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White Coats Swarm Texas Capitol to Fight for Pharmacy

Tuesday, February 26, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian Sparks
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Pharmacists gather on the south steps of the Capitol.

Nearly 600 pharmacy professionals gathered in Austin on February 26 for the biggest, most memorable, and highly energetic Pharmacy Day at the Capitol. Busloads of student pharmacists from across the state joined other statewide pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to advocate for their profession and to promote a variety of pharmacy-friendly legislation during the 86th Texas Legislative Session.

Legislator panel during Pharmacy Day at the Capitol
Sen. Charles Schwertner (left), the only pharmacist in the Texas Legislature, participates in a panel discussion led by TPA's Stephanie Chiarello during Pharmacy Day at the Capitol.

The day began with a legislative briefing including a welcome by Austin's own State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-14) and a panel discussion about effective advocacy techniques featuring the legislature's only pharmacist, Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) along with Rep. John Raney (R-College Station) and Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo). Association leaders and lobbyists from the Texas Pharmacy Association and other Texas pharmacy organizations educated attendees about priority legislation that all Texas pharmacy supports and role-played meetings with lawmakers and their staffs in a variety of settings.

Legislative briefing at Pharmacy Day at the Capitol
Nearly 600 pharmacy professionals attended a legislative briefing to kick off Pharmacy Day at the Capitol to learn about our legislative priorities from pharmacy association leaders.

Following a group photo on the south steps of the Capitol, hundreds of pharmacy professionals in white coats went inside and split into dozens of teams to hold meetings with nearly every member of the Texas Senate and House of Representatives, urging them to recognize the value of pharmacists and pharmacy in their communities. Pharmacy lobbied for issues that preserve and advance beneficiary access to pharmacy services and bring much-needed transparency to PBMs and the Medicaid Managed Care pharmacy benefit. Both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives officially recognized February 26, 2019 as Texas Pharmacy Day with a Resolution introduced by State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-18), chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-141), chair of the House Public Health Committee.

Pharmacists meet with Rep. Tom Oliverson.
Pharmacists from across the state including TPA President Mark Comfort (third from right) meet with Rep. Tom Oliverson, who has sponsored landmark PBM legislation in Texas.

Student pharmacists from seven Texas colleges/schools of pharmacy also conducted a health fair in the Capitol for legislators and their staff members, showcasing their ability to provide patient-care services beyond dispensing, like point-of-care testing, health screenings, and other educational services.

Those who couldn’t be with us at the Capitol this week could still be “with” us when we launched our Virtual Pharmacy Day at the Capitol, the largest-ever pharmacy email campaign to Texas legislators. Pharmacy Day was organized by the Texas Pharmacy Association and hosted by all eight Texas pharmacy organizations, including AIP, TFDS, TIPA, TSHP, TPBC, Texas TrueCare, and NACDS. Special thanks to Quidel and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for sponsoring the event.

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