Health-and-wellness tops program agenda
DENVER – The business program of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo today emphasized NACDS’ commitment to the success of retailer and supplier members amid times of dramatic change. It also delivered a compelling message to Washington, D.C. decision makers and opinion leaders that the emerging trade war jeopardizes business’ efforts to transform and thrive in ways that benefit employees and consumers.
NACDS chairman of the board Mark Panzer, senior vice president, pharmacy, health and wellness of Albertsons Companies, described the value that NACDS members appreciate most. “In short, it’s about business community and intelligence, it’s about effective government advocacy, and it’s about powerful and practical information on policy,” Panzer explained.
Regarding business community and intelligence, he described his personal experience of benefiting from relationships within his company and from collaboration with business partners. He said companies can take this to the next level by achieving “the vision that the NACDS Total Store Expo can foster conversations for the entire store: pharmacy and the front-end; health and wellness; technology; distribution and logistics.”
Panzer also drew from his experience in describing NACDS’ value in government advocacy. “I learned something in the early days of my career that reinforces the importance of advocacy,” he said. “What I learned, and what is reinforced for me every day, is just how important pharmacy is to people or patients, and to the communities they serve. Pharmacy is worth fighting for.”
He provided an update on NACDS’ progress on the “Access Agenda” – which involves playing aggressive offense and tough defense on pressing issues, while serving as a working partner for stronger and safer communities.
He described successful work throughout 2018 in expanding pharmacists’ immunization authority, fostering medication synchronization, and enhancing the ability of pharmacists to furnish medications. He also reported on the status of NACDS’ work with the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Grocers Association and other allies to advance direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fee reform.
On the topic of opioid-abuse prevention, Panzer described progress on NACDS’ policy recommendations – including requiring electronic prescribing to help stop fraud and abuse. “It was not that long ago that NACDS was on the leading edge of urging and collaborating with the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow e-prescribing of controlled substances. Now, it’s not just about allowing it – which took effect in 2010. Now, we’re working to mandate it. We have moved from a question of ‘may’ to a question of ‘mandatory,’” he observed.
This year, five states have enacted mandatory electronic prescribing legislation, bringing to 11 the total number of states with an NACDS-backed mandate. Legislation is pending in four additional states. Progress is being made at the federal level as well, as the U.S. House of Representatives and a Senate committee have passed the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (H.R. 3528 and S. 2460).
In addition to echoing Panzer’s focus on DIR fee reform and on expanding pharmacy’s ability to serve patients with newer services, NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson, announced during the business program NACDS’ unique approach to leveraging the NACDS Total Store Expo as a call to decision-makers and opinion-leaders in Washington, D.C. to avert the emerging trade war, which he said “has already involved tariffs on billions of dollars of goods, and has targeted hundreds of billions of dollars more.”
“The emerging trade war is on the minds of those doing business here at the NACDS Total Store Expo, and on the minds of consumers,” Anderson said. “Diverse products, packaging and equipment already are being affected. There are increased freight costs, too. This matters to the entire supply chain. It affects the products on store shelves; it affects the process of getting those products to the shelves; and it even affects the shelves themselves, given rising steel costs.”
Anderson released the results of a survey of Denver residents, commissioned by NACDS and conducted by Morning Consult, which found:
- 65% are concerned about retaliatory tariffs imposed on the U.S. by other countries;
- 76% say they fear increased prices – especially on healthcare products;
- 62% are concerned about job losses across industries;
- 49% say tariffs will hurt Colorado’s retail industry;
- 62% prefer more free-trade agreements, and only 18% prefer tariffs as a matter of trade policy.
“From here at the NACDS Total Store Expo, we are telling this story to Washington decision-makers through a concerted communications campaign this week,” Anderson said. “Morning Consult is blasting our information through its publications, and sending our data to decision-makers and influencers in the nation’s capital. We are sharing this with the Denver and Washington, D.C. media. The Denver Business Journal has published an opinion piece by NACDS and by the Colorado Retail Council on this topic. I want to thank the Colorado Retail Council for partnering with us, given the local angle, and we are working to tell this story through the coalitions that are active on the issue.
“Last year, retailers and suppliers worked together – successfully – to fight the border adjustment tax. That proposal, which threatened consumers, workers, and businesses, was defeated. It is time to take up the fight on the trade war again. We are sending that message loud and clear. And there could not be a better venue for making the case than right here.”