NCPA Applauds Formation of Pharmacy Caucus by Senators Moran and Tester

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Alexandria, Va. - June 29, 2011

U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have established the first-ever Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus, an effort endorsed today by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

The purpose of this caucus is to advocate for community pharmacy issues while serving as a clearinghouse of ideas and information for senators, staff, and other interested parties about the important role community pharmacies play in the delivery of health care. It will complement the Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus in the House, founded in 2007, and currently co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.). That caucus now features 30 House members.

"Senators Jerry Moran and Jon Tester are terrific leaders for the inaugural Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus," said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, NCPA's executive vice president and CEO. "They have long advocated common-sense solutions for the challenges facing community pharmacists and their patients. These have included increasing patient choice and reducing wasteful pharmaceutical spending by reforming pharmacy benefit management business practices and preserving patient access to durable medical equipment and in-person counseling on its proper use. Indeed, greater utilization of clinically trained community pharmacists in federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid can produce improvements in all metrics of success."

Senator Moran was one of the original founders of the Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus in 2007 when he was a member of the House. He was the lead sponsor of several pieces of legislation in the House, including the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2009 and legislation which provided an accreditation exemption for small pharmacies supplying durable medical equipment.

"I am proud to help found the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus. Community pharmacists are vital to our health care delivery system," said Senator Moran. "In many Kansas communities and throughout the country, the local pharmacist is a patient's most direct link to health care. The access to medications, health care supplies, and counsel pharmacists provide matters greatly to the health and well-being of every American. This caucus will provide valuable resources to senators as we work to see that all Americans have better access to affordable health care."

Senator Tester has been a strong supporter of community pharmacy since his election to the Senate in 2006. He was the lead sponsor of legislation that exempted many small pharmacies from duplicative, burdensome regulations when supplying patients with diabetic test supplies.

"Community pharmacies provide essential services for Montana's rural communities," Senator Tester said. "These small businesses are a critical part of what keeps rural America strong and healthy. If folks in rural America don't have access to life-saving medicine and medical supplies, rural America will disappear. That's why I'm proud to champion Montana's community pharmacies and the good-paying jobs they support."

Hoey added, "We encourage other Senators to become members of the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus, and are heartened by the number of Representatives who have already joined the Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus. In supporting their local pharmacies, these lawmakers are also standing up for small businesses that are community pillars and contribute greatly to the local economy, by providing jobs and tax revenue. Together this bipartisan, bicameral effort can make our health care system more effective and less expensive."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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