WASHINGTON, DC — March 4, 2003 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), representing retail and wholesale food companies whose pharmacies fill more than 22 percent of prescriptions in the U.S., applauds President Bush’s call today to modernize and improve Medicare by making a pharmacy benefit available to all Medicare recipients.

Tim Hammonds, FMI’s President and CEO, called the President’s framework for reform “a positive step in the direction of providing the nation’s seniors with the pharmacy benefit they need and deserve. FMI’s member companies -- food retailers and wholesalers -- can work with these principles to help craft a pharmacy benefit that works for all Medicare recipients across the U.S.,” Hammonds added. “No senior should go without adequate pharmacy coverage.”

Hammonds also praised the President for his leadership and focused educational efforts on the pressing need for overall Medicare reform. “It takes foresight and courage to address this looming problem. There are no easy answers, but we must begin the process of reform before the solvency of this important program is undermined by the retirement of the huge baby boom generation,” Hammonds added. He emphasized that “the retail and wholesale food industry is committed to continue working with the Administration and Congress to preserve Medicare for future generations of Americans.”