Steven Irizarry, co-founder and managing partner at Roberti Global, is our chief liaison at the firm and he's excited to take up the cause of independent pharmacy.
“American Pharmacies has always been an effective advocate for community pharmacies in state legislatures throughout the U.S.,” Irizarry said. “We are incredibly excited to help APRx build on their success and advance their legislative priorities with federal policymakers. Community pharmacies face so many challenges, and it is critical that Congress understand and recognize the value they provide, so that patients can continue to receive the care they need.”
What Will APRx's Federal Involvement Look Like?
American Pharmacies views our entry into the federal arena as introducing another strong player in Washington with a proven track record and valuable relationships with members of Congress and legislators across many states. Our efforts could very well improve the odds of passing meaningful legislation and regulatory reforms.
Wright acknowledged that American Pharmacies must take the long view in passing legislation in the challenging federal arena, however, we have identified specific, incremental objectives that will help alleviate the onerous fiscal and operational obstacles that independent pharmacies face daily.
He said American Pharmacies and Roberti Global will focus on far more than supporting pro-pharmacy bills and monitoring their progress in Congress. The APRx focus will include:
- Identifying and building relationships with key members of Congress and federal regulatory agencies.
- Building stronger cooperative relationships with the National Community Pharmacists Association, the AmerisourceBergen lobby team, the American Pharmacists Association, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and oncology and dermatology groups, as well as patient advocates.
- Aggregating and leveraging our members' existing federal relationships to build stronger pharmacy support in Congress, especially with influential members of key committees.
- Leveraging the strong relationships we have built with legislators in multiple states to help advance the independent pharmacy agenda at the federal level.
- Pursuing meaningful regulatory reform outside Congress at the Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Labor and other key agencies.
- Improving American Pharmacies members' awareness of key federal issues and motivating more of them to get involved.
- Identifying the best times and opportunities to engage with members of Congress and coordinating that effort; and
- Using the experience, reputation and resolve we have built at the state level to help energize federal efforts.
In addition to hiring a top-flight lobby firm, American Pharmacies is assembling a Federal Advocacy Council made up of pharmacist members from eight states, who will act as advisors and leaders in our federal initiatives. We will publish the names of the Council members when the group has been finalized.
Hitting the Ground Running
Wright already has traveled twice to Washington to consult with Irizarry, who attended the American Pharmacies Board meeting in Austin last month to meet and confer with Board members. Next week, Wright, APRx President Laird Leavoy and General Counsel Miguel Rodriguez will travel to DC to meet with Irizarry and pharmacy allies in Congress.
"This is an inevitable outcome of years of success in Texas, Michigan, New Mexico and other states," Leavoy said. "American Pharmacies has always embraced assertive advocacy as a prime mission and we look forward to taking on the challenges of Washington. We want to chart our own path and we'll also work with our national partners to add our strength and resources to their efforts."
American Pharmacies will publish periodic federal updates to keep you informed about important issues and opportunities, as well as our ongoing activities in Washington.