HEALTH

NCPA supports drug disposal bills, makes approval recommendations

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A group representing the nation’s independent pharmacies heralded two pieces of legislation that pertain to the safe disposal of prescription drugs.

The National Community Pharmacists Association announced its support of legislative efforts made by the House of Representatives and the Senate, which passed their respective drug disposal bills Wednesday and last month. NCPA also added that it was “a giant step forward to allow for controlled substances, which had previously been precluded from any disposal programs, to be included.”

The lobbying group did, however, express concern that neither bill passed by the legislative bodies will provide liability protections for participating pharmacies nor adequate funding mechanisms or grant programs to assist in the cost of responsible collection. These concerns were conveyed to the House prior to the vote, NCPA said.

“Independent community pharmacists are uniquely positioned to help Americans get rid of expired and unused prescription drugs,” said Joseph Harmison, NCPA president and pharmacy owner. “That’s why over 1,000 member pharmacies are now engaged in a successful drug disposal programs with Sharps Compliance Inc.”

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Report: San Francisco supervisors OK tobacco sales ban at pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco’s board of supervisors voted for an expansion of the city’s anti-tobacco law, according to published reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that the supervisors gave preliminary approval to a law to expand a law passed in 2008 to ban tobacco sales at drug stores to include all retailers that operate pharmacies, including mass merchandisers and supermarkets.

The original law had attracted opposition from Walgreens and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores on the grounds that it discriminated against drug stores. Supporters of the law asserted that its purpose was to rectify what they saw as the contradictory nature of a healthcare institution, such as a pharmacy selling an unhealthful product.

Asimilar law was enacted in Boston around the same time as the San Francisco law, though the Boston law banned tobacco sales at all retailers that operate pharmacies.

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Study: Independent pharmacies earn high customer satisfaction scores

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Independent pharmacies have garnered the highest customer satisfaction scores among its competitors, according to results of a J.D. Power and Associates study.

The J.D. Power and Associates 2010 national pharmacy study found that Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart and the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy –– networks of independently owned, locally operated pharmacies –– rated at 869, 856 and 851, respectively, on a 1,000 point scale, while patients said they were dissatisfied with publicly traded pharmacy chains and some mail-order pharmacies.

The National Community Pharmacists Association praised the study results, stating that “independent community pharmacies rely on a business model of answering questions and offering advice to ensure medication adherence is maximized.”

“This survey should encourage all patients and health plan sponsors to give independent community pharmacies another look. We offer superlative customer service, and we’re competitive on price,” said Joseph Harmison, NCPA president and pharmacy owner. “It’s also a reminder that policies that deny patients access to independent pharmacies, such as by mandating the use of mail-order pharmacies, not only eliminate choice but also the vital face-to-face interaction with clinically trained pharmacists.”

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