NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every Friday.

Independent Pharmacies: Made in America | NCPA Executive Update | July 21, 2017

by NCPA | Jul 21, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

This week the White House promoted Made in America Week, highlighting the different products made in our great country. I can't think of anything that's more "Made in America" than independently owned pharmacies and the contributions they make to their communities.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Communities that have an independent pharmacy are better communities for it. Not only because of the hassle-free access to a well-qualified health care professional they provide, and not only because of the financial and emotional investment they have in the people of their communities, but also because of the economic impact they have. Over 250,000 Americans are directly employed by independent pharmacies, and those people contribute to jobs for hundreds of thousands more Americans in communities big and small throughout the country.

According to the NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, the collective effect of the more than 22,000 community pharmacies in the United States is more than $80 billion. Those dollars are Made in America and their impact is felt in communities across the country.

What about the impact on American communities outside of the pharmacy walls? A few years ago, the NCPA Community Pharmacy Impact Census (the 2017 Census is available for you to take now) began looking at the civic contributions of independently owned pharmacies. We found that two-thirds of independent pharmacies provide monetary support to five or more community organizations or events, such as youth sports, schools, churches, synagogues, senior centers, fairs and festivals. That support translates to more than $3,000 per pharmacy, or over $60 million, being reinvested in American communities. I'm not sure what is more American than that.

Of course, not all things Made in America turn out to be good things for U.S. citizens. The PBMs' role as judge, jury, and executioner is also Made in America. No other country puts PBMs in such a dominant role. A couple of weeks ago I retweeted an NCPA infographic showing the market dominance of the "Big 3" PBMs and added the message: PBMs control U.S. drug coverage of more Americans than France, U.K., Canada & Germany combined yet U.S. prescriptions are highest in world! As patriotic as I am, the current PBM business model is a "Made in America" product that has evolved from something helpful to something that puts patient physical and economic health at risk. The patient becomes collateral damage for the gain of PBM profits.

As the Senate continues (or not) its debate about what to do with the ACA (Obamacare), our U.S. health system is also very uniquely American in that the U.S. spends nearly twice as much on health care than our peer countries across the world. In return, we are world leaders in innovation for the treatment of advanced diseases but just mediocre when it comes to disease prevention and caring for those with chronic diseases. One Made in America solution to those Made in America problems is appropriately used prescription medications managed by pharmacists.

On the other hand, it's Made in America ingenuity that has allowed community pharmacies to continue to survive and grow despite so many cards in the deck stacked against them. If you haven't already read it, be sure to look at another Made in America product, July's America's Pharmacist®, titled "The Idea Issue." There are 64 great ways to advance your pharmacy practice now. Those ideas were generated by pharmacy owners across the land. Ideas like those and others like them will be featured at NCPA's Annual Convention in October which, as it does every year, kicks off with the "Star-Spangled Banner." Made in America for sure.

Doug Hoey

P.S. I mentioned our annual census above, and I wanted to add this reminder: When you complete the census, you're telling NCPA what kinds of opportunities and communications you want us to point your way. It's worth 8 or 9 minutes of your time to complete the census—I promise!