Pharmacy leaders flock to Capitol for second NACDS RxIMPACT Day

WASHINGTON The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and its members are staging a two-day, full-court press on Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday as they take their case for pharmacy’s critical role in a revamped healthcare system directly to Congress.

The Second Annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day has brought 250 pharmacy leaders to the nation’s capitol for an intense lobbying effort with members of Congress. The goal, noted NACDS: to deliver “a powerful message about the link between pharmacy services and the cost savings and health improvements that result when patients take their medications as prescribed.”

A dramatic jump in the number of attendees has fueled momentum for the event. The number of attendees representing community pharmacy is up 67% from last year, NACDS reports, with a 33% increase in the number of states represented [36, compared with 27 states in 2009]. A total of 25 state pharmacy associations are also represented at this year’s RxIMPACT Day, compared with 10 last year and the number of pharmacy school representatives descending on Capitol Hill has grown from just two in 2009 to 16 this year.

“Last year, NACDS made a strong statement with this event that pharmacy is committed to telling its story as the face of neighborhood health care, and that pharmacy is determined to do what it takes to deserve victories in the public policy arena,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “The success stories of those who pioneered the event in 2009, combined with additional victories for the NACDS pro-patient, pro-pharmacy agenda, have generated tremendous enthusiasm for this program in 2010.”

Participants in the event are reminding congressional representatives of “pharmacy’s ability to help reduce the estimated $290 billion in annual costs that result from failure to take medications as prescribed,” according to the organization. Pharmacy advocates are urging also lawmakers to support policies that advance and standardize pharmacists’ delivery of medication therapy management services to patients – and establish compensation standards for those services.

Also on the lobbying wish list: a legislative remedy to the Medicaid average manufacturer price [AMP] model for prescription payments, which pharmacists have long argued would force some pharmacies out of business or at least out of the business of serving Medicaid patients, thus jeopardizing patients’ access to pharmacies. Pharmacy representatives also are urging lawmakers to overturn policies and proposals that stymie their ability to sell vaccines and durable medical equipment such as diabetes testing supplies at neighborhood pharmacies.

The RxIMPACT event concludes March 11. In addition to the efforts of those participating in person, NACDS is conducting a “Virtual Hill Day” through which pharmacy advocates are contacting their elected officials via e-mail and mail.

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