Wasson, Anderson address NACDS’ policy goals

PALM BEACH, Fla. — “We are writing history, and you are historic figures.” That was a key message that Steve Anderson, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO, had for community pharmacy during Sunday morning’s business session at NACDS Annual Meeting as the association celebrates its 80th anniversary. Prior to Anderson taking the stage, Greg Wasson, out-going chairman of the NACDS board and president and CEO of Walgreens, made his state of the industry remarks.

Wasson discussed the key developments over the past 12 months that reflect the positive standing of community pharmacy services, but also called for ever-strong participation, innovation and communication going forward. Wasson urged for continued participation in the NACDS RxImpact Day, for community pharmacy to encourage more policymakers to visit pharmacy locations and for further contribution to the NACDS Political Action Committee. Wasson also highlighted the importance of the upcoming Total Store Expo.

“NACDS is absolutely on the right track, and we’re headed in the right direction, which is positioning community pharmacy as the face of neighborhood health care. And I can assure you that the association is transforming itself as all of us are transforming our businesses as well,” Wasson told attendees of the business program, which was supported by GlaxoSmithKline.

Making this year’s keynote address was author and journalist Daniel H. Pink, who shared his insights on the art and science of selling and the “ABCs” of moving and persuading others.

Kicking off his state of the association address, Anderson read from a 1938 progress report delivered by then-NACDS secretary F.J. Griffiths of Pennsylvania Drug Co. and reflected on the first five years of NACDS.

Anderson then held up NACDS’ approach to the current rendition of healthcare reform as an example of living up to the NACDS founders’ vision for an aggressive and forward-thinking association, and Anderson discussed what he sees as a key challenge — inconsistency in government policy.

“I have talked before about our all-branches and all-levels of government approach to advocacy. Now we must go deeper: beyond reaching every branch of government to reaching — and convincing — every bastion of government, each entrenched corner of Congress, governmental departments and agencies that holds to its own beliefs, despite the existence of a better way,” Anderson told attendees. “Today’s era of healthcare reform makes my case. Here’s my proposition for you this morning. The healthcare reform experience has validated the proactive approach of NACDS. Yet our successes expose ever-greater challenges that lie ahead.”

Anderson told attendees that, while the industry has celebrated such significant advancements as the Congressional Budget Office’s recognition that increased medication adherence in Medicare Part D generates savings and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services talking publicly about the importance of boosting adherence as a Medicare cost-saver, there’s still much work to be done.

“There’s that matter of inconsistent policy that I talked about. We got hit with an example of that just 10 days ago — when the Obama administration released its fiscal year 2014 budget proposal,” Anderson said, referring to the proposed changes in the calculation of federal upper limits for Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement under average manufacturer price.

Anderson stressed that NACDS will continue to defend against new attempts to cut Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, will work to further advance medication therapy management and will maintain an aggressive member communications campaign.

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