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An Example of Successful Media Outreach

by John Norton | Aug 30, 2017

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With just a few days' notice, NCPA learned that a leading healthcare media outlet, Kaiser Health News, was hosting a Facebook Live event, The Prescription Drug Pricing Pipeline, on Aug. 29. Kaiser Senior Editor Stephanie Stapleton would be conducting a 30-minute interview with Julie Appleby, Kaiser senior correspondent based on questions sent before and during the actual event. Examples of Julie's work can be found here, here, here, here and here).

Since any discussion about the pharmaceutical supply chain needs to include the perspective of independent community pharmacists, I decided to reach out by sharing some of our most informative documents like The PBM Story. In addition, NCPA staff attorney Susan Pilch and I scheduled a telephone briefing with Appleby.

Judging by what transpired during the Facebook Live event, our outreach was successful. A glance at the comments section makes it clear Express Scripts was watching, too. They provided their spin by posting seven comments. While we provided two comments of our own, you could see our arguments were taken seriously. The best example came at about the eight-minute mark where the discussion turned to tensions between independent community pharmacies and PBMs, where among other things, pharmacies are sometimes reimbursed less than their acquisition cost for generic prescription drugs because the drug middlemen doesn't update their pricing lists.

NCPA will continue to share our message whenever the opportunity presents itself. We encourage our members to do the same. If you read an article in your local newspaper that warrants a letter to editor, give us a call—we'll help you draft it. If you have any interaction with a local reporter make sure they know about your business and the challenges you face. Slowly but surely, the voice of independent community pharmacists is being heard in Washington and in state capitals around the country. Let's keep it up.