Pharmacy Advocates Deliver Change

In more than 200 face-to-face meetings with the nation's most influential agents of health care reform, representatives of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores relayed a clear, united message about the value of pharmacy at this year����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½������¯����¯�¿�½������¿����¯�¿�½������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������¢����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������¯����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������¿����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������¯����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������¿����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½������¯������¿������½����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������½s RxIMPACT Day, held March 10 and 11.

The pharmacy provisions included in the health care reform bill, officially signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday, were the result of months of efforts by grassroots pharmacy advocates. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) has emerged as a leader of those efforts, and its members turned out in record numbers on March 10 and 11 to participate in the organization’s annual RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.

Medication adherence was the focus of this year’s event, which drew more than 250 pharmacists, student pharmacists and faculty, state pharmacy leaders, and pharmacy company executives from 35 states to the nation’s capitol.

So far, the organization has reported more than 220 completed meetings between pharmacy advocates and federal officials, including a total of 67 senators and 153 members of the House of Representatives. Of those members of Congress, 70% served on committees overseeing health care reform. Supplementing the in-person meetings was an onslaught of more than 1500 letters to elected officials, all written by NACDS members and their allies.

The event aimed to raise pharmacy’s profile among policymakers during a crucial moment in the nation’s health care history. Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D, NC), who supports the health care reform bill and is working with senators to develop a package of improvements, was among the lawmakers who met with NACDS representatives as part of the RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill. A statement issued March 15 by Hagan and published in the Congressional Record reflects the success of those meetings in communicating the value of pharmacy services within the health care system.

In the statement, Hagan recognized the cost-saving benefits of medication therapy management (MTM), disease state management, health screenings, and immunizations delivered by trained pharmacists. She called pharmacies the “face of neighborhood health care” and advocated pro-pharmacy measures, such as fair reimbursement policies and expansion of the MTM benefit in Medicare Part D. “Today,” said Hagan, “I celebrate the value of pharmacy and support efforts to protect access to neighborhood pharmacies and utilize pharmacies to improve the quality and reduce the costs of health care.”

The health care reform bill, which includes many of the specific measures called for by NACDS and other pharmacy organizations, is just the beginning for RxIMPACT advocates, according to NACDS President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.

As the organization attempts to monitor the progress of health care reform in the coming months and years, it will continue to rely on its connections in Congress, Anderson expressed in a press release. “We very much appreciate and value those pharmacy champions in Congress who are standing with us,” he said.

Plans are already underway for next year’s event, which will be held March 9 and 10 in Washington, DC. For more information about the RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, visit the RxIMPACT Web site.

For other articles in this issue, see:

Pharmacists Key in Treatment of Hypertension

NCPA Initiative Targets Unsafe Drug Disposal

Survey Highlights Shifting Face of Pharmacy

Health Care Reform: Pharmacy Perspectives