U.S. Senator Joni Ernst visited Grundy Center’s Main Street Saturday, stopping at The Natural Grind for coffee and a cinnamon roll, chatting with business owner Katie Lewis at 319 Décor+Design, discussing current legislation with pharmacist Dave Stefl, and rounding out the tour with lunch at The Landmark Bistro.

The visit came as Ernst nears the end of her 99-county tour: Grundy was the 95th county she’s visited this year. While Ernst spoke about agriculture and impeachment proceedings in an interview at the conclusion of her visit, her focus centered around challenges faced by small businesses.

“She came in and her comment as she walked up was ‘I am here to try to understand from a grassroots perspective the problems and issues pharmacies are facing by talking to local pharmacists,’” said Dave Stefl, owner of Manly Drug Store.

Stefl spoke with Ernst about the problems he faces with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) blocking patients from receiving generic medication, and issues with direct and indirect remuneration fees (DIR).

“All of those things are impacting small rural pharmacies to the point where, and this is what I’ve experienced here in Iowa, we’ve had a number of small pharmacies close because they can no longer afford to serve their patients. So that’s probably the biggest concern we’ve heard today,” Ernst said.

To read the article in The Grundy Register, click here.