Pharmacists Urged to Get Involved at NACDS Conference

Attendees urged to participate in grassroots advocacy programs to push for policies that better serve pharmacists and patients.

At a meeting that was held despite the hurricane that prevented many from attending—or even leaving their homes, pharmacy leaders called for a higher level of grassroots engagement on public policy priorities that are vital to patient care. At the opening business program of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Pharmacy & Technology Conference, which is being held August 27-30 in Boston, H-E-B Chief Administrative Officer Robert D. Loeffler urged attendees to participate in the grassroots advocacy program NACDS RxIMPACT by attending the Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He also asked attendees to provide feedback to federal and state legislators on key legislation throughout the year.

“NACDS has never been stronger, and NACDS needs to confront any threat to the viability of pharmacy patient care services. That said, I need to emphasize an undeniable, unavoidable, and perhaps under-appreciated fact: we need your engagement,” said Loeffler, also Chairman of the Board at NACDS.

Loeffler noted that the complexity of pharmacy issues requires true dedication in demonstrating to policymakers the importance of pro-patient policy “that reduces the nation’s overall healthcare expenses and maintains patient care at high levels, while keeping the pharmacy industry viable. It’s not that grassroots engagement is a missing ingredient within pharmacy,” he said. “It just needs a lot more muscle. We need your engagement.”

He cited NACDS’ success in rallying the involvement of pharmacy in public policy advocacy, “from those just beginning pharmacy school, to those who could write their textbooks.” In 2011, NACDS RxIMPACT already has nearly tripled the number of letters written in 2010 by pharmacy advocates to their legislators from 5,000 to 14,000 and generated 26 pharmacy tours in 2012, according to Loeffler.

Pharmacists were asked to visit the NACDS RxIMPACT Web site and contact lawmakers in support of the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act (H.R. 1971 in the House of Representatives and S. 1058 in the Senate).

“This bill includes provisions about transparency, the frequency of updating MAC pricing, networks, audits, use of data, and many of the topics that threaten many in this room, and the patients we serve,” Loeffler said.

Finally, he encouraged participation in the 2012 NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, scheduled for March 14-15, 2012.