Magazine article Drug Topics

Clinton Sings Praises of Pharmacists and Services

Magazine article Drug Topics

Clinton Sings Praises of Pharmacists and Services

Article excerpt

When President Bill Clinton recently held a town meeting with senior citizens in Connecticut, he had a lot of nice things to say about community pharmacists and the health-care services they provide.

Clinton issued a ringing endorsement of community pharmacists in his meeting with senior citizens at the Norwich Free Academy. Noting that many seniors regard their pharmacist as the "symbol of good health care," he said that "the local pharmacist does a whole lot more than just fill the prescription and ring up the register. He's a problem solver; he's a friend. The pharmacist is often the one person who can really be counted on to answer questions and calm fears and catch a problem, sometimes before it becomes a crisis."

Pointing to research by pharmacists showing that 17 million prescriptions go unfilled each year--often because the patient can't pay the bill--Clinton defended his universal Rx drug benefit plan. "Medicine can't work miracles unless it is used," he said. "Many people actually get sicker or are hospitalized or require nursing home care and, therefore, impose far, far greater costs...than would be the case if there were a prescription medicine benefit. Pharmacists know this. They see this in Americans every day. They are here because they want to solve the problems. Until we do, as many as eight million Americans each month will continue to make choices between drugs and other essentials, including literally the food on their table."

Clinton's Norwich visit was hosted by the Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition, which consists of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and NARD. Ronald Ziegler, NACDS president and CEO, and NARD executive v.p. Charles West joined the President in stumping for his healthcare reform package, which is encountering some flak as Congress prepares to take up the legislation.

Aware of the strong support the retail pharmacy coalition has thrown behind his health-care reform initiative, Clinton expressed gratitude to West and Ziegler, who accompanied him to Connecticut on Air Force One. He said that "their support will be pivotal as we go into this critical session of Congress and try to pass the healthcare bill."

Clinton also thanked "the grassroots Americans" NACDS and NARD represent, who, he said, understand that "we can fix what's wrong with the American healthcare system without messing up what's right. …

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