Community pharmacists gain bipartisan support for top priorities

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will lead a caucus for pharmacists as they push for bills to expand access to community pharmacies.

The National Community Pharmacists Association hasn't historically been represented by a Senate caucus, but Moran — a former leader of the House pharmacy caucus — agreed to take up the charge, NCPA officials said Tuesday.

Community pharmacists are gathered in Washington this week for a policy conference and to lobby members of Congress for bills they say would lower healthcare spending.

John Coster, NCPA's senior vice president of government affairs, said the group will press for a bill that would exempt community pharmacists from competitive bidding for diabetes supplies.

Other long-standing pharmacy priorities include a crackdown on the companies that administer health plans' drug benefits. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill Tuesday to bring more transparency to those companies, which pharmacies say drive up the cost of prescription drugs.