UHSP Faculty Advocate for Pharmacy Profession at APhA Virtual Congressional Conference

Published on 22 October 2021

UHSP faculty members Michelle Jeon, Pharm.D., BCACP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice and Roxane Took, Pharm.D., BCACP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, recently had the opportunity to lobby on a nationwide stage for key issues facing the pharmacy profession during the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Virtual Congressional Conference, which took place Oct. 3-5 via Zoom.

Jeon and Took spoke with Missouri legislative staff members from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to advocate for U.S. House and Senate bills focused on Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) transparency, direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees, and provider status for pharmacists.

“There are few important bills that have been introduced recently in the U.S. House and Senate focused on key issues for the profession of pharmacy,” noted Took. “There are a pair of bills aimed at eliminating retroactive pharmacy DIR fees, while another set of bills is focused on granting provider status for pharmacists providing patient care services that are covered by Medicare Part B. During the APhA Virtual Congressional Conference, we had the opportunity to meet directly with lawmakers to educate them on these bills, the issues surrounding them and the ways these issues are impacting pharmacists and patients in Missouri.”

The conference featured attendance by pharmacists from across the U.S., who were provided with information on signature legislation currently affecting pharmacy. During the conference, participants also took part in educational sessions with APhA designed to provide them with tips and tools on connecting with elected officials. The event concluded with pharmacists connecting face-to-face with federal legislators via appointments held on Zoom and arranged by APhA.

“This was a really great opportunity for pharmacists to hone their advocacy skills and have the chance to speak directly to the lawmakers who are shaping policy nationwide,” said Took. “Issues regarding PBMs, DIR fees and provider status are major concerns facing pharmacy right now, and this conference offered an invaluable way for us to help lawmakers understand these issues and how they may trickle down to their constituents. While it may seem like these are issues exclusive to community pharmacy, they really affect every person who utilizes a community pharmacy, so there is an important need for pharmacists to advocate and inform on these topics.”

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