Washington, DC – Amidst a time of rejuvenating the nation’s economic viability and strengthening the nation’s healthcare system, pharmacy organizations officially unveiled Pharmacy Principles for Health Care Reform today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The Principles identify what is necessary to fully utilize the medication expertise to address the epidemic of medication misuse. They demonstrate how the nation’s pharmacies and pharmacists can play a critical role in providing accessible, affordable and quality health care for patients.

Twelve pharmacy organizations collaborated to develop the Principles: Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Food Marketing Institute, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Community Pharmacists Association, Rite Aid Corporation, and Walgreen Co.

The pharmacy organizations outlined three goals related to medication access and use that should be an integral part of any health reform debate:

  1. Improve quality and safety of medication use

  2. Assure patient access to needed medications and pharmacy services

  3. Promote pharmacy and health information technology (HIT) interoperability

Proper use of prescription medications helps improve patient quality of life and health outcomes. However, the health care system incurs more than $177 billion annually in mostly avoidable health care costs to treat adverse events resulting from failure to take medications as prescribed. Proper use of prescription medications helps improve patient quality of life and improve health outcomes.

Pharmacists can help keep those costs down through pharmacist-provided patient care services, such as educating patients on how to take their prescription medications properly and safely, as well as administering health screenings and immunizations. With current costs to the health care system to treat chronic diseases at $1.3 trillion annually, taking medications properly can help prevent the need for catastrophic or emergency care.

Patients can also benefit from the counsel of pharmacists, who are educated and trained as medication experts, to identify cost-effective medication options, such as generics and biosimilars. Pharmacy services such as health screenings can also provide patients with low-cost, preventive care that can lead to better overall health.

Health information technology (HIT) is rapidly becoming an integral part of health care delivery in the United States. The use of electronic health records and electronic prescribing has increased dramatically in recent years. Congress has just passed economic recovery legislation that includes HIT provisions that will help to improve the delivery and quality of health care. HIT interoperability between the pharmacy and other health care providers would enable pharmacists to further assist in ensuring patients adhere to their medication regimens and in reducing medication errors.

Pharmacists are a highly trained and valuable resource, yet they are currently underutilized. As lawmakers continue discussions on how best to reform the health care system, it is critical that pharmacy be a part of that reform. The Pharmacy Principles for Health Care Reform serve as a resource for the ways in which pharmacy can provide cost-effective patient-care services to achieve better health care.


Founded in 1900, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education and educators. Comprising 111 accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy including more than 5,500 faculty, 50,000 students enrolled in professional programs and 3,900 individuals pursuing graduate study, AACP is committed to excellence in pharmacy education.

The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) is a professional and scientific society that provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources enabling clinical pharmacists to achieve excellence in practice and research. ACCP's membership is composed of practitioners, scientists, educators, administrators, students, residents, fellows, and others committed to excellence in clinical pharmacy and patient pharmacotherapy.

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) is a national professional association of pharmacists and other health care practitioners who serve society by the application of sound medication management principles and strategies to improve health care for all. The Academy's 5,700 members develop and provide a diversified range of clinical, educational and business management services and strategies on behalf of the more than 200 million Americans covered by a managed care pharmacy benefit. More news and information about AMCP can be obtained on its website, at www.amcp.org. The Academy will observe its 20th anniversary in 2009.

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 63,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. APhA members provide care in all practice settings, including community pharmacies, health systems, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations, hospice settings, and the uniformed services.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists is the international professional association that provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to advance the practice of senior care pharmacy. ASCP's 8,000+ members manage and improve drug therapy and improve the quality of life of geriatric patients wherever they reside including nursing facilities, subacute care and assisted living communities, psychiatric hospitals, hospice programs, and in their own homes.

For more than 60 years, ASHP has helped pharmacists who practice in hospitals and health systems improve medication use and enhance patient safety. The Society's 35,000 members include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who practice in inpatient, outpatient, home-care, and long-term-care settings, as well as pharmacy students. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's Web site, www.ashp.org, or its consumer Web site, www.SafeMedication.com.

