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NACDS makes case for pharmacy

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ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is running newspaper advertisements in selected congressional districts this month.

The ads thanks members of Congress for sponsoring a bill that would let pharmacists provide basic health care services to Medicare patients in underserved areas, and urging passage and enactment of the legislation.

The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 109) would allow Medicare recipients with limited access to health care solutions to receive services — which could include basic health tests, immunizations, tests for flu or strep throat, and help with managing such illnesses as diabetes — from their pharmacists. NACDS says state laws already allow pharmacists to perform these services. But while Medicare will pay for patients to receive such services from nurse practitioners and physician assistants, it will not pay for them to receive them from pharmacists.

Changing that rule would be popular, the NACDS contends in its newspaper ads, citing research it commissioned showing that roughly eight in 10 respondents supported legislation that would allow Medicare patients to obtain from pharmacists various services that respondents were asked about.

The research, conducted by Morning Consult, found that support was equally strong among Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

NACDS’ print ads complement similar radio and digital ads by the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC). NACDS is a steering committee member of PAPCC.

The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act is one component of NACDS’ Access Agenda — a series of public policy solutions that would leverage pharmacies as the face of neighborhood health care. Another way the association promotes that agenda is by taking members of Congress on tours of local pharmacies.

Earlier this month Ritzman Pharmacies hosted U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R., Ohio) for a tour of a Medina, Ohio, pharmacy and a discussion of pharmacy issues.

“These visits are the best way to highlight our work and to seek support on those issues impacting pharmacy,” said Discount Drug Mart government and public affairs director Steve Ferris, who was also involved with the tour.


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