Community pharmacy leaders routinely host pharmacy tours in their stores throughout the year to help demonstrate firsthand to members of Congress and policy-makers the important interaction pharmacists provide patients every day, and the importance of supporting measures that help promote pharmacy to help expand patient access, improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
Beset by rising costs, a fast-growing elderly population and a critical shortage of primary care doctors, the nation’s health system is desperately in search of ways to lower costs through disease prevention and better access to quality care.
Six years. That’s how long it usually takes for any candidate to earn the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, or PharmD, now required to practice as a licensed pharmacist. In addition, PharmD graduates also must pass state licensure examinations required by state boards of pharmacy in all 50 states.
With health reform and the shift to accountable, evidence-based medicine slowly but surely transforming the nation’s massive but troubled healthcare system, new moves are afoot in both the legislative and executive branches of government that will further elevate the role played by the nation’s 300,000 pharmacists.
The introduction in January of bipartisan legislation that would grant retail pharmacists provider status for Medicare patients in “underserved” communities certainly sounds like a step in the right direction.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has submitted a statement to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health expressing concerns about pharmacy-related budget proposals.