DENVER — The emerging trade war that the White House is waging against much of the world could jeopardize gains retail pharmacy leaders have made in transforming their businesses and the industry, Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said last month in welcoming retailers and suppliers to the business program of the association’s sixth-annual Total Store Expo.
The bite of tariffs is already being felt in rising costs for billions of dollars worth of products, packaging and equipment, Anderson said. “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.”
This year’s Total Store Expo served as an opportunity for NACDS and its members to call upon political leaders to halt the trade war. “We are telling this story to Washington decision makers through a concerted communications campaign this week,” Anderson said in his remarks. “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, giving the local angle [results of a survey of Denver residents showing broad concern about and opposition to the emerging trade war], and we are working to tell this story through the coalitions that are active on the issue,” Anderson said.
“Last year, retailers and suppliers worked together — successfully — to fight the border adjustment tax. That proposal, which threatened consumers, workers, and businesses, was defeated,” he said. “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.”
That message was consistent with the business program’s overarching theme — NACDS’ commitment to the success of its retailer and supplier members amid times of dramatic change.
Mark Panzer, NACDS chairman and senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Albertsons Cos., spoke of 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,” he told attendees.
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.”