Congressional leaders are actively listening to what today's health and wellness leaders have to say

More than 300 community pharmacists helped educate their legislators over crucial small business issues as part of the NCPA's 2013 Legislative and Government Affairs conference. All told, the pharmacists conducted more than 500 meetings with congressional offices. 

There is a reason why the industry is poised to play a larger role in health reform. Five years ago or more, the PBMs had Washington's ear. But today, pharmacy is doing a much better job of telling its story. Counting NACDS' recent RxImpaxt day, retail pharmacy has conducted more than 900 meetings with legislators in the past eight weeks or so. 

The DSN Group put together a special report in honor of the occasion to help illustrate just how community pharmacy is making a difference. "Pharmacists do a lot more than just dispense prescriptions," DSN editor-in-chief Rob Eder wrote in the intro to the Congress leaders' retail pharmacy digest. "They engage in a practice called medication therapy management, working closely with patients to ensure they take their medications correctly. This practice is returning about $12 in savings for every $1 invested in it."

And that's just one example.  

But the industry's sharing of retail pharmacy's success stories with Congress leaders has to continue, Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, told recent attendees of the association's annual meeting. “I have talked before about our all-branches and all-levels of government approach to advocacy. Now we must go deeper: Beyond reaching every branch of government to reaching — and convincing — every bastion of government, each entrenched corner of Congress, governmental departments and agencies that holds to its own beliefs, despite the existence of a better way,” Anderson told attendees. “The healthcare reform experience has validated the proactive approach of NACDS. Yet our successes expose ever-greater challenges that lie ahead.” 

And it's not just retail pharmacy that's proclaiming the value of retail health and wellness solutions. The Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association this year joined forces in sitting down with Congressional leaders over natural health initiatives.