PHARMACY

Advocates continue lobbying push in wake of NACDS RxImpact Day

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Buoyed by the success of the second annual NACDS RxImpact Day and its continuing aftermath, jubilant leaders of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores already are planning a similar event for next year.

Since the two-day event on Capitol Hill concluded last week, NACDS members and other pharmacy advocates already have sent some 1,500 letters to their federal legislators over the past week, the group announced Tuesday. Those written appeals supplement the more than 220 in-person meetings pharmacy leaders held with lawmakers in Congress during NACDS RxImpact Day.

The grassroots advocacy event was held March 10 and 11. The meetings, NACDS noted, “were strategically arranged to maximize pharmacy’s presence among key healthcare-related congressional committees.”

Participants’ written summaries of their meetings on Capitol Hill continue to arrive at NACDS, so the number of meetings is expected to exceed the 220 face-to-face encounters with lawmakers already reported. But this much already is known:

  • The participants in RxImpact Day –– which included NACDS members, pharmacy students and faculty, state pharmacy associations and other pharmacy advocates –– met with at least 67 Senators and 153 members of the House of Representatives;
  • Meetings occurred with 130 Democrats, 88 Republicans and two Independents;
  • 70% of those members of Congress serving on committees with healthcare jurisdiction saw one or more pharmacy representative;
  • Participants met with 16 of 23 members of the Senate Finance Committee, along with 18 of 23 members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, 43 of 59 members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and 24 of 41 members of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“This has been an amazingly powerful week for pharmacy, for patient care, and for NACDS, and there still is time for the people of pharmacy to participate ‘virtually,’” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “To make a difference for the profession and for the industry, log onto www.RxImpact.org and send a letter to your elected officials to tell your story as the face of neighborhood health care.”

Plans already are underway for the 2011 NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill, which will be held March 9 and 10, 2011, in Washington.

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PHARMACY

Students celebrate Rx Day

BY DSN STAFF

OLYMPIA, Wash. —Students from the schools of pharmacy at the University of Washington, in Seattle, and Washington State University, in Pullman, Wash., converged on the Washington state capitol in Olympia to mark the annual Pharmacy Day on Feb. 9. Students and pharmacists met with state legislators and offered them and their staff free health screenings.

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Health Mart hits critical mass

BY DSN STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO —Chances are good that there’s a Health Mart in your community. Some four years after its reinvention as a cutting-edge, market-savvy pharmacy franchiser by owner McKesson, the hard-driving independent drug store network now operates in all 50 states and comprises one of the largest and fastest-growing pharmacy brands in America. With guidance from McKesson VP and Health Mart president Tim Canning, and a team of experienced marketing and merchandising hands, Health Mart has come a long way from its days as a dormant, 300-store remnant of the old FoxMeyer wholesale drug network purchased by McKesson in the early 1990s.

In January, Health Mart surged past another milestone when Trudell Health Mart Pharmacy in Dearborn, Mich., became the 2,500th independent pharmacy to join the franchise. That marks an 850% jump in store count over the past four years, according to McKesson.

“We joined Health Mart to take advantage of the innovative marketing, operational and patient care programs available. Then we found out we were the 2,500th pharmacy to go blue and green, which is exciting because we just celebrated 80 years of serving the community,” said Trudell owner Tom Fakih.

Among the reasons Trudell joined the franchise, Fakih said, were “new services and programs that help us better care for, educate and inform our patients,” including Health Mart’s recent “Health Across America” campaign to test people for diabetes risk.

To maintain its growth momentum, Health Mart has begun leveraging its national scale and reach. Early this year, the chain launched a national TV ad campaign tied to such major events as the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympic Games and the Academy Awards.

“Being ranked highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, coupled with our growth to 2,500 pharmacies, is a further demonstration of Health Mart’s commitment to the local Health Mart pharmacists,” Canning said.

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