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NCPA applauds community pharmacy bill
May 17th, 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association is endorsing the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2011, which it said would result in a more competitive market for the delivery of pharmacy services.
NCPA said Tuesday that the bill (H.R. 1839), introduced by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.), would give independent pharmacies more leverage in negotiating with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
Specifically, NCPA explained, the legislation would enable independent pharmacies to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of insurance contracts to create plan designs that "better protect the patient's choice of pharmacy and are fairer to pharmacy providers."
Co-sponsors of the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2011 include Reps. Robert Aderholt (R., Ala.), Tammy Baldwin (D., Wisc.), Judy Chu (D., Calif.), Ruben Hinojosa (D., Texas), Walter Jones (R., N.C.), Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.), Ron Paul (R., Texas) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D., Calif.), according to NCPA.
"Patients rely on independent community pharmacists for expert medication and other cost-saving health services. This bipartisan legislation will help these local pharmacists and small business owners by doing two critical things. First, it levels the playing field for independent community pharmacies negotiating contracts with billion-dollar corporations. Second, it allows millions of Americans to enjoy the fruits of a more competitive marketplace and helps preserve their access to independent community pharmacies," B. Douglas Hoey, executive vice president and chief executive officer of NCPA, said in a statement.
"We strongly commend Rep. Weiner for introducing this bipartisan legislation, and we urge his colleagues to support it," Hoey added.
In other news, NCPA on Monday commended NBC-TV's "The Today Show" for highlighting the need for proper drug disposal and medication storage.
The morning television news show spotlighted the issue in the segment "What to Toss, What to Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet" with Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who suggested that patients seeking a disposal option for their expired, unused or unwanted drugs should consider contacting a local pharmacist.
NCPA noted that more than 1,300 community pharmacies nationwide are participating in the voluntary Dispose My Meds program, offering take-back programs for consumers to properly dispose medications.
"Community pharmacists are the health care professionals advising patients before medications are used and stand ready to assist patients if their medications go unused or expired," stated Robert Greenwood, president of NCPA. "We highly encourage patients to talk with their community pharmacists about the best way to store and dispose of medicine no longer needed."
According to NCPA, previous surveys — including one by Zero Waste Washington — have found that nearly three out of four patients said that they would be willing to return medications to a pharmacy, and 84% said that a local pharmacy would be the most convenient location for doing so, compared with going to a special collection event or local police department.
The "Today Show" segment with Dr. Snyderman also reminded viewers to store their medications safely and noted that patients can talk to their pharmacist about safe ways to do so. A new campaign called Safeguard My Meds offers tools and resources to help consumers keep medicines safe, NCPA said.