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Senate forms Community Pharmacy Caucus
June 29th, 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has endorsed the efforts of Sens. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.) and Jon Tester (D., Mont.) in creating the first-ever Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus.
NCPA said Wednesday that the Senate caucus will complement the House of Representatives' Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus, founded in 2007 and now co-chaired by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) and Mike Ross (D., Ark.) and including 30 House members.
The purpose of the Senate caucus, NCPA explained, is to advocate for community pharmacy issues while serving as a "clearinghouse of ideas and information" for senators, their staff and other parties about the central role pharmacies play in the nation's health care delivery system.
"Sens. Jerry Moran and Jon Tester are terrific leaders for the inaugural Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus," NCPA executive vice president and chief executive officer B. Douglas Hoey said in a statement. "They have long advocated commonsense solutions for the challenges facing community pharmacists and their patients. These have included increasing patient choice and reducing wasteful pharmaceutical spending by reforming pharmacy benefit management business practices and preserving patient access to durable medical equipment and in-person counseling on its proper use. Indeed, greater utilization of clinically trained community pharmacists in federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid can produce improvements in all metrics of success."
Moran was one of the original founders of the Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus in 2007 when he was a member of the House, NCPA noted. He was the lead sponsor of several pieces of legislation in the House, including the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2009 and legislation that provided an accreditation exemption for small pharmacies supplying durable medical equipment.
"I am proud to help found the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus. Community pharmacists are vital to our health care delivery system," stated Moran. "In many Kansas communities and throughout the country, the local pharmacist is a patient's most direct link to health care. The access to medications, health care supplies and counsel pharmacists provide matters greatly to the health and well-being of every American. This caucus will provide valuable resources to senators as we work to see that all Americans have better access to affordable health care."
The association said Tester has been a strong supporter of community pharmacy since his election to the Senate in 2006. He was the lead sponsor of legislation that exempted many small pharmacies from burdensome regulations when supplying patients with diabetic test supplies.
"Community pharmacies provide essential services for Montana's rural communities," Tester commented. "These small businesses are a critical part of what keeps rural America strong and healthy. If folks in rural America don't have access to life-saving medicine and medical supplies, rural America will disappear. That's why I'm proud to champion Montana's community pharmacies and the good-paying jobs they support."
Hoey urged other senators to join the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus, adding that NCPA is "heartened" by the number of House lawmakers who have joined the Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus.
"In supporting their local pharmacies, these lawmakers are also standing up for small businesses that are community pillars and contribute greatly to the local economy by providing jobs and tax revenue," he remarked. "Together this bipartisan, bicameral effort can make our health care system more effective and less expensive."