NASHVILLE — State Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) has been selected by a group of independently-owned pharmacies from across the country for a national award given to a state legislator who has gone “the extra mile” in advocating for pharmacy issues. Overbey will receive the “Heavy Hitter” award given by EPIC Pharmacies, a co-op of over a thousand independent stores in the U.S., which pride themselves as patient-centered alternatives to corporate pharmaceutical chains.
“Senator Overbey indeed is a champion for retail pharmacies and has worked hard to protect community pharmacies so they can serve the vital needs of the citizens in Tennessee,” said Martha Gentry, who represents the organization in the Tennessee General Assembly.”
Among legislation heralded in his nomination for the award were two bills Overbey led to passage this year in the State Legislature. One bill addresses the problem of opioid addiction by establishing a voluntary drug disposal program, while the other exempts blood testing supplies from the state’s sales tax. Overbey had fought for exemption of the sales tax on diabetic testing supplies for several years previous to its passage.
“In my thirty years working with state legislative advocacy, I cannot identify any legislator more dedicated to making an issue become a reality,” Gentry continued. “This exemption benefits diabetic customers, certainly. But, it also saves time for pharmacists who will no longer have to answer the question multiple times each day, “why is my insulin exempt from sales tax but my test strips are not.”
“I am honored to receive this award from independent pharmacies which have played such a great role over the years in providing excellent care for our citizens,” said Senator Overbey. “I especially appreciate their recognition of the passage of Tennessee’s new law exempting diabetic testing supplies from the sales tax which we hope will help encourage self-monitoring of this disease.”
Overbey will receive the award at a national meeting of the group which is set to take place Sept. 11-13 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.