ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Later this month, hundreds of community pharmacists will head to Washington, D.C., to advocate for independent pharmacy and their patients at the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 2016 Congressional Pharmacy Summit.
The two-day event, formerly known as the NCPA Legislative Conference, will feature community pharmacy and patient advocate Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R.,Wash.) as the featured speaker for the opening lunch on May 24 at the Doubletree by Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, Va. The NCPA Congressional Summit concludes on May 25 with pharmacist visits on Capitol Hill.
“From crippling DIR fees to low or slow reimbursement rates from pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) corporations that leave pharmacy owners struggling to provide patients the access to medication and care they need and want, the time is now to take a stand and protect patient access to community pharmacies — often the sole health provider in many communities,” NCPA president Bradley Arthur said in a statement.
“Making progress on Capitol Hill is not like ‘House of Cards’ or the ‘West Wing.’ What it really takes is a strong message from concerned citizens to affect change,” added Arthur, co-owner of Black Rock Pharmacy and Brighton-Eggert Pharmacy in Buffalo, N.Y. “I strongly urge community pharmacists from across the country to join me at the Congressional Pharmacy Summit as we advocate for bipartisan measures to support small-business pharmacies and patient access to their pharmacy of choice.”
Stephen Hayes, senior writer at The Weekly Standard and a Fox News contributor, will keynote the NCPA Sal D’Angelo PAC Breakfast on May 25.
NCPA said that members’ top legislative priorities include federal and state MAC reform legislation to ease the delays in generic drug reimbursement updates, allowing any willing pharmacy to participate in Medicare Part D preferred networks, and pharmacist provider status legislation.
Also at the summit, pharmacists can earn more than four hours of continuing education credits. The event will include a legislative briefing on issues affecting community pharmacy; a workshop on how to communicate with elected officials, led by congressional specialist Judy Schneider of the Congressional Research Service; and updates on DIR fees and how they are being used in today’s Medicare Part D and commercial marketplaces.