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world. FMI’s U.S. members operate approximately 26,000 retail food stores and 14,000 pharmacies. Their combined annual sales volume of $680 billion represents three-quarters of all retail food store sales in the United States. FMI’s retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200 companies from more than 50 countries. FMI’s associate members include the supplier partners of its retail and wholesale members.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies. Its more than 160 chain member companies include regional chains with a minimum of four stores to national companies. NACDS members also include more than 1,000 suppliers of pharmacy and front-end products, and 85 international members representing 28 countries. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ a total of more than 2.5 million employees, including 118,000 pharmacists. They fill more than 2.5 billion prescriptions yearly, and have annual sales of over $750 billion. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $84 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 300,000 full-time employees, and dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines.

The National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) promotes leadership, sharing, learning, and policy exchange among pharmacy leaders nationwide, and provides education and advocacy to support pharmacists, patients, and communities working together to improve public health. NASPA was founded in 1927 as the National Council of State Pharmacy Association Executives (NCSPAE).

Quotes from Organization Executives:

“As modern healthcare increasingly relies on medications to improve health outcomes and quality of life in patients, ACCP is pleased to participate in this important effort to help expand opportunities for pharmacists to assume responsibility and accountability for managing medication therapy in direct patient care settings, whether practicing independently or in consultation with other health care professionals,” said Michael S. Maddux, Pharm.D., FCCP, Executive Director, American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

“Patients, providers and payers need to be assured that prescribed medications provide the most value in terms of efficacy, safety and cost. In the current economic climate the need for these evaluations is more critical than ever,” said Judith Cahill, Executive Director of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

“Our pharmacist members encounter patients everyday with medication problems that have real life consequences. Often patients, especially those managing complex medication regimens, don’t completely understand how to use their medications correctly and that knowledge gap impacts everyone. Overwhelmingly, data indicates the need for enhanced medication therapy management, and pharmacists have demonstrated their value in providing it. Health Care Reformers who include pharmacists’ services will one day be seen as visionary,” said Thomas Menighan, Executive Vice President and CEO Designate, American Pharmacists Association.

“Today, we spend well over $177 billion a year on medication-related problems. Older adults are at highest risk. With the anticipated exponential growth of adults over age 65, the financial and human costs of medication-related problems will continue to escalate. Failure to intervene to promote quality pharmaceutical care and reduce MRPS today will place unprecedented and intolerable burdens on our already overburdened healthcare system. We simply cannot afford to underutilize and undervalue the skills of clinical pharmacists. As our nation's medication experts, they need to be part of the clinical team,” said John Feather, PhD, CAE, Executive Director and CEO, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists.

“There is a growing body of evidence showing that pharmacists can help make medication use safer and more effective for patients. As policy makers work to address health-care reform, pharmacists stand ready to provide workable solutions to the urgent problems associated with access, quality, and cost,” said Kevin J. Colgan, M.A., President of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

“Any decision to reform our health care system should recognize the critical role pharmacists serve in achieving the best possible medical outcome for patients. By working collaboratively with physicians and other healthcare providers, pharmacists help patients better understand their medications and how to take them, counsel them on prevention and wellness issues and help prevent drug interactions and adverse effects,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, President And Chief Executive Officer, Food Marketing Institute.

“We are pleased to speak with one voice on pharmacy and introduce these Principles for Health Care Reform. The nation is facing challenging economic times and health care is a key component of how to create cost savings for patients and the overall health care system. Pharmacy plays a critical role in helping patients to save money – by counseling them on taking prescription medications properly and helping to prevent possible drug interactions – and in the long term, these savings will help curb the costs of emergency room and catastrophic care,” said National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO, Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.

“As health care reform looms on the horizon, NCPA is proud to work with our pharmacy partners in creating the principles for health care reform as we move toward our envisioned future,” said Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, Executive Vice President and CEO, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Additional Media Contacts:

Carolyn Stables
Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy
703-683-8416, cstables@amcp.org

Rebecca Morgan
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
703-739-2330 ext. 1032 rmorgan@aacp.org

John K. McGlew
American College of Clinical Pharmacy
202-756-2227, jmcglew@accp.com

Linda Williams
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
703-739-1316 x115

Ellen Wilcox
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
301-664-8621, ewilcox@ashp.org

Kathleen Thomas
Food Marketing Institute
202-220-0616, kthomas@fmi.org

Becky Sneed
National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations
804-285-4431 ext 325

Valerie Briggs
National Community Pharmacists Association
703-838-2686 valerie.briggs@ncpanet.org