NCPA: Get into politics or get out of pharmacy

May 12, 2009

The major message of the 2009 National Community Pharmacists Association's Annual Conference on National Legislation & Government Affairs was "get into politics, or get out of pharmacy."

The fundamental message of the 2009 National Community Pharmacists Association’s Annual Conference on National Legislation & Government Affairs is “get into politics or get out of pharmacy.”

Putting these words into action, on May 13 pharmacists attending the NCPA conference will take to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators. Their goal is to make sure lawmakers understand what they do and how they serve patients. They will share their stories and present their views on healthcare reform measures they hope to see enacted.

Throughout the first two days of the conference, lawmakers spoke to attendees about the debates taking place in committee meetings and elsewhere on Capital Hill about ways to reshape healthcare in the United States and the time frame in which reform measures may occur. Pharmacists also had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues with members of Congress who spoke at the conference.

 Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) responded to concerns about the common misconception that mail-order prescriptions are less expensive than pharmacies. Other Congressional leaders expressed hope that a bill will be introduced, approved and signed by President Barack Obama by the end of the year.

The speakers promised to continue to support pharmacy interests, including issues connected with pharmacy benefit managers and proposed measures dealing with the surety bond required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Pharmacists, for their part, wanted assurances that such promises would be kept and their concerns addressed.

Jo Prang, PharmD, president of operations and owner of Medicap Pharmacy, planned to tell lawmakers Wednesday how poor reimbursement from Medicare forced the closure of three of her four pharmacies in Rapid City, South Dakota.

“I wanted them to know my story,” Prang said. “It’s important.”

Wole Adeoye, RPh, owner of Victory Pharmacy in Decatur, Ill., wanted to discuss with lawmakers how to address some of the challenges pharmacists encounter while trying to care for their patients, such as lack of reimbursement for medication management therapy.

For more information about the impact on NCPA conference attendees of their meetings with lawmakers, watch for upcoming stories online at www.drugtopics.com.