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NARD PHYSICIAN DISPENSING RADIO NEWS SPOTS DISTRIBUTED TO 350 STATIONS; PHARMACY GROUP ENDORSES MORE "EDUCATION" PROGRAMS TO ENCOURAGE STATE ACTION

Executive Summary

The National Association of Retail Druggists is pushing its case against physician dispensing with a 60-second radio news spot that is being distributed to 350 stations nationally. The feature segments, distributed for NARD by the North American Network, were scheduled to run on radio stations as part of consumer week Oct. 19-23. The spot features NARD Executive VP Charles West and Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), sponsor of the pending House bill prohibiting physican dispensing. The announcement argues against the "unethical and anticompetitive practice" of physicians selling drugs for profit. The radio segments are part of NARD's continuing campaign against physician dispensing outlined by NARD officers at the association's annual convention in Las Vegas Oct. 19-22. The association has published a 372-page "Guide For Pharmacists" on physician dispensing. The "source book" contains a commentary summarizing NARD's position on the issue and a chronology of events, including the development of Wyden's bill (HR 2168), FTC activities on the state level and efforts in favor of physician dispensing by drug repackagers. NARD has also developed a consumer brochure for distribution through its members. Wyden's bill has passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee and is awaiting consideration on the House floor. No corresponding legislation has been introduced in the Senate. Senate Labor & Human Resources Committee Chairman Kennedy (D-Mass.), head of the committee which would have jurisdiction over physician dispensing legislation, has reportedly decided that he will not co-sponsor such a bill. Among the resolutions approved Oct. 22 by the NARD house of delegates was a motion to continue educational efforts against MD dispensing. The resolution calls on NARD to "educate its member states to the dangers and implication of legislation that would legitimize dispensing by physicians and other non-pharmacists by allowing such dispensing so long as it complies with 'same terms' ar required by a states pharmacy practice act." The resolution originally called for "opposition" to MD dispensing; the house changed it to an educational campaign against the expansion of MD dispensing. Opposition to physician dispensing was the top priority identified by incoming NARD President Darwyn Williams in his inaugural address to the association. He also cited mail order drug programs, discriminatory pricing and "its adjunct," commercial non-profit competition, as areas where "we will continue to mount concerted efforts on all of the legislative and regulatory fronts that are vital to the future of the independent." Another resolution approved by the delegates related to Medicaid drug programs. Noting that the Health Care Financing Administration has issued waivers limiting provider access to the Medicaid program, the resolution states: "Be it resolved that NARD establish as a priority vendor access to all Medicare and Medicaid programs. Williams' election as president, succeeding Lonnie Hollingsworth, was approved by the NARD board of delegates at the convention. Donald Arthur, currently chairman of the NARD executive committee, was named president-elect, and Joseph Mosso was designated Arthur's successor. Newly-elected to the NARD hierarchy were 4th-VP Robert Blake, of West Union, Ohio and 5th VP John Carson, San Antonio, Texas.
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