At Capitol Hill Rally, Community Pharmacists Make Case for Passing Several Patient-Friendly Bills This Year



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Alexandria, Va. - May 9, 2012 Capping off a successful three-day meeting that brought hundreds of independent community pharmacists to Washington, DC for the National Community Pharmacists Association's (NCPA) Legislative Conference, today members of Congress joined pharmacists at the Capitol to push for three pending bills that create a fairer system that preserves patient access to the pharmacy of their choice.

Speakers at the rally included Senator Mark Pryor (D-AK)—original sponsor of the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act (S. 1058); Representative Tom Marino (R-PA)—original sponsor of the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act (H.R. 1946); Representative Peter Welch (D-VT)—original sponsor of the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act (H.R. 1936); Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS); Representative Judy Chu (D-CA), Representative Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA; Wolkar Drug owner Brian Caswell, RPh; and Grubbs Care Pharmacy owner Michael Kim, RPh.

"Independent community pharmacists offer vital health care services to millions of patients across America that could be compromised without passage of S. 1058, H.R. 1946, and H.R. 1936," said Hoey. "These common-sense, bipartisan bills will rein in some of the most egregious behavior of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs); help level contract negotiations between PBMs and pharmacies; and ensure seniors can continue receiving essential diabetes testing supplies and face-to-face counseling from their local pharmacies."

Hoey added, "After our rally we will flood the halls of Congress to deliver our message, spurred on by the support we are receiving from Senator Pryor, and Representatives Marino and Welch. They know independent community pharmacies are often in underserved rural and urban communities, and the bills they are championing will ensure the continuum of health care is preserved in those and other communities."

During the previous two days Legislative Conference attendees heard from a bevy of Congressional and Obama Administration officials during speeches and panel discussions. Representatives Dave Camp (R-MI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Aaron Schock (R-IL); along with Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Al Franken (D-MN), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) addressed the Conference. Jonathan Blum, Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Medicare, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and Colonel George E. Jones, Jr. PharmD, Deputy Chief, Pharmaceutical Operations Directorate, TRICARE Management Activity; also spoke. In addition there were panels on the Federal Trade Commission's PBM-related decisions, efforts to combat pharmacy crimes and the challenges facing long-term care providers. Another highlight was a comprehensive media briefing with NCPA's leadership team and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who is co-chair of the Community Pharmacy Caucus.

"The Legislative Conference certainly achieved its goal of providing our members an opportunity to both hear from and advocate with members of Congress," said Hoey. "They know the best way to address the questionable business practices of the PBM industry is through grassroots activism in support of pro-patient reforms."

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. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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