NACDS Calls for Renewed Focus on the Value of Community Pharmacy

The NACDS is trying to get political leaders to appreciate the value of the community pharmacist. But why do we have to tell them?

As the health care reform debate escalates and legislation is proposed, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is calling for a renewed focus on the value of community pharmacy.

"The nation and the states need policymakers, and the healthcare community needs decision makers, who recognize the power of community pharmacy services to lower overall healthcare costs and improve patient health, and who do not fall into the short-sighted trap of viewing pharmacy services and prescription drug costs in a vacuum. This is a critical message that is taking root among forward-thinking and results-oriented policymakers, payers and employers," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson stated.

Mr. Anderson announced the next and more robust phase of NACDS' proactive campaign to educate elected officials and candidates at the national and state levels — and to evaluate NACDS' support for candidates based on their recognition of community pharmacy's ability to improve health and reduce overall healthcare costs (NACDS News Release).

An important focus to get political leaders to appreciate the value of the community pharmacist, but why do we have to tell them? If we are doing such a good job, wouldn’t it be obvious? Could it be that we are not really making the contributions we think we are? In the News release accompanying this story, Steven Anderson mentioned the CheckMeds NC Program. As obvious as the cost to benefit ratio $13.65/$1.00 is for this program, I have trouble getting NC leaders to accept the results. I think that is because community pharmacists are not truly integrated into the health team. They may communicate by faxes, but they are not integrated into a medical home, they are not known individually by the physicians based in the medical home, they don’t have opportunity to communicate into the e-record their patient observation, and they don’t practice in a longitudinally manner. They are very good at practicing episodically and solving problems accordingly but could it be that such activities aren’t that valuable in the eyes of legislators, other health professional or payers? Am I off base?