Support the necessary       340B drug program

To The Sun:

Some may question my motives in writing this letter. I would like to make a full disclosure in saying half of my salary comes from Labette Health and half from Bowen Pharmacy. That being said, I have had the greatest opportunity in working for three of the five retail pharmacies in Parsons and with the Labette Health pharmacy. The two pharmacies that I have not been employed by I have worked with as a fellow pharmacist, and I hope that they would consider me a friend, as I consider every pharmacy and pharmacist in town and the surrounding regions. As a staff person, I have been treated with respect and fairness from all. As a community member, I recognize the great importance these pharmacies, especially the locally owned pharmacies, have in our community. Even in the wake of COVID-19, these businesses have remained kind and generous. The statement that “Amazon doesn’t support your kids’ ball team” has exponentially more meaning than just that. 

In the past few years, I have seen an unprecedented attack on pharmacies, especially independently owned pharmacies. This not only makes me sad as a pharmacist, but as a community member. I would challenge someone to come up with one important event in the lives of Southeast Kansas community members that doesn’t have some level of participation by one of the pharmacies in our area or Labette Health. The sponsorships are everywhere. I see it every day as my fellow pharmacists support not only medication and medical needs, but our recreational, educational and mental health needs.

For the last few years I have worked part time at Labette Health and part time at Bowen Pharmacy. Both of these positions heavily involve a pharmacy-based program called 340B. Until recently, 340B has largely been a bipartisan supported program that began in 1992 with the Bush administration and was expanded by the Obama administration. This program allows hospitals with a high percentage of Medicaid and supplemental Medicare patients to stretch scarce financial resources to reach more eligible patients and provide more comprehensive services. There are many low income and rural health needs that have been addressed and met by this program at virtually no taxpayer expense. Labette Health is able to provide access to care that would otherwise be impossible through this program. Many other entities including Community Health Centers, HIV clinics, children’s hospitals, cancer centers and Native American health care, and others rely heavily if not fully on this program. Currently five of the most profitable drug manufacturers are attacking this program. The most profitable industry in our country, estimated to have a gross profit of $11.5 trillion in the past 18 years, is threatening our non-profit hospitals and community pharmacies. Please take action to stop these attacks. I urge you to contact your lawmakers and ask them to protect our hospitals and community pharmacies and preserve the 340B program. — TRACY GILMORE, Parsons

Blood drive brings in 99 units

To The Sun:

Congratulations to the Parsons area bloodmobile participants. After the poor turnout in June, I did not know what to expect at the August blood drive held on Aug. 13 and 14 at the high school cafeteria. But the community responded in a very positive manner. The group rebounded from a total of 63 units donated in June to a total of 99 units at this drive. That is awesome. It makes me proud to be associated with this group of wonderful people.

During this drive those reaching gallon levels are: Laura Hummer, 10 gallons; Linda Proehl, nine; Gypsy Brackney, four; Carol Bush, two; and Stacie Becker, one. First-time donors included Missy Page, Maurice Dodd, Fred Davis, Becky Gress and Tonya Phillips. Also at this drive, Rick Pearce was awarded a Red Cross 20-gallon T-shirt for previously reaching that lofty plateau. When you see these people, congratulate them on their accomplishments.

The next blood drive will be held at the Arvon Phillips Community Center on Oct. 14 and 15, sponsored by Labette Community College. Please contact the Red Cross for appointments if possible. It is becoming more and more difficult to work in walk-ins and still avoid long waiting times. But if you can only walk in, please don’t hesitate to try.

We will do all we can to accommodate everyone willing to donate. If you have  any questions, please call me at 778-6483, and I will try to find some answers for you. Thanks. — DEAN CRAMER, Parsons blood drive coordinator

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