By Stephanie DuBois, Director, Marketing Communications
Sharing personal stories about the impact that so-called “preferred” networks have on their patients and businesses, community pharmacists around the country made their voices heard on social media during the August Congressional recess and in early September. Their powerful pleas helped to push the total number of Congressional supporters for critical pharmacy choice legislation to 74 as of Sept. 19.
Using the hashtag #pharmacychoice, NCPA members described their patients’ frustrating experiences with pharmacy networks that often unfairly exclude community pharmacies. They also communicated with their elected officials and urged them to support pharmacy choice for their patients. The social media campaign was part of a broader nationwide campaign in support of “any willing pharmacy” policies that NCPA launched in early August.
Some examples of the #pharmacychoice posts we saw on Twitter and Facebook over the last several weeks include these stories:
- “Patients are driving 50 – 60 miles to go to a preferred pharmacy and are always waiting on mail order. Wish we could help! #pharmacychoice” – via @StockstillsRx
- “We feel patients should have a choice in where they get their prescriptions #PharmacyChoice #NOmandatorymailorder #NOlimitednetworks” – via @ValuMedPharmacy
- “Patients should be able to choose @ which pharmacy they get their prescriptions filled & receive other pharmacist services! #pharmacychoice” – via @commpharmmd
- “It breaks my heart every time a patient tells me they got a letter from their insurance forcing them to use mail order. #pharmacychoice” – via @EBPharmD
- “Many of our patients were forced to the big box stores where they are just a number and they hate it!” – via Facebook
- “The patient, a child of 3 months, needed a compound for Vitamin K. The “approved” pharmacy was 25 miles away and wouldn’t deliver. I would deliver and make it but I wasn’t in their “network”. I take other medicaid patients with no problems. The patient had to drive the distance or I could make it and deliver it and not get paid for any of it.” – via Facebook
Community pharmacists asked their Representatives to support H.R. 4577, the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act, which was introduced by community pharmacy champion Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and now has 73 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. The legislation would allow any willing pharmacy located in a medically underserved area to participate in Medicare Part D preferred networks.
NCPA members will continue to share their experiences and advocate for “any willing pharmacy” policies that give their patients #pharmacychoice. Learn more about this issue and how you can get involved at www.ncpanet.org/pharmacychoice.