Magazine article Drug Topics

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Magazine article Drug Topics

Congratulations!

Article excerpt

NCPA celebrates centennial by looking at where it's been and rededicating itself to independent pharmacy

Returning to St. Louis where it was launched 100 years ago, the National Community Pharmacists Association embarked on a second century rededicated to advancing the professional and economic interests of the people who still embody the heart and soul of American pharmacy "NCPA was born a political organization," executive v.p. Calvin Anthony reminded his fellow pharmacy owners. "A hundred years from now, in 2098, we'll still be a political organization. It's in our blood. If you represent generally small, independent proprietors-and find yourself aligned repeatedly against huge corporations and huge money, as we have-you have to be political."

NCPA, originally the National Association of Retail Druggists, mapped out an ambitious agenda at the centennial convention in mid-October, which it hoped would carry its thinned ranks into the new millennium. To staunch the losses with some new blood, NCPA, with the support of McKesson, unveiled an expanded ownership initiative for the purchase of independents by independents that includes a $10 million loan pool. Anthony called on NCPA members to "keep independent pharmacy independent." He said the reason chain stores are aggressively seeking to acquire independents is that "it's easier to buy you than compete with you."

Another wholesaler-supported enterprise is the establishment of the Community Pharmacy Contract Clearinghouse. Cardinal Health and its Medicine Shoppe arm are backing the project, which was a recommendation of the final report of NCPA's Third Party Contract Negotiation Task Force, which was released at the convention. Third-party contract expert H. Edward Heckman has been retained to dispense consultation and explanations of contract provisions via a toll-free hotline. Heckman is president of the audit firm PAAS National of Stoughton, Wis., and he also runs Heckman & Associates, a retail pharmacy consulting practice. Legal advice on contracts also will be available through the clearinghouse.

The clearinghouse is one of several approaches NCPA is pursuing to secure better reimbursements and payment for providing professional services. …

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