Congressmen go to bat for pharmacy

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(*Note: Segment begins at 00:21 of clip. Video courtesy of C-Span.)

Earlier this week, several congressman voice their support for the pharmacy profession on the floor of the House of Representatives, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) reported.

Speaking during an hour-long Special Order on pharmacy issues, Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter (R., Ga.) — the only pharmacist in Congress — stressed the need for pharmacists to be recognized as health care providers. Also giving their views during the Special Order on Tuesday evening were Reps. Doug Collins (R., Ga.), Dave Loebsack (D., Iowa), and Austin Scott (R., Ga.).

APhA said Carter noted that pharmacists go well beyond the dispensing of prescriptions in delivering care by playing a key role on a patient’s health care team and in the community. He explained that Rep. Brett Guthrie’s (R., Ky.) bill, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R 592/S. 314), would give Medicare beneficiaries access to the breadth of clinical services that pharmacists can provide under their education, training and license, within state scope of practice laws.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals out there,” Carter said.

Collins discussed the lack of access and cost of care problems under today’s health care system and called for a hearing on the pharmacy provider status bill and other legislation supporting patient safety and advocacy. APhA noted that a majority of Congress has backed this initiative, with 293 House members and 50 senators backing the legislation.

“Pharmacists across the country serve as the first line, really, of health care services for many patients, especially in small towns in Iowa and around the country,” Loebsack said. “People count on pharmacists’ training and expertise to stay healthy and informed and maybe, most importantly, to stay out of urgent care centers and hospitals, something we all want to see happen. I am proud to stand here today with my colleagues to recognize the quality, affordable and personal care that pharmacists provide every day.”

Carter will be partnering with the APhA for the 4th Annual Capitol Hill Health Fair on Sept. 22 as part of the association’s advocacy and community outreach efforts in advance of American Pharmacists Month. Flu shots and health screenings — including bone density, glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, and body composition will be available to members of Congress, staff, and the general public in the Rayburn Foyer in the Rayburn House Office Building from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

APhA is partnering with the Office of Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and Walgreens.


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