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    NACDS, Pharmacists' Group Form Coalition

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- In what both organizations call a historic move, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said they'd created the Coalition for Community Pharmacy Action (CCPA), marking the first time that all 55,000 community pharmacies in the United States -- chains and independents alike -- will be represented by a single group on legislative and regulatory issues of common interest.

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- In what both organizations call a historic move, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said they'd created the Coalition for Community Pharmacy Action (CCPA), marking the first time that all 55,000 community pharmacies in the United States -- chains and independents alike -- will be represented by a single group on legislative and regulatory issues of common interest.

    The new not-for-profit corporation based here is a fully staffed and funded, permanent organization dedicated to representing community pharmacy on federal and state legislative and regulatory issues, its organizers said.

    "The coalition will be mounting a comprehensive campaign to promote the various interests of community pharmacy -- from direct lobbying to research and strategic communications," said NCPA e.v.p. and c.e.o. Bruce Roberts, who will serve as co-chairman of CCPA's executive committee. "CCPA's success is critical to the continued economic viability of not only community pharmacists, but also the health and safety of millions of patients who rely on their community pharmacists for medications and professional services."

    "While NACDS and NCPA will continue to represent the unique needs of their respective memberships on a wide variety of issues, we must present a unified front to protect the fundamental relationship between pharmacists and their patients," added NACDS interim president and c.e.o. Robert Hannan, who will also serve as executive committee co-chairman for CCPA. "Working together, we can be more effective in influencing the formation of legislation and regulations affecting community pharmacy."

    Charles Sewell, NCPA's s.v.p. for government affairs, and Catherine Polley, v.p. of state government affairs for NACDS, will serve as co-presidents of the coalition.

    The nation's community pharmacists have faced such issues as reimbursement cuts under Medicaid and Medicare, and inadequate professional dispensing fees.

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