NCPA Forms New Center to Unite Advocacy Efforts on Behalf of Community Pharmacists, Patients


John Coster Welcomed Back as Center's Leader and Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

Alexandria, Va. - April 20, 2011

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today announced the establishment of the NCPA Advocacy Center, which will bring together all of the association's advocacy functions that represent the interests of neighborhood pharmacists and their patients. NCPA appointed John M. Coster, PhD, RPh, as head of the Center and as Senior Vice President, Government Affairs.

NCPA's Advocacy Center will unite the association's Government Affairs, Grassroots, Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Transparency, Professional Affairs and Public Affairs programs to enhance NCPA advocacy efforts and ensure that they have the maximum impact possible. Leading this new initiative is Coster, who most recently was in charge of Government Affairs for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, and previously served as NCPA's Senior Vice President, Government Affairs during enactment of the landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act.

"We're excited about the synergy NCPA's Advocacy Center will provide on behalf of community pharmacists and their patients," said NCPA President Robert Greenwood, RPh and Waterloo, Iowa pharmacy owner. "Community pharmacists are well-positioned to play an even greater role in America's health care system through expert medication counseling, improving patient medication adherence and other cost-saving services. I look forward to seeing this team successfully take that case to policymakers, private and public sector health plans, pharmacy stakeholders and patients."

"As a pharmacist, Capitol Hill veteran and proven advocate for pharmacies and patients, John Coster is ideally suited to lead both this effort and NCPA's Government Affairs Department," said NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "From implementation of the health care law to state budget shortfalls, there is no shortage of challenges facing community pharmacy. But NCPA members and partners can rest assured that the interests of neighborhood pharmacists and their patients are well represented by John and the entire Advocacy Center team."

In the past, Coster served as the Rite Aid Corporation's vice president of federal affairs and public policy and was vice president of policy and programs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. He has also worked for former Senator David Pryor (D-Ark.) on the staff of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Coster received his BS in Pharmacy from St. John's University in New York, and has a Masters and PhD in Policy Sciences with a concentration in health from the University of Maryland Graduate School. He has worked in a community pharmacy and is a licensed pharmacist in New York, Maryland and Virginia.

Key parts of the NCPA Advocacy Center include its PBM Transparency Initiative and Long-Term Care (LTC) Division, both started in 2010. Through the PBM Transparency Initiative, NCPA will work with public and private health plan sponsors to help them get maximum value out of their prescription drug dollars, while improving health outcomes and preserving patients' choice of pharmacy. The NCPA LTC Division government affairs efforts will reside in the Center to advocate for independent community pharmacies providing long-term care services.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

Ask Your Family Pharmacist TM