WASHINGTON, D.C. — Illustrating the vital role of community pharmacy in healthcare delivery, 300 community pharmacists, pharmacy executives, pharmacy students and other pharmacy advocates representing 41,000 chain pharmacies from 38 states took to Capitol Hill this week, donning their white coats for the 5th Annual NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill.
These community pharmacy advocates conducted more than 400 meetings with U.S. senators and representatives. Eighty-nine percent of these meetings were conducted with members of Congress who serve on Congressional committees with jurisdiction on healthcare issues, NACDS stated.
Urging members of Congress to gain a first-person perspective on the role of pharmacies in patient care, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson announced a focused campaign within the NACDS RxImpact program to raise awareness of the importance of participating in a pharmacy tour in their districts and states.
To further illustrate how community pharmacy can — and is — making a difference and filling gaps in access and affordability for patients, payers, Drug Store News has compiled the RxIMPACT special report.
During the Welcome Dinner Wednesday evening, Anderson highlighted the success of the NACDS RxImpact Pharmacy Tour program in 2012 with 52 pharmacy tours for members of Congress, and reinforced the importance for new lawmakers in the new Congress to understand the facts about pharmacy.
“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 healthcare affordability,” Anderson said during his remarks before pharmacy advocates at the Welcome Dinner.
Further supporting this increased pharmacy tour effort, NACDS stated that it will launch a dual marketing effort to raise awareness among NACDS members of the importance of hosting pharmacy tours for members of Congress, and to raise awareness among legislators of the importance of accepting these invitations.
This year’s NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill program also included prominent speakers. Chuck Todd, NBC chief White House correspondent addressed attendees during the Welcome Dinner, providing insights on politics and policy in Washington. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., served as the keynote speaker at the Breakfast Briefing this morning, and received the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award for his commitment to community pharmacy. Murphy serves on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which has jurisdiction over key pharmacy issues.
As part of its continued efforts to recognize grassroots efforts of the future generations of pharmacy, NACDS 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, which recognizes pharmacy students for their high-level engagement in the policymaking process through grassroots action.
Soman spearheaded a petition through the White House’s “We the People” petition program to recognize pharmacists as healthcare providers. The petition quickly made its way around the pharmacy community nationwide. Utilizing a vast social media campaign, in just 13 days the petition garnered 25,000 signatures — well ahead of the program’s requirement — and will now be reviewed by a member of the Administration’s policy team, NACDS stated.
Summarizing the NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill — and urging continued action in the future — Anderson stated, “We have created a movement for greater recognition … more sincere appreciation … and bolder action for pharmacy patient care in public policy.”