Conduct a pharmacy tour


Planning the tour

Often your Federal legislator is in his or her district office during congressional recesses, which are especially good times to schedule a pharmacy tour. Below is a list of usual congressional recesses:

President's Day Recess (February)
Spring Recess (March/April)
Memorial Day Recess (May)
Independence Day Recess (July)
Summer Recess (August to Labor Day)
FaIl/Winter Recess (November to January)

State legislative recesses vary throughout the country. Contact your state legislators' offices to determine the best time to meet.




Visits by legislators to your pharmacy are an effective way for you and your staff to build relationships with legislators. Pharmacy tours illustrate first-hand how your processes relate to legislative issues.

The following guidelines will help you plan a successful pharmacy tour:

  • Determine the objectives for the visit: Decide what issues you want to discuss and how best to link the issues visually with the pharmacy operations. Find out if the legislator has particular interests.
  • Issue the invitation in writing: Offer a range of dates to accommodate busy legislative schedules; dates during congressional recesses are especially appropriate.
  • Announce the legislator's visit to all employees: Once the tour is confirmed, promote it throughout the pharmacy by distributing a brief biography of the legislator and information about his or her importance to the pharmacy.
  • Arrange for photographs during the tour: Work closely with the legislator's press aide on publicity and news coverage.
  • Provide the legislator with information about your pharmacy prior to the visit: For example, include the total number of employees, facts about your pharmacy such as the number of scripts you fill a day, month or year, number medicare or Medicaid clients or any other facts that would illustrate your presence in the community.
  • Choose the tour guide with care: Likely the tour guide will be you, the pharmacist. But if you choose another person, make sure the guide is articulate, knowledgeable about pharmacyoperations as well as issues that concern the pharmacy, and knows by name everyone the legislator is likely to meet.
  • Map out the tour: Develop a tour schedule and route that illustrates the objectives you set for the visit. You may want to demonstrate an actual customer MTM interaction or other customer transaction. Know when the legislator has to leave, and allow for extra time if the legislator wants to remain longer in one location.
  • Rehearse the tour the day before: It may be helpful for participants to answer possible questions to prepare for issues the legislator might raise.




Conducting the tour

A tour is an appropriate and useful way to educate legislators. The following tips will assist you in conducting a tour to meet your objectives:

  • Begin the visit in your office: Provide the legislator with an overview of important facts about your pharmacy's facilities and the tour, including environmental and energy problems and outlays, standards and advances in health and safety, and new products and equipment.
  • Talk in quiet areas along the way: Provide the legislator with an economic profile, including number of employees and amount of payroll, taxes, and local expenditures for materials and services. Be careful to avoid overwhelming the legislator with more technical or economic data than an interested layperson can absorb.
  • Be sure to introduce employees the legislator encounters during the tour: Remember, employees are the legislator's constituents. Also be sure to introduce all those with whom the legislator has a personal or political relationship as well as all grassroots program participants.
  • Conclude the tour with a meeting: A discussion provides an opportunity to answer the legislator's questions and reemphasize key messages and legislative issues in detail.




Tour follow-up

To build on the relationship established by the tour, below are suggestions for follow up activities:

  • Send a thank you note to the legislator: Always thank the legislator in writing. Reiterate the points discussed during the visit.
  • Forward electronic versions of photographs taken during the tour to the legislator and press secretary.
  • Send press clips about the visit that appeared in local newspapers and internal publications to the legislator and their press aide.
  • Update the legislator continually on developments in your pharmacy or on new health developments that you believe may be interesting to the office: Take care to thoroughly inform him or her of how the pharmacy will be affected by current legislative proposals.
  • Stay in frequent touch.
  • Take note of accomplishments, honors, or significant events in the legislator's career.
  • Continue to discuss issues of interest: Offer to meet with the legislator's staff and serve as a resource on industry issues. Follow up when your legislator visits the district again.