Pharmacy’s role in health reform


WASHINGTON “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” That dictum, attributed to Ben Franklin, could apply to the increasingly urgent campaign by a wide-ranging assortment of pharmacy and retail advocacy groups to speak with one voice in policymaking circles. In the midst of an economic crisis, a dysfunctional healthcare system in dire need of new cost-saving solutions and a revolution in technology and communications, pharmacy leaders from every practice setting are acutely aware of the need for a united front.


That goes double when making pharmacy’s case for a larger and fully integrated role in the healthcare system of the future. When the leaders of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and other organizations appeal to lawmakers in Congress amid debates about health reform and health information technology, they’re also making their case in the court of public opinion.


Dealing with congressional staffers on Capitol Hill is just as challenging. Given the complexity of such issues as fair pharmacy reimbursement, patient privacy, health IT, medication therapy management and coordination of care, it’s essential that the disparate and sometimes competing stakeholders that represent all aspects of pharmacy put aside their differences and “hang together.” 


“The future direction of the industry hinges on the willingness of NACDS members to engage in the public policy debates of the day, since affecting our short- and long-term future is the primary reason we all choose to participate in associations like this one,” said NACDS chairman and Katz Group North America CEO Andy Giancamilli at the recent NACDS Regional Chain Conference. “But now we need even more members to engage in powering the NACDS advocacy engine.”


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