Community pharmacies need support from lawmakers

An underreported feature of the COVID-19 recovery effort is the critical role of community pharmacies. Throughout the pandemic we’ve provided care, prescriptions, COVID-19 tests, household supplies and life-saving counsel to patients and customers of all kinds. Now, we are on the front lines of vaccine administration.

Like most, we’ve had a tough time running our business during the pandemic. There is an ocean’s worth of bureaucracy and paperwork that must be completed on a daily basis, just for our pharmacists to get the medication patients need.

We must also deal with Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) who — because of their size and lobbying power — can force us into one-sided contracts, creating major regulatory headaches and keeping us from receiving proper reimbursements.

Along with hardworking and compassionate pharmacists and staff, we rely on pharmacy services administrative organizations (PSAOs) to run our business.

These entities are not known to the average person, but they often play a behind-the-scenes role in our business success and helping you get your medications when going to your local pharmacist.

Community pharmacies are critical to pandemic recovery, and to continued health and wellness when the pandemic is over.

In the same way we’re supported by PSAOs, we need support from lawmakers to ensure our survival. Our communities will be better for it.

Chad Duke

Pharmacist, Mast Pharmacies

Prison gerrymandering hurts Granville voters

Prison gerrymandering prevents fair representation in local communities by counting incarcerated people where they are imprisoned instead of their home communities. As Granville County redraws its county commissioner and school board maps, local officials must end the practice of prison gerrymandering and instead create fair maps ensuring equal representation for all Granville residents.

Unfortunately, contentions by The Dispatch’s editors that “voting rights outweigh prison-gerrymandering concerns,” while well-intentioned, miss the point of how prison gerrymandering actually dilutes voting rights in their community and the home communities of incarcerated people.

In Granville County, the way prison gerrymandering erodes resident’s voting power is not hypothetical. Commission District 3, as last drawn in 2010, included more than 40% incarcerated people. This means that people in Granville’s remaining six districts are under-represented on the County Commissioners Counting prison populations means that a resident in District 3 has almost double the representation of residents in other districts.

Until the U.S. Census Bureau changes its policy toward incarcerated people, the best solution to prison gerrymandering is for local communities to exclude incarcerated individuals who, unlike college students, are not where they are by choice nor able to vote.

Granville County’s residents deserve equal representation and fair maps that reflect genuine constituent relationships between residents and their local electeds. Prison gerrymandering prevents this.

Granville County should end this practice during the 2021 redistricting cycle. Granville’s residents deserve nothing less.

Hilary Harris Klein

Attorney, Southern Coalition for Social Justice