Advice for Pharmacists to Get Involved in Trade Associations, Working with Legislators

Get involved, attend their sessions, attend their conferences, understand what they’re saying, make sure that we’re, again, speaking with that one common voice.

Christine Lee-Wilson, Owner of Professional Pharmacy MD, and Nimesh Jhaveri, President, Community Pharmacy and Health, spoke to Pharmacy Times about public policy and advocacy in pharmacy.

Nimesh Jhaveri: As Christine may have stated, I think there's a couple of different things. Reaching out to your state association—whether it's through the website or a local representative or pharmacy owner that's a colleague that's already part of the state association—sign up. Then attend their sessions, attend their conferences. Don't just sign up and be a fly on the wall. Go in and get engaged. The way I've always said it is, you can't complain about things that you haven't done anything about, right? If we have an issue with scope of practice, if we have an issue with payment, get involved.

That's the first thing I would do—[National Community Pharmacists Association] NCPA, [American Pharmacists Association] APhA, [National Association of Chain Drug Stores] NACDS—all of these trade organizations are organizations that represent us. Get involved, attend their sessions, attend their conferences, understand what they’re saying, make sure that we’re, again, speaking with that one common voice. And then, as Christine stated, learn the legislative issues in your state, learn the legislative issues at the federal level, so you can speak with an educated voice. So, we are not saying simply, everything's fine. Yeah, there are some things fine, but there are some things that need to get done. And so, I think the second big thing is understand the legislative issues that we are going after, and then go find those folks that can make those differences, and reach out. Those are some of the big easy tips that I think you can use to get things done.

Christine Lee-Wilson: Call your policy makers, email your policy makers, attend town halls, become more active. Don't tell me you don't have the time, because you have the time to make the phone call to complain about reimbursement, you have time to make the phone call to say that I can't do these services. So instead of using the time to complain, collectively gather your thoughts, make some phone calls, and have some valuable discussions, because that is probably a better use of your time than complaining to someone who cannot do anything about it.