NACDS' Anderson urges embracement of pharmacy's ability to cut costs, improve lives

BOSTON — National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson emphasized the value of pharmacy for payers and patients, and hailed the industry as one whose “future vision is nothing short of transformative,” during his remarks at Monday morning's business session at the NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference.

Placing community pharmacy in the context of crises facing the country and the world, Anderson emphasized its collaboration with payers to help reduce healthcare costs, while cautioning that the evaluation of healthcare economics must be conducted with a comprehensive view of patient-focused pharmacy services.

"This is an industry whose future vision is nothing short of transformative — with the ability to fashion a more cost-effective, more efficient and more successful healthcare delivery system," Anderson said. "But still, this is also an industry for whose viability we need to fight at every turn."

Among programs he highlighted was ChecKmeds NC, a program in North Carolina in which Medicare patients have access to face-to-face medication therapy management services that have delivered a return on investment of $13.55 for each $1 invested.

"While we understand the situation and recognize the need for immediate savings, everyone needs to understand something about pharmacy: We are not going to back down on the central argument of our industry," Anderson said. "By keeping patients healthier and preventing the need for more costly forms of care, pharmacy lowers costs across the board. And to arbitrarily cut prescription drug costs is to see other costs — even greater costs — pop up in other places."

Anderson also touted NACDS' progress in transforming into a "more powerful and focused association" acting on members' behalf. "NACDS is the nexus of where business, politics and public policy come together for the betterment of industry, but, more importantly, for the betterment of the American people. NACDS has filled a vacuum and added value through better collaboration with our allies, more spirited communications, grassroots advocacy, impacting elections through the NACDS Political Action Committee and creating a focus on winning in federal and state government affairs by shaping legislation and regulations and battling in the courts when needed,” Anderson said.

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