An accreditation organization in Washington has created a committee to help design requirements for pharmacy benefits management programs.

The organization, URAC, created the Pharmacy Benefit Management Standards Committee to set criteria for managing pharmacy benefits for Medicare, commercial insurers and health plans.

URAC, originally known as the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, says its wants the new standards to improve patient safety, timely access to medications and improve medication therapy management.

The introduction of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit is expected to create a dramatic increase in the number of Americans enrolled in PBM programs, URAC said in an announcement.

The new standards would cover organizational integrity, clinical quality, pharmacy network access, and consumer education and support, URAC said.

URAC named John D. Jones to chair the committee. He is vice president of government affairs and pharmacy policy at Prescription Solutions, a PBM based in Irvine, Calif.