Industry speeds toward future of total health and wellness
BOSTON – NACDS Chair Brian Nightengale, president, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, and National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson on Sunday welcomed back NACDS-member retailers and suppliers to the highly anticipated NACDS Total Store Expo here.
Nightengale and Anderson kicked off the Business Program at the conference this morning with an emphasis on the industry’s rapid acceleration toward the future of total health and wellness — spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic — and united through NACDS.
During his remarks, Nightengale described NACDS chain and supplier members’ collaborative and ongoing work to permanently redefine how the industry serves patients and consumers — and the role of NACDS as a strong catalyst for this transformation. He explained:
“Although [NACDS] is collectively diverse, we stand united in a common cause: to transform the pharmacy industry into a force greater than the sum of its parts. Together, we constitute the most accessible, most trusted, and most affordable healthcare destination in America. As such, we seek an expanded role within our country’s health and wellness ecosystem.”
Nightengale and Anderson both went on to detail the momentum that continues to build for priority issues of NACDS, including:
- Maintaining Americans’ access to critical pharmacy-based services beyond the COVID-19 pandemic by passing the bipartisan Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (HR 7213);
- Defending patient care by pursuing policy solutions intended to help ensure fair and adequate pharmacy reimbursement;
- Expanding pharmacies’ role in the delivery of health and wellness solutions — across the pharmacy and the total store;
- Leveraging pharmacies’ unique position in the healthcare ecosystem as the most accessible, most trusted face of neighborhood healthcare — and capitalizing on opportunities for collaboration between chains and suppliers to advance new and innovative ways to reach patients and consumers.
Anderson said, “NACDS has been at this a long time: advancing pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare. The pandemic confirmed our case, and re-doubled our resolve. These issues are accelerating now because people know that retailers and suppliers were there when it mattered most – with accessible and equitable care.”
In describing the bold new NACDS initiative — “NACDS 2023” — Anderson quoted a recent JD Power survey illustrating the acceleration of retail health and the American consumer’s evolving perception of the industry’s role in their own health and wellness journey. The survey said, “Customers are embracing retail pharmacies as hubs for broad health and wellness services. It’s an opportunity for retail pharmacies to innovate as a one-stop shop for routine care.”
Nightengale said of the initiative, “NACDS 2023 will focus on a Board-driven priority: defining our organization’s future role in helping the membership serve consumers in new and innovative ways. This initiative will emphasize the pharmacy industry’s comprehensive approach to health and wellness – in the pharmacy, throughout the total store, through creative partnerships, and far – far – beyond.
“Whether you’re a supplier or retailer, I’m confident you’ll find it relevant to the way you do business and connect with consumers … As we build out the NACDS 2023 strategy, we remain active in advancing consumer-empowered, community-focused health and wellness.”
As an example, NACDS is coordinating with the Biden Administration on how the NACDS membership can best support the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health — particularly given the industry’s priority focus on core health and wellness issues such as food as medicine, chronic disease prevention, health equity, and addressing social determinants of health.
Looking ahead to the 90th anniversary of NACDS, Anderson and Nightengale closed their remarks with emphasis on the momentum and acceleration that has been achieved, at the federal and state levels, on issues of vital importance to pharmacy viability and patient health — and the collaborative work that must continue into 2023.
Anderson said, “When you think of pharmacy services, broader health and wellness services, and reimbursement, these are issues we’ve long fought for – and we’ve achieved much. These are issues that are accelerating. And these are issues that deserve wins for the American people.”
Nightengale declared, “NACDS remains a force greater than its individual parts – which is especially important during times of rapid change. We will continue to evolve through relationships so that, collectively, we can share ideas, formulate winning strategies, and move ahead.”
Today’s Business Program also included remarks by former United States Secretary of the Treasury, Lawrence Summers.
Summers said of pharmacy, “You are ready to help our country be a leader in health again — and I thank you for that.”