What to Expect Next from the Industry

With Iowa’s approval, companies looking to do business in states previously unavailable to them – Wyoming, Indiana, North Dakota, and in many cases Maryland – will likely be applying for a similar waiver in those states. Additionally, this creates an environment where Optum Rx can also be petitioned to accept NCDQS QAS Accreditation in lieu of VAWD Accreditation.

Finally, NCDQS QAS Inspection program might be the solution to achieve licensing in those states where an updated inspection report is needed for initial licensing and renewals, including states like Minnesota and Oregon.