US Capitol Building

McKesson’s Unique Public Policy Perspective

McKesson understands that the decisions made by policymakers can have a profound impact on our industry. With businesses and customers that span all settings of care, McKesson has a 360-degree view of the healthcare system.  We are actively engaged in numerous public policy issues that impact our operations, and those of our customers.

Our Public Affairs team operates at the intersection of healthcare, policy and politics on behalf of the company.  Our role is to establish and strengthen governmental relationships with federal, state and local elected and government officials and educate them on McKesson’s operations, our role in healthcare and the unique perspective we offer.  We participate in trade associations and industry groups as well as professional organizations to build key relationships that we leverage in our public policy work.

Public Policy Approach

Public policy at McKesson is an important business strategy and our mission is to work with our business unit partners to effectively impact the outcome of public policy actions taken by federal, state and local government.  While mitigating risk in the policy environment is a vital part of what we do, there is a growing imperative to deliver added value to the businesses through the unique insight and forecasting we bring with proactive policy engagement.

Only by staying ahead of the policy curve and helping to shape the environment in a way that best supports the needs of our customers, the patients they serve and a more efficient, quality-driven healthcare delivery system, can we ensure that McKesson’s policy brand enhances our overall value proposition and competitive position.

Engagement and Collaboration

McKesson plays an active role in educating elected officials and policymakers about the solutions we offer to improve patient safety, reduce the cost and variability of care, and improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. Through tours of our distribution centers and visits to pharmacy and hospital customers, policymakers can better understand the steps we take to assure the safe, efficient and rapid distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical-surgical supplies and the tools and technology solutions we provide our customers to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare.

Selected Policy Engagement

Public policy issues important to the company, to our customers, and to our mission of improving the quality and delivery of healthcare include the following:

Security of the Supply Chain

Safe medicines are a critical component of effective healthcare. Patients should have access to these lifesaving treatments without having to worry about the safety of the medication. A robust and secure medication delivery infrastructure is critical to achieving efficiency, safety and quality. McKesson is committed to innovative solutions that will make the nation’s pharmaceutical supply chain, already the safest in the world, safer and more secure. We were actively engaged in and support the recent enactment of the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013. This law creates a uniform national standard for drug supply chain security that will make a safe distribution system even safer.

We are leaders in collaborating with manufacturers to test and implement carrier technology that will trace pharmaceutical products from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the pharmacy. We are collaborating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state agencies to refine requirements for the implementation of these uniform standards for the traceability of pharmaceutical medicine distribution.  McKesson leads by participating with the FDA, GS1 and the Healthcare Distribution Alliance in the development of standards to facilitate the data exchange requirements of the Drug Quality and Security Act.

To comply with the current requirements of the Drug Quality and Security Act, McKesson provides customers with transaction information describing the product being transacted, transaction history which details the required information on the history and source of the drug and a transaction statement attesting to McKesson’s compliance with the Drug Quality and Security Act.

Solutions for Prescription Drug Abuse

Our nation is suffering from a dangerous and growing opioid epidemic which shatters lives, families, jobs and productivity every day.  This multi-faceted problem must be addressed through a comprehensive approach that includes the doctors who write the prescriptions, the pharmacists who fill them, the distributors who fill and deliver pharmacies’ orders, the manufacturers who make and promote the products and the regulators who license the above activities and determine supply.

McKesson is fully committed to working with all stakeholders to protect the supply chain and prevent diversion while ensuring service to patient needs.  With a broad view of healthcare and customers across industry and government, McKesson is uniquely positioned to advocate for a comprehensive set of policy and business solutions that could significantly slow the abuse and diversion of opioids, to the benefit of patients and their families.

Read about McKesson’s specific solutions contained in our white paper on opioid abuse.

Healthcare Reform for the Future

Our nation’s healthcare problems are significant, but not insurmountable. Imagine if the American people had more access, paid less and received better care? That goal is not impossible. But it will take leadership and bipartisan cooperation among policymakers.  Here are six recommendations to improve our nation’s healthcare.

1. Change the way we connect our healthcare system

Our healthcare system is fragmented.  Doctors in one office cannot talk to specialists in another, medical records are incomplete, and settings of care such as pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and hospitals are often disconnected from one another and unable to share critical patient information. Improved connectivity of our healthcare system will reduce the cost and improve the quality of care for patients.

2. Change the way we deploy our clinical workforce

Our healthcare workforce is both overburdened and underutilized. As America faces an aging population with a growing number of chronic conditions, experts say that our country could lose as many as 100,000 doctors by 2025.

While many doctors are concerned about their workload, senseless regulations prohibit other medical providers from delivering high quality care that could mitigate the pressure. For example, pharmacists in one state cannot administer vaccinations, yet pharmacists in other states are allowed to do so by state law.  We must do more to preserve the critical relationship between patients and their primary care physicians, while at the same time recognizing that pharmacies and other lower cost settings of care are often the critical first line of defense for patients.

The country’s current regulatory policies are often inconsistent and redundant. Licensing rules can make it extremely difficult for a clinician to move from one state to another and be able to practice in their new state. To provide more access to care, we need to explore ways that would shift care to lower-cost and more accessible settings of care.

3. Change our focus to evidence-based medicine

Evidence-based medicine can be a major tool to improving the quality of care and reduce the variability of care.  Some studies say that as many as one third of knee surgeries in the U.S. are clinically unnecessary, and other surgeries vary from year to year and geography by as much as a factor of twenty. 

4. Change the way we pay for and budget for healthcare

The pace of healthcare spending in this nation is simply unsustainable. We expect to see an average growth rate of 6% for healthcare expenditures for each of the next ten years. And by 2025, experts say healthcare costs will account for up to one-fifth of our GDP.

In recent years, we’ve seen an industry-wide effort to move toward value-based care as a way to improve care by rewarding a healthy outcome rather than just an episode of care. Changing how we pay for care, based on outcomes and not sheer volume of doctor or hospital visits, could fundamentally change our system to the benefit of patients and their families.

5. Change the way we regulate healthcare

Federal and state governments regulate healthcare, which often results in unintended consequences that can bog down providers, slow the pace of innovation, drive up costs and reduce quality outcomes for patients.

6. Change the way we consume healthcare

The effort to reform our healthcare system cannot succeed unless we include consumers in the equation.  More informed consumers who have more choice and more reasons to stay healthy will be empowered to make choices about payment for care. 

Read about McKesson’s specific policy recommendations to reform healthcare.