WASHINGTON, DC — November 19, 2003 — “The bipartisan Medicare bill currently before Congress delivers choice, convenient access and affordable prescription drugs to seniors — especially to the low-income seniors who need it most,” said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). “It is essential that the House and Senate pass this legislation immediately,” he said today, speaking on behalf of the FMI retail and wholesale members that operate and support nearly 15,000 in-store pharmacies.

“This legislation,” he said, “provides seniors the opportunity to stay with their neighborhood pharmacist, who can counsel them how to best use medications, who can help prevent adverse drug interactions and who — in the case of supermarket pharmacists — can provide dietary guidance to promote health and well-being.

“This legislation allows seniors greater choice and convenience wherever they purchase medications. It enables them to fill long-term 90-day prescriptions at their local community pharmacy. It saves them money by speeding the introduction of generic drugs — a needed change, especially in this time of spiraling drug and health care costs. And it stimulates much-needed increased competition in the health care field.

“The time to act is now. The need is obvious and the benefit is long overdue. Congress must seize this opportunity before election-year politics gridlock the legislative process.”