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Host a Pharmacy Visit for Elected Officials





"As I was discussing pharmacy issues with my Congressman in his district office it was clear to me that a hands on tour of my pharmacy world really help to solidify my points. I invited him for a tour the next time he was back home, and after a few emails, he showed up! The tour was short and sweet but he left that day with a better understanding of pharmacy issues and the services I provide."
--Eric Esterbrook, Esterbrook Pharmacy
"Elected officials are continuously considering and passing legislation that impacts pharmacy either directly or indirectly. A pharmacy tour gives an elected official the opportunity to see you working in their district, see the unique services you provide as opposed to mail order, hear from you directly about what your concerns are regarding the future of pharmacy and show how your pharmacy fills a special need in the community."
--Joe Bettinger, Hieber's Pharmacy



Guide to Pharmacy Visits

The following is taken from NCPA's Guide to Pharmacy Tours for Elected Officials. Click here to view the full guide.

How to arrange a tour

Start with the national or state legislator’s local district office. Sound out the staff about schedule availability and receptiveness. The best way to offer an invitation is in a personal meeting with the legislator, but an invitation offered through the staff is acceptable.

When to schedule

When the legislator is back home on a weekend, or when the Congress or state legislature is in recess. Offer several potential dates and times, possibly using a community event as your hook. The BEST time to schedule is during an election campaign when the official is actively seeking opportunities to meet with constituents.

What to prepare

Nothing elaborate or staged. Prepare your staff and managers with background information about the legislator. A simple interaction with the daily workings of a community pharmacy will be informative enough for the legislator without any additional bells and whistles. Prepare a simple fact sheet “profile” of your pharmacy operations, e.g. number of patients per month, number of Medicare prescriptions filled last year, number of employees, years your business has served the community. It is good to have a photographer to document the event in an unobtrusive way and notify the local newspapers, radio and TV stations.

Make time for a “quiet” personal talk

Set aside some time for a one-to-one talk with your legislator about one or two critical issues facing community pharmacy. This helps build your personal relationship and establishes you as a professional health care information resource.

What to expect

Be prepared for questions from the legislator and his or her staff. This is where your prepared fact sheet on your pharmacy’s operations, patients etc. comes in handy. Know your facts from studying issue briefs, so you can comfortably address questions.

How to conduct the tour

Naturally. Just as with any other visitor, don’t lobby them too much with political issues during the tour. The important thing is for them to see how your pharmacy plays a vital role in community health care. Talk about your patients and patient care concerns. You will have achieved your purpose if they gain a favorable impression and view you as a resource.



Sample Agenda

10:00 – 10:15
Greet the legislator and any other guests or accompanying staff. Take them into your office for introductions and to summarize your operations with the aid of the Pharmacy Profile you have prepared ahead of time.

10:15 – 10:30
Complete the pharmacy tour, walking through the pharmacy, interacting with employees as they go about their daily routine. Introduce patients you know. End the tour at the prescription counter, where you can introduce your guests to any other pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

10:30 – 10:50
Allow your legislator guest to stand behind the prescription counter with the pharmacists, observing you in your professional capacity and interacting with patients. The politician will enjoy the opportunity to chat with patients, who are also constituents. This could also be your opportunity to make points “one-on-one” about issues affecting community pharmacy, and emphasize the important role we
play in communities across America.

10:50 – 11:00
If a group of patients and employees can be gathered together around the prescription counter (or in another space of your choosing), invite the legislator to make some brief concluding remarks prior to his/her departure. Thank your guest, and provide them with your prepared informational materials along with an open invitation to visit again. Be sure to give them copies of issue briefs.

Note: This 1-hour time frame can be compressed to 30 minutes, if your guest is pressed for time, or extended easily if more time is made available. If the public contact is going well, the legislator or a senior staff member may decide to expand the time for the event. Be flexible.



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