Advocating in Albany
Students lobby senators for bill advancements on Pharmacy Lobby Day
The scene: hundreds of P1-P4 white-coated pharmacy students. The venue: The Hart Lounge and Auditorium at the EGG in Albany, New York. The speakers: New York State assemblymen, and presidents of pharmaceutical societies.
It’s Pharmacy Lobby Day, if you haven’t already guessed.
On April 21, 2015, Touro College of Pharmacy students and faculty members traveled to Albany, New York to meet their legislature members and advocate for pharmacy practice bills.
After introductory presentations and welcoming remarks from government representatives and pharmacy industry leaders, student groups met with their respective legislative members from Harlem and the surrounding districts. The teams advocated for the renewal and expansion of the Collaborative Drug Therapy Management (CDTM) bill, which would allow pharmacists and physicians more flexibility to collaborate on managing their patients’ specific diseases. “We’d like more areas where we can practice together—not only in teaching hospitals (which we have approval for now) but also in long-term care facilities and community pharmacies,” said TCOP Associate Professor Eva Berrios-Colon, who accompanied the group to Albany with Professors Vinnie Dam, Dipan Ray, Ankit Desai, Charnicia Huggins and Catherine Millares-Sipin.
Pharmacy students also lobbied for more flexibility associated with the Immunizer bill, which would eliminate the cumbersome red tape involved in granting pharmacists approval to vaccinate patients. Currently, pharmacists have authority to administer immunizations for influenza, pneumonia, meningitis, and shingles—but not Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) vaccines, explained Dr. Berrios-Colon, “and we want that flexibility. It’s a big roadblock for some pharmacists to get approval.”
Anthony Metzger, P2 student, said that the experience inspired him to begin visiting his local politician’s office to continue pushing bill advancement.
“I feel that we really made a difference,” he said.