ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Aug. 11, 2014) —The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) announced today a nationwide campaign to let Congress know the importance of giving Medicare beneficiaries better access to the pharmacy of their choice and letting community pharmacies in medically underserved areas have the opportunity to participate as “preferred” pharmacies in Medicare drug plans.
“The Medicare pharmacy choice proposal, H.R. 4577, is popular with voters, supported by key consumer advocates and has strong, bipartisan backing from dozens of cosponsors,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. “But pharmacy choice supporters need to educate more members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4577. They should ask their senators to introduce ‘any willing pharmacy’ legislation in the Senate. The August congressional recess is the ideal time for pharmacists and other supporters to engage their elected representatives, and these tools and resources that NCPA has provided make it easy.”
To facilitate interaction by pharmacists and other supporters of pharmacy choice with their representative and senators during the month-long congressional recess, NCPA has compiled a grassroots toolkit, available online. It features a checklist of grassroots activities as well as sample material that pharmacy choice supporters can personalize with their own experiences and utilize. These include an email to Capitol Hill, a letter to the editor, social media content, bag stuffers and more.
In addition, NCPA has released two 60-second radio advertisements. Both can be utilized by community pharmacies as paid ads on their local radio stations, information for consumers calling the pharmacy, content for pharmacy websites or for other purposes.
The first ad, “George and Joan,” depicts a married couple newly eligible for Medicare and upset to discover that their drug plan is forcing them to pay more for their medications or switch pharmacies. George reacts, “A bunch of darn bureaucrats. Joan, we’re 67 years old and have been running our lives and paying taxes. Now, they tell us how to live.” The ad concludes by noting, “It’s time politicians know — greater access to medicine starts with more choices for you.”
The second ad, “Rigged,” summarizes how insurance middlemen effectively tell people where to get their prescription drugs by making it too expensive to go to another pharmacy of their choosing.
“Three huge corporations control about 70 percent of all prescription orders in our country - 70 percent!” the announcer notes. “That’s big money! And that blocks local community pharmacists from having a real shot at competing.” She concludes, “Don’t let bureaucrats and big money restrict your access to the medicine you need.”
Web banner ads for online use
NCPA also developed banner ads for websites. The ads make the case for patient access to medication and pharmacy choice and can be hyperlinked to more information at NCPA’s dedicated “any willing pharmacy” Web page: www.ncpanet.org/pharmacychoice. Community pharmacies can feature them on their websites or sponsor them as advertisements on local online news outlets such as newspapers. The ads were produced in industry-standard sizes (300x250 and 728x90).