Pharmacy Groups Welcome Pharmacists Elected to US Congress

November 10, 2020
Christine Blank

Following the 2020 election, pharmacy groups welcomed the newly elected pharmacist congressmembers and commented on pharmacy issues requiring attention from Congress.

Pharmacy groups welcomed incoming members of Congress — including 3 who are pharmacists — after the United States election. They also stressed pharmacy-centered issues for Congress to focus on when they reconvene in January.

“We’re excited Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) is being joined in Congress by another pharmacist, Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee, and pharmacy owner Jerry Carl (R-AL), both of whom have an in-depth understanding of issues important to independent community pharmacy owners,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, in a statement provided to Drug Topics®.

“We look forward to working with them and with the incoming administration to enable pharmacists to contribute fully in the fight against the coronavirus, rein in pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and fix pharmacy DIR fees,” Hoey added.

In addition to Carter and Carl, NACDS President and CEO Steven C Anderson lauded the election of pharmacist Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), and the re-election of former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), “who has demonstrated tremendous leadership on pharmacy issues,” he said in a memo to NACDS members.

“When the 117th Congress gavels into session in January, NACDS will have a foundation of support for several of our key legislative priorities,” Anderson said.

Among the prospective legislation is HR 1034/S. 640, the Phair Pricing Act, “which contains essential DIR fee reforms,” will have many returning supporters, according to Anderson.

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) welcomed “the opportunity to work with the next administration and the 117th Congress to continue recognizing pharmacists as medical experts providing patient care,” said Scott J. Knoer, PharmD, FASHP, chief executive officer and executive vice president of APhA in a news release.1

“Chief among these are efforts to secure pharmacist provider status for Medicare coverage, and advocating for fundamental payment reform for pharmacists’ services,” Knoer said.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have repeatedly demonstrated that they are essential front-line providers on the health care team, “and courageous warriors in the fight against the coronavirus,” Knoer said.

“During the pandemic, pharmacists temporarily secured expanded authority to serve their patients. It has made a difference,” Knoer said. “We will ask the next administration to maintain the authorities granted under the public health emergency so pharmacists can continue providing enhanced care and services to patients, including testing, treating, immunization, and telehealth.”

“Now is the time to reform payment mechanisms and remove regulatory barriers to ensure that patients continue to have access to all vital services that pharmacists are trained to provide – during the pandemic and after,” Knoer added.

Reference:

1. American Pharmacists Association comments on the presidential election. News release. APhA; November 9, 2020. Accessed November 10, 2020. https://www.pharmacist.com/press-release/american-pharmacists-association-comments-presidential-election

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