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APhA CEO Blog

Pitching pharmacists’ value as providers in the face of a major focus on drug pricing

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May 22, 2017

What an interesting week! 

Last week, APhA Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Practice and Government Affairs Stacie Maass and I joined a small group for a meeting with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. He wanted our input on how to address high drug prices. We know that pharmacists are not the cause of high drug prices for consumers and taxpayers, so we focused our comments on how our government can achieve full value for the medicines Americans receive. Clearly, pharmacists can have a major impact on health care costs, if “measured” for improvements in overall health care spending, rather than just drug costs. 

APhA staffers and I met with CMS officials who are focused on—you guessed it—high drug prices. 

Also, the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition steering committee folks met with a senior congressional leader to discuss our provider status bills and high drug prices. 

In all cases, we collectively make the points that we are capable providers in an incapable system, that we are trained interprofessionally, and that America needs us on their health care team. The value of pharmaceuticals and other treatment modalities is recognized when they are appropriately selected and correctly utilized to achieve optimal outcomes. We can all be very proud of the work we’ve done and the support of America’s pharmacists in providing good care and being politically active. 

While we know that lots of folks are behind us, we also know there will be headwind. We need your help to push through it. We need numbers! As I’ve described multiple times, this is a “C’mon, man!” moment in health care and for all the pharmacists reading this. Of course we need to be on the team!  We recognize the concerns raised with the cost of medications, but we also recognize the value of engaging pharmacists as the medication use experts.

In the last Congress, we got nearly 70% of the House chamber to cosponsor H.R. 592. This year, while it’s good, we’re only at 170. And in the Senate, we had over 50%. This year, we’re at 39, but we want MORE than the majority of U.S. representatives and U.S. senators  to cosponsor H.R. 592/S. 109. We know we can do it, because we did it in the last Congress.

Now for my “ask” of you.  It’s not a new one, but in the face of growing momentum as well as likely opposition, we need NUMBERS if we are to get our bills moved! Go NOW to www.pharmacistsprovidecare.com. Click on “Take Action!” Scroll down and enter your information to write at least three letters, including two to your senators and one to your Member of Congress.  Write your letters. Call. Share your stories of how your patient care services help patients. 

C’mon, man! We need numbers! Write three letters!  

 

Updated May 24, 2017