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.

New Congress; new opportunities | NCPA Executive Update | November 9, 2018

by NCPA | Nov 09, 2018

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

Midterm mayhem has come and gone, and the world is still turning. (Best of all, the nonstop ads are behind us.) Several years ago, I met with a newly elected member of Congress. It was still December and he hadn't even been sworn in to start his first term in the House yet, and the No. 1 thing he wanted to talk about was getting re-elected! That's really looking ahead. Here at NCPA, we're looking ahead but not looking past working with the 116th Congress on our priority issues. Some of the players in Congress have changed, but our focus remains the same.

In exit polling, voters overwhelmingly listed health care as their No. 1 voting issue, far ahead of the economy and immigration. So, the incoming Congress has its marching orders — health care is a priority, and that includes the costs of prescription drugs, Medicare, preexisting conditions coverage, and more. When it comes to the cost of prescription drugs, there is only one health care provider with the trifecta of clinical expertise about prescription medications, knowledge about the cost of the medication, and a care connection with their patient — the pharmacist. Make sure your representatives know you have that unique combination to lower prescription drug costs, you want to help, and you need their support on pharmacy-patient friendly legislation.

We're fortunate to have community pharmacy champions in Congress who earned our NCPA PAC support, many of whom were victorious on Election Day. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) won very tough races with help from the NCPA PAC. Your contributions to our PAC help us support these worthy candidates who champion independent pharmacy.

Elections and the turnover that goes with it give us an opportunity to make new champions, and your support is vital in helping us do so. The new Congress won't officially start until January, but it is not too early to reach out and introduce yourself. These newly elected lawmakers are well aware that health care costs are top of mind with voters. Chances are they'll welcome a time to connect with a professional who plays a pivotal role in the health care space. Start with a congratulatory note. You might include one of the downloadable state-specific community pharmacy impact sheets NCPA has created to show the economic impact of independent pharmacy. (They probably have no idea!) We can even provide one for your congressional district — just email Lamar Gillespie for details.

For maximum impact, invite your legislators to visit your pharmacy TODAY. Don't wait — do it while that exit polling is fresh in their minds. NCPA offers a wealth of resources to make your pharmacy visit a success. If you're not sure where to start, email Michael Rule or call him at 703-838-2671 for tips on arranging a visit. When a legislator meets your staff, tours your pharmacy, and hears your story, it makes an impression that an email or tweet can't come close to.

Maybe you don't have a new member of Congress. Still, now's the time to reach out – offer congratulations on re-election and extend an invitation for a pharmacy visit. Again, voters have spoken loud and clear. They've said that health care is their top issue, and you can take it to the bank that PBMs are setting up their own meetings with lawmakers to convince them that they are the key to lowering prescription costs. You know better, but your representative might not. Show them examples of how you help patients navigate the complex prescription drug pricing system to make their prescriptions as affordable as possible.

Help NCPA start creating new champions on Capitol Hill and enjoy a break from all those commercials. But remember — they'll start up again before you know it. Election Day 2020 is just 726 days away — and we'll be ready.

Doug Hoey