One of my biggest complaints with the profession of pharmacy is a general lack of political involvement. Pharmacists tend to not be politically active. But one pharmacy school is taking an interesting step to help resolve that problem.
According to the University of Houston’s student paper The Daily Cougar, a student run political action committee (PAC) has been organized at the UH College of Pharmacy. The goal of the new PAC is to foster relationships between pharmacy students and local representatives.
A pharmacy focused political action committee isn’t something new. Several of the larger pharmacy organizations including the APhA have PACs. I’ve worked for a couple of employers that have also created their own PAC. But a pharmacy school based PAC is not as common.
Getting future pharmacists to understand the importance of the political system and how it impacts the profession of pharmacy is a very good thing. Politics matters whether we like it or not. It’s better to accept that fact rather than ignore the political process and simply hope for the best.
Pharmaceutical companies spend lots of money for lobbyists and have their own PACs. Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) do the same. There is no reason why pharmacists shouldn’t also make our voices heard in some sort of official capacity.
I think this story from a school newspaper is an encouraging sign. It’s good news for the profession if future pharmacists are taking the initiative to become more politically active.
Pharmacists can make a strong case for our existence and the expansion of our roles in the healthcare system. But if the right people don’t hear our message, we will risk becoming marginalized or worse.
I have contacted local politicians regarding issues I thought were important that were related to the profession of pharmacy. I thought it was important to voice my concerns and to let my representatives know what issues are important to me.
Having organized PACs with specific agendas and goals can be more imfluencial than just one individual contacting a politician. We don’t just want to speak our minds. We need people to listen.
And it’s not enough to merely contact politicians. We must focus our efforts and spell out specific concerns and problems to them. Our futures may depend on the right person hearing what we have to say.
I’d just like to wish the UH College of Pharmacy’s PAC good luck. You have the support of one pharmacist. I think it’s important that students are getting involved. I just hope we all will follow your lead.
The Redheaded Pharmacist