Community Pharmacy 101 for Congress

By John Norton

One of the pillars of NCPA’s advocacy efforts is educating the U.S Congress. We want to dispel the antiquated notion that all independent community pharmacists do is count and dispense pills.

We have conducted many pharmacy visits with members of Congress, or their appointed staffers, to help them better grasp the wide array of patient-focused niche services that simply may not be provided at a large chain, supermarket or mass merchant pharmacy. Those visits are also critical to explaining the challenges independent community pharmacies and their patients face that can be alleviated through legislative solutions. But, like our members providing same-day, home medication delivery, when they can’t come to an independent pharmacy,  we’ll come to them.

On February 10th in the Cannon House Office, just a few feet from the U.S. Capitol, NCPA held a briefing for Congressional staff. John Coster, PhD, RPh, NCPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, and Keith Hodges, RPh, NCPA Executive Committee member and owner of Gloucester Pharmacy, Gloucester, Virginia, each gave multimedia presentations. John focused on independent community pharmacists’ role in the marketplace and the basic challenges they face. Keith followed up with a more in-depth perspective on what an owner does for their community and how they differentiate themselves from the competition.

It all drove home the common NCPA refrain that independent community pharmacists are accessible medication experts who can make a real difference in patient outcomes, while driving down health costs. Instead of recapping everything in painstaking detail, I wanted to provide a recording of the presentation and copies of the slides that were used by John and Keith.  It’s a helpful introduction for anyone who isn’t familiar with independent community pharmacies and the patient-centric services that they provide.

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