Legislation Would Deny Floridians Access to Needed Medicines From Their Trusted Independent Community Pharmacies, and Instead Favor Publicly Traded Chain Pharmacies


Alexandria, Va. - March 31, 2011

National Community Pharmacists Association Executive Vice President and CEO Kathleen Jaeger issued the following statement today in response to the Florida House Judicial Committee's passage of HB 7095, legislation sponsored by State Rep. Rob Schenck, and in particular an amendment that would restrict the dispensing of controlled substances on Schedule II and Schedule III to publicly traded pharmacy chains or only those independent community pharmacies that have been in business more than 10 years:

"We all support efforts to keep illegal substances out of the hands of those who are addicted to drugs. However, as good as Representative Schenck's intentions may be, this legislation would result in keeping medicines from actual patients who need them. In essence, it would make real patients and independent community pharmacies collateral damage between the War on Drugs and the War on Pain.

"This bill is misguided, and does a great disservice to patients under the guise of drug diversion. There is no credible evidence to suggest that drug diversion occurs at a higher level in independent community pharmacies than that of chains. Creating an uneven competitive playing field does nothing to advance the resolution of the underlying drug diversion issue, and forces many patients to leave their trusted independent community pharmacist to obtain their prescriptions at chain pharmacies. This is particularly a problem in underserved rural and urban communities, where independent pharmacists may be the only health care provider available. Under this bill, these patients with legitimate health needs will be denied timely access to essential medications.

"In addition, with Florida's unemployment rate at 11.5 percent and state leaders grappling with crippling revenue shortfalls, it would be incredibly short-sighted for the legislature to put its thumb on the scales against local, family owned pharmacies. Florida's 1,303 independent community pharmacies are pillars of their communities, employing 13,942 Floridians and indirectly supporting many more jobs. This legislation would undermine those jobs at the worst possible time by sending Florida dollars out of state via the nearest Big Box chain pharmacy.

"On behalf of patients with real health needs, independent community pharmacists will work vigorously to defeat this misguided proposal. In the meantime, we look forward to working cooperatively with state leaders on reasonable solutions to combat the abuse of controlled substances."

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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