ASHP Takes Pharmacy Issues to Capitol Hill
Health-system pharmacists were on Capitol Hill recently to speak with their legislators and congressional staffers about issues that impact health-system pharmacy practice, as part of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Legislative Day activities. The annual event gives health-system pharmacists the opportunity to discuss the impact pharmacists can have on the safety and efficacy of the medication-use process.
More than 90 ASHP members, including representatives to the Societys policy-recommending Councils, the Commission on Therapeutics, Board of Directors, several affiliated state chapters leaders, and pharmacy practice residents, visited the offices of their representatives to offer their perspectives on several important provisions in Congresss ongoing Medicare reform debate.
Legislative Day is an extremely important activity and our timing could not have been better, remarked ASHP President Daniel M. Ashby, M.S., FASHP, noting that Congress is in the midst of debate on Medicare reform and the addition of a drug benefit for seniors. This is an opportunity for our members to build relationships with their legislators and put a human face on our message that pharmacists help patients make the best use of medicines.
The pharmacists stressed the importance of adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare that improves patient access to medications as well as ensures that high-risk patients are able to preserve long-term relationships with their local pharmacists, and provides coverage for pharmacists medication therapy management services.
ASHP members also noted that current provisions allowing for the importation of medications from foreign countries, including Canada, increases the risk of counterfeit, mislabeled, or improperly handled medications.
ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, ambulatory care clinics, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs. For more information, visit ASHPs Web site, www.ashp.org or www.safemedication.com.