A key theme that emerged from the NACDS Total Store Expo was the importance of advocating for pharmacy. In his opening remarks, NACDS Chairman Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee, Inc., said that getting involved is “so impactful” because, he said, it shows lawmakers that issues affecting pharmacy are important.

Advocating for pharmacy does make a difference and there are many ways to get involved.

Edeker also gave a ringing endorsement of NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill and said, “RxIMPACT Day is one of the greatest things I get to do all year long.”

Registration for the grassroots advocacy event, which will bring more than 350 participants to Washington D.C., on March 16-17, 2016, is now open. Advocates from across the country will tell personal stories to members of Congress, letting them know why it’s essential to support pro-patient, pro-pharmacy legislation and key issues related to healthcare reform.

The only pharmacist in Congress, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), was a speaker at NACDS Total Store Expo and he said, “You have to become involved. Get to know your congressman. Get to know your local and state officials. It’s important because they do have a big impact on our profession.” Carter is a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and the Committees on Homeland Security and Oversight and Government Reform.

During the conference, NACDS chain member Albertsons/Safeway received the 2015 NACDS RxIMPACT “Leader of the Year” award for its efforts to inspire advocacy and leadership development through the NACDS RxIMPACT program. Accepting the award for the company was Dan Salemi, group vice president, pharmacy services, for Albertsons/Safeway and a member of the NACDS board of directors.

NACDS is currently supporting legislation, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 314), which would enable pharmacists to provide services to Medicare patients in underserved communities. NACDS has also been helping to advance legislation to fight prescription drug abuse, while ensuring patient access to needed medications. The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 471/S. 483) would promote a collaborative approach to preventing prescription drug diversion and abuse by bringing together all stakeholders — law enforcement, patient groups, pharmacy and government agencies — to work toward a solution.

Advocating for pharmacy does make a difference and there are many ways to get involved. Register for the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, and join the NACDS RxIMPACT Pharmacy Advocates group on LinkedIn for key insights, grassroots advocacy resources and connections with other pharmacy professionals that will help shape a pro-patient, pro-pharmacy legislative agenda.

For more information, please contact NACDS’ Heidi Ecker.