ADVOCACY & LEGISLATION
O’Brien Pharmacy Team on The Hill: Educating Congress Members and Making Connections
WRITTEN AND EDITED BY
SHANA CURTIS WEBB
“I wish everyone could meet and spend time with their Members of Congress. It would give people the opportunity to realize regardless of political party, we are often on the same page. I think it would help heal tensions or the divide we all sometimes feel. I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my staff to be able to make these connections.”
Compounders on Capitol Hill, the annual APC-sponsored, compounding pharmacy advocacy event in Washington D.C., was successful and invigorating. Appearing on behalf of O’Brien Pharmacy and our patients this year were pharmacists Kristy Timmons, Hollie Resseguie, pharmacist / owner Lisa Everett Andersen, and Dr. Arden Andersen. They were able to visit with staffers and Senators from Texas, Missouri, and Kansas to discuss the importance of bio-identical hormone replacement and signing the letters circulating in the House and Senate in order to help save BHRT. Additionally, they spoke about securing the ability for compounding pharmacies to make drugs when they land on the FDA’s Drug Shortage List.
Kristy took on Texas, meeting with staffers from Representative Fallon’s office, Senator Cornyn’s office, Senator Cruz’s office, and Representative Green’s office. Lisa, Dr. Andersen, and Hollie met with Representative Sharice Davids’ (KS) staff, Senator Josh Hawley’s (MO) staff, Senator Eric Schmitt’s (MO) staff, Senator Roger Marshall (KS) and his staff, and Senator Jerry Moran (KS) and his staff. Each visit included a warm invitation for the Representatives, Senators, and their staff members to visit our pharmacy in the near future.
In May, when Lisa and Dr. Andersen visited The Hill, they were honored to have extra time with Senator Roger Marshall (KS), and this fall we were able to do the same with Senator Jerry Moran (KS), including joining him for an intimate coffee. He has been a supporter of independent pharmacies long before becoming a Senator in 2010, as he grew up in the small town of Plainville, Kansas, where the local pharmacists play an invaluable role in healthcare. This respect for our profession and what we provide influenced him to co-found the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus. Because he comes home to Kansas every weekend, we are actively working to schedule a time for him to stop by O’Brien Pharmacy on his way back to D.C.
Lisa and Dr. Andersen were fortunate enough to attend other events on September 19th while in Washington D.C., allowing them to converse with customized medicine supporters. It started with a reception for Senator Ben Ray Lujan (NM), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, followed by attending a dinner for House Energy & Commerce Committee member Representative Richard Hudson (NC). The House Energy & Commerce Committee is the group which oversees and contributes to the majority of compounding legislation.
Our team also attended a Q&A session featuring the FDA’s Officer of Compounding Quality & Compliance Director, Gail Bormel. To the delight of the other pharmacists in attendance, Lisa used her time at the mic to set the record straight about safety and efficacy standards followed by compounding pharmacies — which result in quality compounded medications – as well as to point out pharmaceutical companies and their products greatly lack in comparison.
Upon the closure of Compounders on Capitol Hill, we were invited by long-time friend and pharmacist, David Miller, to help him in his advocacy attempts. Lisa donated two of her book which, upon arriving back home in Michigan, David presented as part of a small ceremony held at his store, Keystone Compounding Pharmacy, to Representative Diana Harshbarger (TN) and Representative John Moolenaar (MI). David felt Lisa’s book would provide them with information explaining the FDA’s actions and show the workings of how compounded bio-identical hormones are safe and effective. It was an honor to collaborate with David and to be a part of the bigger picture.
This is our second and final visit to The Hill this year, but rest assured we are and will continue to keep in touch with Representatives, Senators, and staffers on our practitioners’ and patients’ behalves. It is important we make time for visits and other forms of communication, as this is how our leaders are reminded of our focus and are inspired to take action. As Lisa said, “I wish everyone could meet and spend time with their Members of Congress. It would give people the opportunity to realize regardless of political party, we are often on the same page. I think it would help heal tensions or the divide we all sometimes feel. I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my staff to be able to make these connections.”
We invite you to join us by reaching out to your Representatives, Senators, and their staff – and reach out often. Working together, we can secure our right to use compounded bio-identical hormones and other compounded medications, and our right to healthcare freedom.