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D.C. rally by NCPA spotlights key pharmacy bills
May 10th, 2012
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association capped off its three-day Legislative Conference with a Capitol Hill rally in which pharmacists and lawmakers advocated for bills aimed at preserving pharmacy choice for patients.
NCPA said members of Congress speaking at the rally, held Wednesday, included Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.), sponsor of the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act (S. 1058); Rep. Tom Marino (R., Pa.), sponsor of the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act (H.R. 1946); Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.), sponsor of the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act (H.R. 1936); and Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), Rep. Judy Chu (D., Calif.) and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D., Texas).
With the lawmakers at the event were NCPA chief executive officer B. Douglas Hoey, Wolkar Drug owner Brian Caswell and Grubbs Care Pharmacy owner Michael Kim.
"Independent community pharmacists offer vital health care services to millions of patients across America that could be compromised without passage of S. 1058, H.R. 1946 and H.R. 1936," Hoey stated. "These commonsense, bipartisan bills will rein in some of the most egregious behavior of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), help level contract negotiations between PBMs and pharmacies, and ensure seniors can continue receiving essential diabetes testing supplies and face-to-face counseling from their local pharmacies."
During the prior two days, Legislative Conference attendees heard from a plethora of congressional and Obama administration officials through speeches and panel discussions. Addressing the conference were Reps. Dave Camp (R., Mich.), Frank Pallone (D., N.J.) and Aaron Schock (R-IL) as well as Sens. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.), Al Franken (D., Minn.) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio). Other speakers included Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator and director, Center for Medicare, for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Col. George Jones, deputy chief, pharmaceutical operations directorate, for TRICARE Management Activity.
In addition, NCPA said, there were panels on the Federal Trade Commission's PBM-related decisions, efforts to battle pharmacy crimes and the challenges facing long-term care providers. Another highlight was a media briefing with NCPA's leadership team and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), who is co-chair of the Community Pharmacy Caucus.
"The Legislative Conference certainly achieved its goal of providing our members an opportunity to both hear from and advocate with members of Congress," Hoey added. "They know the best way to address the questionable business practices of the PBM industry is through grassroots activism in support of pro-patient reforms."