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Pharmacy makes its mark on Capitol Hill
March 15th, 2013
WASHINGTON – About 300 pharmacists, pharmacy executives, pharmacy students and other pharmacy advocates representing 41,000 chain pharmacies from 38 states converged on Washington, D.C., this week for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' annual RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill lobbying drive.
NACDS said that the pharmacy advocates held more than 400 meetings with U.S. senators and representatives, with 89% of meetings conducted with lawmakers who serve on congressional committees with jurisdiction on health care issues.
Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of NACDS, also announced a campaign within the NACDS RxImpact program to encourage members of Congress to get a firsthand look at pharmacies' role in health care delivery by participating in a pharmacy tour in their districts and sales.
During the RxImpact Welcome Dinner, Anderson noted that lawmakers went on 52 pharmacy tours for the 2012 NACDS RxImpact Pharmacy Tour Program. He also cited opinion research showing that the more patients and policymakers learn about pharmacy services, the more they like them.
"Pharmacies help patients use medicines safely and stay healthy; innovative pharmacy services do even more to improve patient health and quality of life; pharmacists are extremely valued by those in greatest need; and pharmacy services improve health care affordability,” Anderson said at the Welcome Dinner on Wednesday evening.
Also to support the pharmacy tour campaign, NACDS said it plans a dual marketing initiative to boost awareness among NACDS members of the importance of hosting pharmacy tours for lawmakers and to raise awareness among legislators of the importance of accepting these invitations.
Speakers for this year's RxImpact Day program included Chuck Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent, who addressed attendees during the Welcome Dinner by providing insights on politics and policy in Washington.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) was the keynote speaker at the Breakfast Briefing on Wednesday and received the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award for his commitment to community pharmacy. A freshman senator, Murphy serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which has jurisdiction over key pharmacy issues.
NACDS, too, recognized a pharmacy student for his work to raise awareness of community pharmacy. Steve Soman, a final-year student at St. John's University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, was announced as the winner of the NACDS RxImpact "U" Award.
Soman led a petition through the White House's "We the People" petition program to recognize pharmacists as health care providers. Through a vast social media campaign, the petition gained 25,000 signatures in just 13 days — well ahead of the program's requirement — and will now be reviewed by a member of the administration's policy team, NACDS said.