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The role of community pharmacists and the need to preserve access to valuable health care services were the messages behind the recent Health Across America: Keeping Pharmacy Care Personal bus tour. The 26-city health and wellness tour raised awareness of the critical role community pharmacists play in the health of Americans. In many instances, community pharmacists are the first point of care for individuals. Yet, there is a growing tendency to overlook the personal service they provide.
New initiatives are restricting individuals' access to community pharmacistssuch as requirements that patients fill prescriptions from sources picked for them. These efforts also undermine the value of community pharmacists. Not only do pharmacists verify the safety of prescriptions, but they also help patients understand their health care choices and offer access to a range of services.
During 13 stops on the tour, the American Heart Association (AHA) offered consumers free, confidential screenings for hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. McKesson Corp, the tour's sponsor, donated $10 to the AHA for every individual screened, up to a total of $1500 in each city. The American Pharmacists Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores joined the effort.
The campaign also unveiled the "Keeping Pharmacy Care Personal" petition. Through the Web site www.keepingpharmacycarepersonal.com, individuals can add their names to the on-line petition to demonstrate to policy makers the need to preserve every individual's access to community pharmacists.