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Get involved

Here are three pieces of legislation that will impact community pharmacies.

3d medical scales sign

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

—Plato

There is truth to Plato’s statement: if we do not make our voices heard by participating in our political system, we risk relinquishing control over our own lives to others who may not have our best interests at heart. Action starts with knowledge.
  1. Drug disposal
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new procedures governing disposal of hazardous drugs. The Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule requires healthcare facilities and pharmacies to manage their waste. The EPA’s proposal, designed to prevent the disposal of more than 6,400 tons of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals annually, bans healthcare facilities from flushing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down sinks or toilets. The new regulations could have a significant financial impact on retail pharmacies.

  2. Provider Status
    The big issue on every pharmacist’s mind these days is provider status. The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R.592/S 314) continues to enjoy broad, bipartisan support in Congress. No other groups have come out against the bill and the American Medical Association (AMA) has thus far remained neutral. These are all encouraging signs as the bill will have a significant impact on how pharmacists will do business in the future. With that in mind, what should you be doing now to prepare if the legislature passes the bill. Become familiar with your state’s specific regulations and know which services are reimbursable—the bill will allow reimbursement based on state laws. Connect with local physicians, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and other healthcare providers within your community to expand your customer base. Expand your service offerings with new niche testing opportunities like point-of- care (POC) and rapid diagnostics.

  3. Track and Trace
    The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) is an important piece of legislation that will impact the community pharmacy. The law was designed to identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the U.S.. Pharmacists may only accept product if the previous owner provides them with the “3Ts” (transaction history, transaction information and a transaction statement). You will be required to capture and maintain this information for six years from the date of transaction. Pharmacies may contract out to their wholesale distributors or other third-party companies to capture and maintain the information, and it is important to make sure you review all contractual terms closely for liability issues.

What you can do.

Stay informed

Organizations like the APhA and NCPA are great resources for the latest news in healthcare, politics and the pharmaceutical industry. As you work each day in your own business, don’t become too myopic. Keep an eye on the big picture of what’s going on in the industry.

Stay engaged

Get to know your legislators at the state and national levels, and make a plan to keep in regular contact with them. Donate to organizations and political action committees (PACs) that are working to represent your interests as a community pharmacist.

Make the most of every opportunity to network with your peers and industry experts

Never underestimate the power individuals can have when they work together for a common goal.

 

“Get into politics or get out of pharmacy.”

-The NCPA’s motto

We can impact our own destiny by getting informed and involved.