Image of the pharmacy issues website by NACDS

Pharmacy issues like opioid abuse prevention, DIR fees, and healthcare access have the spotlight in the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ (NACDS) refreshed microsite at AccessAgenda.NACDS.org. The site supports NACDS’ issue campaigns on priority issues. It reaches government, opinion leaders, stakeholders and the media.

NACDS’ Campaigns on Pharmacy Issues

NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, has stated, “It’s not enough to work the issues. We need to aggressively wage campaigns – vigorous campaigns that target those things that matter most.”

These words reflect the NACDS Board of Directors’ focus on issues of vital importance to patients and to the pharmacies that serve them. As a result, NACDS’ four campaigns focus on:

  • ending the phantom fees – known as DIR fees – that raise patients’ out-of-pocket drug costs and threaten pharmacies
  • addressing other immediate and long-term pharmacy reimbursement issues
  • enhancing patients’ access to newer health and wellness services, and
  • serving as part of the solution to opioid abuse.

For purposes of the microsite, NACDS’ priority issues are organized into three sections:

  • Opioid Abuse Solutions – safeguarding communities while helping those in pain
  • DIR Fee Relief – stopping phantom fees harming patients and pharmacies (this section also includes pharmacy reimbursement and drug-pricing issues beyond DIR fees)
  • Health and Wellness Access – enhancing availability of high-quality, convenient services.

NACDS’ Campaigns and the “Access Agenda”

NACDS’ “Access Agenda” refers to the connection between patients’ trust of pharmacies for their daily health and wellness needs, and their trust of pharmacies on public policy issues. So, the microsite states: “Pharmacists provide access to better healthcare every day. We’re here to provide access to health policy solutions.”

Supporting this idea, the site includes the results of opinion research conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS. Results are available nationally, by state, and by Congressional District.

For example, pharmacies were rated as the most accessible among the sources of healthcare tested.

Further, when voters know that pharmacies have offered a policy solution to address an issue, they are more likely to support the proposal. On healthcare quality, 63 percent of voters are more likely to support a proposal if it is offered by pharmacies. For affordability, 65 percent are more likely to support a pharmacy-backed solution. Regarding access issues, 61 percent feel that way.

One-stop Shop for Pharmacy Issues

The newly refreshed microsite serves as a convenient location for information on NACDS’ priority issues. NACDS’ digital advertising and other communications vehicles provide a link to the microsite for more information. NACDS is running ads to urge DIR fee relief and to affirm pharmacy’s commitment as part of the opioid abuse solution, while recognizing the dedication of pharmacists on the front lines of healthcare delivery.

The site also helps pharmacy grassroots advocates when discussing issues with government officials. On that point, it is important to note the strong level of engagement of pharmacy advocates through the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots program. For example, for the past two years, advocates have reached every Congressional office in Washington, D.C. during NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill. Also, through NACDS RxIMPACT, NACDS members have hosted more than 700 Congressional pharmacy tours and other in-state and in-district events.