Advocates with Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY, right), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and an original cosponsor of H.R. 592, provider status legislation, during the 2018 NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.

NACDS RxIMPACT launched all-out letter-writing campaigns this week urging advocates to spotlight the value of H.R. 592, The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enforcement Act. NACDS RxIMPACT urged them to ask their representatives to include the legislation in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on combatting the opioid crisis set for the week of April 9. The letter emphasizes the ways Congress can better enlist pharmacists in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Although the number continues to climb, so far advocates have sent over 600 letters to 213 Representatives.

Nearly 260 members of the U.S. House of Representatives—and almost 80 percent of the House Energy & Commerce Committee—cosponsored the provider status legislation.

In addition to a wide-reaching alert, the campaign targeted specific NACDS member companies and friends of chain pharmacy operating in areas represented by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee asking them to participate. In a letter to Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), a member of the Committee, the Missouri Pharmacy Association stated, “Pharmacists must be better utilized in the fight against the opioid epidemic given their ability to manage/optimize medication impact, review medications to help prevent overprescribing, tailor plans to patient needs, recommend non-opioid pain management alternatives, and educate patients regarding opioids.”

The campaign is also engaging pharmacy students from the 48 schools of pharmacy who participated in NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill with a competition to see which student can generate the most letters in the campaign.