A staff member (center) for House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee member Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) got briefed on central pharmacy issues this week.

An extremely effective NACDS RxIMPACT pharmacy tour this week exemplifies the value of speaking directly to members of Congress and their staff members on critical issues facing pharmacy right now.

The district director for House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee member Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), James Dunn, participated in a pharmacy tour of Fred’s Pharmacy in Gallatin, Tenn., as part of the grassroots program. The team explained issues surrounding direct and indirect renumeration (DIR) fees in Medicare Part D, how they are negatively impacting retail pharmacies and the need for DIR reform. They also discussed support for NACDS-backed provider status legislation, H.R. 592, and explained that it would allow pharmacists to provide additional services, such as point-of-care testing and helping to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and it would be essential in helping to close the gap in care caused by a strained healthcare system.

The team talked to Dunn about the opioid abuse crisis and support for electronic prescribing to help combat abuse and diversion and the need for a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), which they said resonated with Dunn. The team wrapped up by discussing recently enacted NACDS-backed legislation, House Bill 1993, which requires that prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances be issued as an electronic prescription from the person issuing the prescription to a pharmacy.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS in January 2018 found 74 percent of Tennessee voters support a requirement that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than via paper or fax, as a way to help address the opioid abuse epidemic.