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Speak Up, Step Out, & Take Control… but Don’t Ever Shut Up

Jan 31, 2024

In 2020 a wholesaler rep, for whom I have great respect, told me, “You really need to get behind the major national pharmacy organizations. They’re the only advocacy groups out there fighting for you.”
Although I looked at the websites and read the newsletters of these organizations, I hadn’t really dug into them as “advocacy” groups, but I trusted my rep. So I bought memberships because I wanted to support my “advocates”.

2021 rolled around. As pharmacies, we were chin deep in vaccines with no time to breathe, much less get involved in legislative efforts for what was coming our way in 2024. Still, I trusted that my national “advocates” were working hard for my money.

As 2023 dawned, so did the realization that the advocacy efforts I had hoped were true, simply were not.
I’ve learned that some of our major national organizations are so far removed from reality that I cannot even spend the time necessary to list their many laughable “efforts”. What I can say is, they aren’t doing anything to help our fight. When retail pharmacists staged a walkout it took a mass of both independent and chain pharmacists and pharmacy owners calling out these pharmacy organizations on every social media platform before these so-called advocates spoke up in support of hard-working pharmacy professionals standing up for themselves.

I believe that organization CEO salaries which are closer to $1 million a year than they are to the bottom feeding pennies that those of us doing the real day to day work are getting paid - or for some of us, not getting paid - are completely out of touch with those of us in the trenches. I will no longer fund them.

I was appalled by the letters that were sent to pharmacies by these national “advocates” in the first two weeks of 2024. Letters admonishing a large volume of violation submissions to CMS regarding nosedives in reimbursements upon implementation of the new DIR fee policies. Pharmacies were told, in bold underlined letters: “CMS is not asking about pharmacies being paid below their cost.”

Guess what national organizations, we’re telling them anyway. When we must close our doors due to excessive under-reimbursements, patients won’t have access and their care will be compromised.

What does all of this mean?

It means independent pharmacy owners have had enough. I no longer send my money to these major organizations. I now see them as compromised and bought off. Most importantly, as an independent pharmacy owner, my needs and interests do not appear to be their priority.

As healthcare professionals, we work too hard to have people who are removed from reality tell us not to advocate for ourselves - especially financially. We’ve collectively listened for years and look where that has gotten us. It’s time to venture away from the flock - speak up, step out, and take our future into our own hands.

My hard-earned money goes to PUTT because I know exactly what they’re doing - most often in the shadows and without recognition. I believe the time for that to change is now. I know that they as an organization are listening to our needs and fighting for actionable change every single day.

Brandi Chane, CPhT
Owner, Davis City Pharmacy
Board Member, Pharmacists United for Truth & Transparency

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