Former HHS Secretaries to Discuss Health Care Reform at 2010 NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition

Alexandria, VA - June 22, 2010

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today announced the speakers for its Second General Session and Government Affairs Forum to be held during its 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, October 23-27, 2010. 

The session, scheduled for the morning of October 25th, will feature former U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretaries, Michael O. Leavitt and Donna Shalala. They will discuss health care reform and provide an insider's view as the former leaders of the department where some of the most important health care reform implementation decisions will be made. 

"With the government becoming the largest purchaser of health care/pharmacy services, we think there is no one better to offer the roadmap for what to expect during health care reform implementation than these two former heads of HHS," said NCPA President and Arlington, TX pharmacy owner Joseph H. Harmison, PD. 

In four years at HHS, Leavitt is credited for successfully implementing the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. At that time he noted, "I've visited with and heard from pharmacists all over the country. They have been selfless, compassionate, and committed to service. I've met pharmacists throughout the country who provided three-to-five day supplies of medicines to beneficiaries without payment—and often no expectation of one—until things could be straightened out." Leavitt also created national strategies and implemented plans for several major components of the health care system including: health information systems, personalized medicine, pandemic preparedness and medical emergency response. As secretary he led a government-wide effort to devise and implement a new strategy on the safety of imported products, opened FDA offices globally and negotiated historic agreements in China, India, Latin America and Europe. 

In 1993, President Clinton appointed Shalala U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years, becoming the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. As HHS Secretary, she directed the welfare reform process, made health insurance available to an estimated 3.3 million children through the approval of all State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in history, led major reforms of the FDA's drug approval process and food safety system, revitalized the National Institutes of Health, and directed a major management and policy reform of Medicare. At the end of her tenure as HHS Secretary, The Washington Post described her as "one of the most successful government managers of modern times." In 2007, President George W. Bush handpicked Shalala to co-chair with Senator Bob Dole the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, to evaluate how wounded service members transition from active duty to civilian society. 

The NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition will present the latest in pharmacy education, case studies, and real world, business-impacting information for the independent community pharmacy industry. The four-day convention will feature nearly 20 hours of continuing education credits on topics including marketing, merchandising, technology and profitable niches including long-term care, immunizations, compounding, and more. New formats this year will integrate the popular and topical government affairs forum into the Second General Session and add the fun-filled NCPA Foundation Silent Auction to the opening night celebration. New educational programming includes sessions on 340B, diabetes education reimbursement and the return of the popular all-day technology seminar. 

For more information and to register, visit the NCPA website

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at

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