Sens. Tester, Moran, pharmacy groups gather to discuss role of pharmacists in rural America


WASHINGTON — During a briefing held for the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus, two senators and two pharmacy groups emphasized how pharmacists located in rural areas of the United States are playing an increasingly important role in delivering health care to their patients.

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., joined the American Pharmacists Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association to discuss how 1,800 independent community pharmacies operate as the only retail pharmacy within their rural community and serve 86% of rural Americans who reside within a 10-mile radius. During the briefing, Eric Beyer, owner Frenchtown Drug, an independent pharmacy in Frenchtown, Mont., spoke to the Caucus on what it means to be a rural community pharmacist.

"Community pharmacies keep rural Montana strong and healthy by providing life-saving medicine, consultations and medical supplies," Tester said. "Today's event let us know what's working and what needs to improve so we can take smart, responsible measures to ensure better access to affordable health care."

Meanwhile, Brian Caswell, a community pharmacist with Wolkar Drug in Baxter Springs, Kan., also addressed the gathering by delivering three main points that aimed to illustrate how community pharmacists improve health care in often-underserved rural areas.

"Community pharmacists are a vital part of our nation's healthcare delivery system, and in many Kansas communities the local pharmacist is a patient's most direct link to health care," Moran said. "Access to medications, healthcare supplies and the counsel pharmacists provide is very important to the health and well-being of every American. Today’s briefing provided valuable information to Senators as we work to ensure all Americans have better access to affordable health care."

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