Incoming NACDS chairman John Standley of Rite Aid takes stage at Annual Meeting, emphasizes partnership

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Taking the stage as the newly elected National Association of Chain Drug Stores chairman during Tuesday morning’s business program at NACDS Annual in Scottsdale, Ariz., Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley stressed the value NACDS provides its members and emphasized the importance of partnership throughout the industry.

“This is a critical point in time for the chain drug industry. Healthcare delivery is undergoing historic change, placing unprecedented demands on our business while presenting enormous opportunities to grow,” Standley said after accepting the gavel from Bob Narveson, president and CEO of Thrifty White Pharmacy, who concluded his one-year term as NACDS chairman. “As our individual companies deal with these dramatic changes, my objective today is to ensure that everyone — especially our associate members — understands and appreciates the valuable role that NACDS plays in helping us navigate this new healthcare landscape.”

Incoming NACDS chairman John Standley accepts the gavel from Bob Narveson, president and CEO of Thrifty White Pharmacy, who concluded his one-year term as NACDS chairman

In outlining some of the opportunities facing the industry, Standley talked about how Rite Aid, for example, is focused on transforming the company from a traditional drug store chain into a retail healthcare company.

“Those are carefully selected words — retail healthcare company. Other chains here would state their mission in similar terms. These words reflect the expanded role that community pharmacy is already playing through expanded services like immunizations, retail clinics and medication therapy management,” Standley said. “But these words also reflect a vision for the future that redefines what a drug store can be and how we can find new ways to provide care beyond prescriptions.”

Standley discussed how the rapidly changing healthcare environment has forced pharmacy retailers to think differently about core business models, and how to best support the needs of customers and patients.

At Rite Aid, for example, this has resulted in the Rite Aid Health Alliance program, which provides one-on-one interventions with patients.

“What is unique about this program is how pharmacists, in-store care coaches and local physicians work together to support the patient in achieving his or her wellness goals. This team-oriented approach provides additional support to patients between doctor’s visits and further motivates them in taking steps to improve their health,” Standley said.

Aside from emphasizing company initiatives that include partnerships with other local healthcare providers, Standley also noted partnerships with suppliers of pharmacy and front-end products.

Standley said that NACDS is “leading the way in educating policy-makers about the expanded role of community pharmacy and making sure that our voice is heard during key policy debates. … And if you think about it, these issues fall into one of two categories: maintaining our current business model for pharmacies and setting the stage for our business model of the future.”

He described NACDS efforts to advocate for fair Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, for “provider status” for pharmacists and for improved access to medication therapy management services, among other issues.

Beyond government affairs, Standley described the value of NACDS meetings and conferences to the industry’s evolution, such as the Regional Chain Conference in February, the Annual Meeting and the Total Store Expo in August. Also, later in the year, there’s NACDS Week in New York City.

During his remarks, Standley acknowledged Caitlin Pappas, VP, U.S. consumer sales, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Cos., who supported and also spoke at Tuesday morning’s NACDS Annual Meeting business program.

During her presentation, Pappas shared some of the struggles and learnings that J&J has encountered in this new healthcare environment.

“What we’ve learned is, first and foremost, hire someone who really understands the Affordable Care Act and use them to rip it apart and help you find opportunities to grow your business and improve health outcomes in the United States. … Be open to new ideas for Millennials; they are a big consumer group who want very different things to improve their healthcare. And technology is great, particularly if it can save consumers time and increase healthcare compliance,” Pappas said.

Steve Anderson of NACDS talks with former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Wrapping up Tuesday’s program was a keynote address by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who also served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and chairman of the House Budget Committee.

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