PHARMACY

Grassroots advocacy resource expands its presence in healthcare game

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT With health reform standing at a crossroad, the pharmacy industry no doubt is keeping full-court press on lawmakers during this crucial time as clearly evidenced by the second annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill held on March 11.

(THE NEWS: Pharmacy leaders flock to Capitol for second NACDS RxIMPACT Day. For the full story, click here)

NACDS RxIMPACT was launched in February 2009 as a grassroots advocacy resource for NACDS members, but also seeks to engage pharmacy students and other pharmacy advocates. Serving as a cornerstone of the advocacy program: NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.

Last year more than 150 pharmacy advocates from nearly 30 states, armed with personal stories about the critical role pharmacy plays in improving patient care and keeping healthcare costs down, conducted meetings with key lawmakers.

Well, this year the voice of pharmacy was even more pronounced and the strength of the message was bolstered by increased participation in the event.

  • 67% increase in attendees (from 150 to 250)
  • 33% increase in states represented (from 27 to 36)
  • 150% increase in state pharmacy associations (from 10 to 25)
  • 700% increase in pharmacy schools represented (from 2 to 16)

And while the more than 220 in-person Congressional meetings have concluded, opportunities still remain for pharmacy advocates to contact their members of Congress through NACDS’ "Virtual Hill Day." In fact, NACDS has stated that nearly 1,000 individuals already have written to their legislators this week through NACDS’ online system. Last year, NACDS sent thousands of letters through this effort.

Another important note to this year’s event was the increased focus on improving medication adherence. Improving medication adherence is a major focus for the industry today as further evidenced by the RxIMPACT event whereby participants emphasized pharmacy’s ability to help reduce the estimated $290 billion in annual costs that result from failure to take medications as prescribed.

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PHARMACY

Kinney Drugs offering free glucose testing to customers

BY Alaric DeArment

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. Kinney Drugs will offer free glucose testing at its stores in Vermont under a partnership with six local hospitals, the regional retail pharmacy chain announced Thursday.

All of Kinney’s stores in Vermont will have a diabetes clinic on March 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The clinic includes a test to determine whether customers are at risk, a finger-stick blood glucose test and diabetes education. Customers also will receive free samples and a “How to Live Well with Diabetes” booklet from the Vermont Health Department.

“We are very grateful for the relationship we have with our local community health agencies,” Kinney marketing manager Penny Perrone-Gray said. “Combined with their expertise in the diabetes field and our pharmacists’ medication knowledge, the program will be very informational to those who may be at risk of developing diabetes.”

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Berry awarded NACDS Congressional Leadership Award

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON During the National Association of Chain Drug Stores 2nd Annual RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, NACDS honored Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., with the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award for his strong commitment and lifetime support of pharmacy.

As the only licensed pharmacist in the United States Congress, Rep. Berry has been a champion for pharmacy’s healthcare priorities, from Medicaid average manufacturer price reform to preserving seniors’ access to durable medical equipment such as diabetes testing supplies from neighborhood pharmacies, NACDS said Thursday.

“As over 250 pharmacy advocates descend on Washington, D.C., for RxIMPACT Day to meet with their respective Members of Congress to advance pharmacy’s priorities, it is only fitting we recognize one of our most vocal advocates in Congress –– Representative Marion Berry,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “It is an honor to spotlight one of pharmacy’s true allies on Capitol Hill. Rep. Berry’s commitment, leadership and voice will be missed by pharmacy and by all who are concerned about healthcare delivery.”

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