NCPA bands together with legislators to communicate value of pharmacy

WASHINGTON — More than 350 independent pharmacists will be rallying with legislators in the halls of Congress Wednesday to help communicate the value pharmacists contribute to health care and to advocate for specific legislative initiatives as part of the 2011 Legislative and Government Affairs Conference of the National Community Pharmacists Association.

“The theme this year is more competition, more choice and more access for patients to their community pharmacists,” John Coster, NCPA SVP government affairs, said during a press conference call Tuesday afternoon.

On the agenda: communicating the challenges independents face both as small healthcare providers and small businesses, and advocating for legislation that will make the marketplace more competitive and will field better service providers.

NCPA also will be pitching congressional leaders on joining NCPA’s pharmacy caucus. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., will co-lead the caucus in the House, Coster said. In the Senate, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., will lead the caucus.

“We’ve generally, not to this point, had a caucus in the Senate,” Coster said. “That shows the increasing visibility community pharmacy has on Capitol Hill and the importance that members of Congress place on our role in the healthcare system.”

As for legislation, NCPA is lobbying support for the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act, which will help level the playing field between retail pharmacy and mail-order pharmacy, and the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, which will exempt independent pharmacists from competitive bidding requirements in the sale of diabetes supplies.

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