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National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) chairman Robert D. Loeffler, chief administrative officer of H-E-B, emphasized the “new normal” of NACDS – as taking the higher standard of member value that has been established in recent years and taking it to an even higher level, he noted during his inaugural remarks before attendees at the 2011 NACDS Annual Meeting today.
Loeffler delivered his remarks during the Business Program that also featured Jeffrey C. Strong, global president and chief customer officer for Johnson & Johnson Group of Consumer Companies; and Gary Hamel, author and visiting professor with the London Business School.
"From now on, the NACDS staff and board of directors is interested in creating the next level of success for you – through NACDS – in the areas of fostering business community, government affairs, and communications,” Loeffler said, adding that this will be accomplished through substantial public policy victories, success in communicating the story of pharmacy, and innovations in member programs and services, including NACDS meetings.
Noting the challenges that lie ahead for pharmacy, Loeffler stressed foremost the need for “active diligence” in engaging with federal and state lawmakers, recognizing that the task of educating policymakers on the value of pharmacy will never be complete. He discussed the challenge of communicating to the “budget chiefs” in Washington how pharmacy-based strategies to improve medication adherence can translate into healthcare savings, as well as pharmacy’s need to continue defending against additional cuts to pharmacy reimbursement.
To assist in overcoming these challenges, Loeffler urged all attendees – suppliers and retailers - to utilize the resources offered through the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program, which was developed to assist in communication with elected officials.
“For those of you who are in the business of researching and developing medications, and helping to improve and save lives, know that NACDS stands with you in creating a public policy environment…and a business climate…that helps patients stay on their therapies and achieve better outcomes,” he said. “And, for those of you in the business of selling consumer goods, I believe the advancement of legislation and policy that strengthen pharmacy, such as the medication adherence platform, contributes in a big way to having healthy retailers.”
Loeffler highlighted the work of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board as an example of how the Association is engaging with retailers and suppliers to help foster business opportunities that can deliver solutions for NACDS members.
In closing, Loeffler expressed optimism for the future of pharmacy, stressing that if pharmacy is to see continued recognition for its value, it needs to “seize” the opportunity to achieve that bright future for retail pharmacy.
“Nobody is going to just give it to us…and in fact it could be taken away,” said Loeffler. “NACDS needs all of us to engage, and remain engaged, in this effort – whether you are a chain, or a supplier of consumer goods, medications, or services.”
NACDS represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies – from regional chains with four stores to national companies. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.6 billion prescriptions annually, which is more than 72 percent of annual prescriptions in the United States.