NCPA, IPC forge closer working links

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis., and ALEXANDRIA, Va. The independent pharmacy industry’s top group-purchasing organization and its top lobbying and advocacy group on Monday announced plans to expand their collaboration in a bid to improve services to community pharmacists and their patients.

The new effort will forge stronger ties between the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative. IPC, said both groups, now is the nation’s largest group purchasing organization for independent pharmacies, representing 3,300 primary and 3,000 affiliate pharmacy members whose purchases exceed $8 billion.

Under their agreement, leaders of IPC and NCPA unveiled plans to reach IPC members to generate new NCPA members and increase IPC’s support for programs like NCPA’s Legislative/Legal Defense Fund. “This, in turn, would allow NCPA to more broadly and effectively implement advocacy programs to better support IPC members and other community pharmacies,” the groups said Monday. IPC members who are NCPA members and already are contributing to the Legal Defense Fund will be urged to contribute to NCPA’s political action committee.

“IPC is proud to support the NCPA Legislative/Legal Defense Fund for the benefit of the IPC membership and community pharmacy nationwide,” said IPC president and CEO Don Anderson. “We know the IPC Government Affairs effort is making a significant impact. As the largest buying group for independent pharmacy and an industry leader, it is our continued mission to support legislative advocacy. Our partnership with NCPA allows us to collectively expand the influence for positive outcomes for patients and independent pharmacy.”

The pact marks one of the first developments to come out of the NCPA since Kathleen Jaeger took the organization’s helm as its new EVP and CEO on Nov. 1, following an eight-year stint as head of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. She hailed the agreement, noting, “with so much at stake in a dynamically changing healthcare and political environment, it’s critical for independent pharmacies to work together closely to ensure that our patients have access to excellent quality care and pharmacy services in their communities. We’re also hopeful that this growing partnership will produce more effective advocacy efforts and new business applications to ensure that the critical care independent pharmacies deliver to their patients and communities is maintained and strengthened in the years to come.”