A constant amid change: The spirit of the NACDS membership

It is nothing short of obvious that without the membership there would be no NACDS. Yet a related concept that is more intriguing — and hopefully more inspiring — is that NACDS would not be as great as it is without the membership.

Essentially, I am describing the difference between surviving and thriving. It is not NACDS’ style to survive because members show up out of habit. Rather, the culture of NACDS is one of intentional and energetic engagement by chains and suppliers alike. That engagement proves highly effective in equipping NACDS to respond to, and shape, current events for the good of the membership, for the good of our co-collaborators, and for the good of society.

A theme that will emerge from the 2017 NACDS Annual Meeting is the aggressive effort of NACDS to respond to tremendous challenges in the arenas of business, politics and policy. NACDS is thinking, in many ways, like a start-up and a think tank to meet these demands and maintain a proactive footing. As NACDS charges ahead to its 85th anniversary next year, consider the ways that the engagement of diverse NACDS members — chains and associates — are propelling the constant reinvention of NACDS.

  • The future of business relationships, which hold the future of consumer-focused innovation, will play out at every meeting table and session during the NACDS Annual Meeting and NACDS Total Store Expo — just as it did at the NACDS Regional Chain Conference earlier this year. From new insights and new connections to bold new plans based on existing relationships, the progress achieved under the banner of NACDS meetings and conferences is electric.
  • The NACDS Retail Advisory Board, or RAB, which advises the NACDS board of directors on front-end issues, has emerged as a true force multiplier of the strength of NACDS. The RAB is tackling important work focused on retailer-supplier innovation; trends from digital to millennials to multiculturalism; unique features of specific geographic markets throughout the United States; and fostering participants’ success at NACDS meetings and conferences. The dynamism and effectiveness of the RAB have become vital to the NACDS brand.
  • The NACDS board of directors and an array of NACDS committees, councils and task forces are injecting policy and pharmacy-practice knowledge into NACDS’ programming. From advocacy at all branches and levels of government to pilot programs in pharmacy-based point-of-care testing and in specialized medicine, NACDS’ initiatives are fueled by true wisdom from NACDS member-company representatives.
  • With thoughtful responses to carefully crafted surveys, NACDS members are contributing substantive insights about regulatory and compliance issues. This information will shape NACDS’ Pharmacy Compliance Roundtable for chain members that will once again be hosted at NACDS Total Store Expo. It also formed the basis for NACDS’ Regulatory Reform Initiative, which coincides with the nation’s current review of regulations that should be repealed, replaced or reformed. Similarly, member-provided information is aiding NACDS’ work to address various topics related to the new prescription drug supply chain policies.
  • To complement the highly successful NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program, NACDS is creating new and forward-thinking resources that will leverage the strong involvement of member companies. NACDS is packaging its policy issues as the NACDS Access Agenda. Members will be able to use the AccessAgenda.NACDS.org microsite to demonstrate to their elected officials the power and popularity of policy solutions that they can have confidence in supporting.
  • New and additional opportunities to foster collaboration within and beyond NACDS will emerge throughout the year and into 2018. Be on the lookout, and we will keep you informed.  

It is a truth that NACDS would not be as great as it is without the membership, and — in a more personal and compelling statement — NACDS would not be as great as it is without you. It is time, again, to write the future of this great industry and this great nation together. We look forward to engaging in this vital conversation right now at the NACDS Annual Meeting — and beyond.


Steve Anderson is the president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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