Today’s healthcare environment is shaped and governed by federal laws and regulations that are decided upon by elected officials and powerful government entities. In terms of the pharmacy industry, the fact is that the rules are set by people who may not fully understand pharmacists’ and patients’ best interests. Independent and LTC pharmacists who are informed and willing to engage, however, can voice their concerns and influence policy makers’ choices for the betterment of the industry.
We value the power of the voice of the independent pharmacy. Our dedicated advocacy resource, OurIndependentVoice.com, supports the importance of working together with local government to champion your role as a healthcare provider in your community.
Where to Start
Advocacy at the government level means reaching out to and establishing positive relationships with elected officials in order to make your voice heard. These connections open the door for educational conversations that can enlighten congressional leaders to the issues that really matter to independent and LTC pharmacies and their patients.
It’s simple to start: Use AmerisourceBergen’s convenient online Find Your Legislators search form to locate the names and contact information for your local lawmakers. Sending a brief letter of introduction with your name, credentials, and pharmacy business location is an easy, low-stress way to establish personal contact; you can do this via email or by sending a traditional handwritten letter. Sharing some personal information about your background, your business, and even a specific patient or two (while adhering to privacy standards, of course) is a great way to stand out.
After you have received a reply from your legislator (which may be a form letter, and that’s fine—they are very busy people), it’s time for you to write back and raise one specific issue of importance. Remember to talk pointedly about how the issue affects you and your pharmacy business, as well as your patients. Be clear and concise in your request for action: What, specifically, would you like your legislator to do—introduce a bill or support one already in existence? Then thank them for listening and hit send.
When you have established a correspondence connection, it’s time to find a way to meet your legislator in person. You could make an appointment to visit their office or invite them to tour your pharmacy and learn about your concerns, up close and personal. Be sure to establish your expertise as a pharmacist and offer yourself as a subject matter resource for your legislator; don’t be surprised if they turn to you for feedback on newsworthy issues. Depending on your level of commitment and confidence in your lawmaker, you may want to offer financial or other campaign support during elections.
If you find your legislator to be extremely busy and hard to reach, don’t give up. Meeting with a staff member is not uncommon—share your issues and calls to action clearly and they will be passed up the chain. For more tips on best advocacy practices, visit AmerisourceBergen’s dedicated advocacy website, OurIndependentVoice.com.
AmerisourceBergen provides pharmaceutical products, value-driving services and business solutions that improve access to care. Tens of thousands of healthcare providers, veterinary practices and livestock producers trust us as their partner in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Global manufacturers depend on us for services that drive commercial success for their products. Through our daily work—and powered by our 22,000 associates—we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. AmerisourceBergen is ranked #10 on the Fortune 500, with more than $175 billion in annual revenue. The company is headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa. and has a presence in 50+ countries. Learn more at amerisourcebergen.com.