NACDS launches new advocacy campaign

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores today announced it is launching an ambitious advertising campaign as part of what organization leaders describe as an increasingly proactive outreach to policy makers.

The ads feature the tagline: “Pharmacies. The face of neighborhood healthcare.” The focus is on services provided by pharmacists, including convenience, accessibility, expertise, prevention of drug interactions and patient counseling. 

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson unveiled the ad campaign at the annual NACDS Regional Chain Conference here. “Today, we are announcing a major campaign to tell our story like never before,” Anderson said. “We are turning up the volume on this central message: Pharmacies are essential to health care.”

A coordinated, “inside the Beltway” advertising and public relations effort will target Capitol Hill, the White House, the media and opinion leaders in Washington. NACDS will launch the campaign beginning next month in local publications, in transit settings with high commuter visibility, on drive-time radio and online.

While pharmacists and pharmacies already enjoy a positive image, Anderson said this goodwill does not translate consistently into appropriate treatment in healthcare policy. He said pharmacy could be utilized more effectively to address issues of concern, including the estimated $177 billion in annual direct and indirect costs that result from failure to take prescription drugs as prescribed. 

“I believe we are even better equipped, and better focused, to tell the true story of this industry, and to turn this testament into results for your businesses, for the patients and consumers you serve, and for the good of the nation,” he told regional-chain pharmacy leaders at the conference today 

In line with the ad program, Anderson called on members at the event to redouble their lobbying and outreach efforts with local representatives and policymakers, and said the organization has developed a new toolkit for its members to encourage grassroots advocacy. 

“NACDS member advocacy was a key ingredient in the pharmacy victories achieved in 2007,” he told conference-goers. “Continuing our grassroots efforts in 2008 is imperative—we know the critical issues that we face, we have a united voice, so let’s keep speaking. They are listening.” 

Anderson cited the role of grassroots advocacy in 2007 in efforts to block pending Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement cuts, acquiring a six-month delay in implementing the requirement that all Medicaid prescriptions be written on tamper-resistant prescription paper and enactment of legislation that will preserve access to retail pharmacies for military members and their families in the TRICARE health program.

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