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Support for SenioRx Gold increases.

WASHINGTON -- The leading retail food association and most prominent senior care pharmacy association in the country have endorsed the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' SenioRx Gold prescription benefit proposal.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) have joined the SenioRx Now Coalition along with NACDS, the National Consumers League, and the American Pharmaceutical Association.

The coalition is promoting SenioRx Gold as a workable solution for 7.3 million low-income senior citizens who cannot afford prescription drug coverage.

"With nearly 40% of our member stores involved in pharmacy operations, we are very concerned about proposed pharmacy legislation and regulations, particularly the impact such proposals will have on consumers," says FMI president and chief executive officer Tim Hammonds.

"Our members are committed to serving their customers, many of whom are senior citizens, and we feel that the SenioPx Gold plan will help those shoppers access medications and services in the most timely and cost-effective manner."

NACDS president and chief executive officer Craig Fuller comments, "The coalition is pleased to have the participation of a group like FMI. Its years of experience in the retail and wholesale arenas will be instrumental in helping to gain passage of this measure."

R. Tim Webster, executive director of ASCP, says, "We see the needs faced by senior citizens every day in our practices, and we felt it was time for us to do everything we could as an organization to make this benefit a reality."

Fuller notes that having ASCP's support "adds even more credence to the need for our plan. We are overjoyed to have such a group of professionals contribute this level of expertise to this debate."

Two recent surveys have shown that most Americans prefer a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens that could be implemented sooner rather than later. The research also demonstrates continuing public concern about a prescription drug benefit administered by private insurance plans.

The most recent of the two surveys, conducted by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), showed that 47% of seniors felt a prescription benefit was the most important issue of the election year -- more important than gun control, consumer privacy protection, a patient's bill of rights or raising the minimum wage. Furthermore, 61% of respondents said they felt that Congress should act now rather than waiting for comprehensive Medicare reform. The study was conducted by Peter Hart Research Associates for NCPSSM, with results released last month.

Another study, a national poll conducted in March for NACDS by Wirthlin Worldwide, a strategic opinion research and consulting organization, found that 83% of Americans favor providing prescription drugs through a state-based approach for the neediest seniors as a first step toward Medicare reform.

When asked whether they agreed or disagreed that the federal government should provide assistance to state governments so that state programs can assist people with low incomes who are in need of prescription medications, 83% of respondents said they either agreed or strongly agreed.

NACDS has developed SenioRx Gold as a mechanism for states to provide prescription benefits to needy seniors. "We want what millions of Americans and their families want for our needy seniors: legislation passed by this Congress, signed by this President and implemented by the states this year," comments Fuller.

NACDS senior vice president of government affairs Larry Kocot says, "We can make this benefit a reality, but we need seniors to continue to voice their desire to see this plan pass."
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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 5, 2000
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