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From the Food Marketing Institute…
"Food retailers and wholesalers, especially those that operate and support 12,000 in-store pharmacies, strongly support the efforts in Congress to grant seniors a prescription drug benefit," said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), commenting on legislation that the House and Senate could approve as early as this week.

"We salute the members of Congress and the White House for crafting a meaningful drug benefit for those who need it the most. By harnessing the forces of free enterprise and by creating a fair marketplace for seniors and businesses alike, you are writing a new chapter in the history of health care. Food retailers and wholesalers are proud to play a part in this historic undertaking.

"By embracing competition, the legislation helps give seniors variety, value and ready access to the medications and the pharmacies they need," Hammonds said. "The legislation preserves for seniors the option to have their prescriptions filled locally and paid for within the Medicare program. Starting in 2006, with a government drug benefit, consumers can shop for the best coverage and service among retail pharmacies, drug companies, insurance plans, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), mail-order firms and others.

"One of its most important provisions preserves for seniors the opportunity to stay with their neighborhood pharmacist, who knows their health history, who can prevent adverse drug interactions and, who in food-store pharmacies, can provide nutritional counseling to complement their medical treatment."

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