Although I’ve been to the capital numerous times before as a child, during high school, and as a pharmacy student during the Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA)-sponsored legislative days, never before have I seen more of the capital and members of the legislature as I did while following the CEO of MPA, Ron Fitzwater, and the two Pharmacists of the Day, Randy Meents and Clark Kebodeaux. We started off at MPA headquarters and discussed the big topics we planned to hit upon with representatives of the House and members of the Senate. It was decided to hit upon three main bills: the bill to create a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in Missouri; the bill to have Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) update their Maximum Allowable Costs (MAC) list in a timely manner; and the bill to increase the number of vaccinations pharmacists can administer under physician protocol as well as to decrease the age of patients which can have vaccines administered by a pharmacist under physician protocol to 7 years. Finally, we set off walking toward the capital, a little over a block away.
Once at the capital, we caught up with a few representatives to talk to from Dr. Meents’s and Dr. Kebodeaux’s respective districts. Some agreed to be pulled from the floor while others could be found at their offices. The first representative we talked to was very welcoming in hearing us out. Afterward, he was quick with a clever remark and had a strong sense of humor, discussing other issues outside of our bills and some of the quirks of other legislative members. All in all, a good guy with a good sense of humor, and willing to hear us out on two of the bills in the House. Since the PDMP bill was already out of the House committee, we thanked him for his help in that. We kept moving from representative to representative as best we could as their schedules don’t always leave a lot of time between, well, anything.
Moving over to the Senate side was quite interesting as the halls and offices were much quieter. That being said, it was also harder to track down some of the Senators we were attempting to speak with. Some we were able to find after a while, while some were too preoccupied with other Senatorial duties to be seen today. We did manage to communicate with a few, as well as get a brief discussion with Sen. David Sater, a former House Representative, and also a pharmacist from Cassville, MO. Unfortunately, he was only able to give us a few moments before he had to get back to his duties. Around lunchtime and between meetings with the legislative members, we did attempt to attend the hearing for the immunization bill, but the time of the hearing didn’t sync up with the meetings schedule, and we had to abandon the hearing room before the bill was brought up.
All things considered, it was still a productive day. We were able to discuss our points on the big three bills, we were able to gauge some of the Representatives and Senators feelings on the bills, and we were able to set up some good correspondences with the various members. All of the legislative members were very considerate and friendly and all had some time and a story or two to share with us despite their busy schedules.
PharmD Candidate 2014
UMKC School of Pharmacy
Missouri Pharmacy Association Rotation Student, March 2014