Alexandria, VA - June 17, 2010
As the House and Senate reconcile their respective Wall Street reform bills, the National Community Pharmacists Association is urging lawmakers to include in the final legislation a bipartisan proposal to protect consumers, local pharmacies and other small businesses from exorbitant transaction fees and anti-competitive practices that credit card companies impose.
NCPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs John Coster, RPh, PhD, sent the following letter to U.S. Senators Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) as well as Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.)—respectively the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees:
"On behalf of independent community pharmacies, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) urges you to include section 1079 in the Senate's amendment to H.R. 4173, The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, on credit and debit card interchange reform in the final conference report. Unnecessarily high interchange fees disproportionately impact small businesses and the customers they serve. This amendment had the bipartisan support of 64 Senators, and it provides a common sense approach to addressing the ever increasing fees on credit card transactions and would allow small businesses to remain competitive.
"The Senate provision would simply give the Federal Reserve the authority to develop regulations which would more accurately reflect the cost of processing the transactions. It would also prohibit some of the anti-competitive rules and practices that credit card companies impose on small businesses. For example, many credit card companies prohibit businesses from setting minimum transaction levels. In many cases, it costs a business more in transaction fees than the actual value of the product being purchased.
"In this current economic environment, where many businesses are struggling just to stay afloat, it makes no sense to continue to burden small business with these excessive and unreasonable interchange fees. We respectfully request that you retain section 1079 of the Senate bill in the regulatory reform conference report. NCPA thanks you for your consideration of these very important issues which impact small businesses and consumers alike."
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 www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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