I can hardly believe that I will once again have the distinct honor of facilitating a discussion with an impressive panel of industry leaders from both the retail and supplier side in this, my tenth appearance as moderator of Drug Store News’ Annual Diabetes Forum.
Change is constant in our industry: mergers, acquisitions, competitive newcomers, economic challenges, healthcare reform, governmental restrictions and an aging population. For as much change as we have endured, there remains a daunting challenge for the healthcare system at large that has far-reaching implications. And that is the maintenance of healthy lifestyles to prevent chronic conditions — such as diabetes.
I believe it is incumbent upon each sector of the healthcare value chain to raise awareness and focus on prevention. Chronic conditions are crippling our society and affecting our ability to provide quality care at an affordable price. Such chronic diseases as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. These diagnoses account for 7-of-every-10 deaths and affect the quality of life of 90 million Americans.
Although common and costly, many chronic diseases are preventable. It begins with lifestyle choices that are within the power of individuals to change. Nutritious eating, physical activity and avoiding tobacco are steps everyone can take to avoid these conditions. And, even if an individual is already living with diabetes, heart disease, arthritis or another chronic condition, eating more healthful food and getting more exercise can go a long way toward better managing the illness, avoiding complications and prolonging life.
I’ve often wondered what it would look like if we could transform retail pharmacy to focus on prevention rather than on treating the sick. Could a diabetes-focused category be merchandised that begins with diet and exercise rather than blood glucose meters and test strips? Do you think this could place a much-needed spotlight on the progression of a chronic condition like diabetes and change lifestyles?
Hamacher Resource Group vice president Dave Wendland, a 20-plus-year retail industry veteran, is a popular presenter and discussion facilitator available to speak at corporate and association events on a variety of retail-related topics. HRG is a research, marketing and category management firm specializing in consumer health care at retail. Product manufacturers, healthcare distributors, retailers, technology partners and others rely on HRG for strategic and creative solutions to help build their business. Learn more at www.hamacher.com.