PALM BEACH, Fla. The president of CVS/pharmacy took the helm of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ board Monday as its new chairman.
During his first remarks as chairman, made Tuesday at the NACDS Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., Larry Merlo said his interest in pharmacy began in high school and spoke of his study of pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh, his jobs at Thrift Drug and People’s Drug, when he first became involved with the NACDS, and his career with CVS and how teachers and managers helped fuel his passion for the industry.
He also talked about trends in pharmacy and challenges to healthcare reform, such as containing costs.
“As an industry, I believe we are positioned to help control the costs of health care by advocating for the value of what I’m going to call ‘pharmacy care,’” Merlo said. “Our strategy for ensuring the use of cost-effective medications is pretty clear; we need to promote adherence and effectiveness.”
Merlo’s speech included a video of stories of pharmacists and how they have improved and even saved patients’ lives; Merlo said similar stories play out daily at the pharmacies of NACDS member companies.
“There will be issues and challenges we will have to overcome, and through the NACDS agenda, we will continue to work hard to navigate through the complexities the future brings,” Merlo said. “There is more than unites us than divides us: It’s the value our pharmacists bring to the healthcare equation as well as the role they play in their communities; and it’s the trust exhibited and the emotional connection that we saw and felt in the video.”