Wakefern's Lane succeeds Albertsons' Mark Panzer
PALM BEACH, Fla. – Newly elected National Association of Chain Drug Stores chairman Chris Lane Tuesday affirmed NACDS’ commitment to “supporting all dimensions of today’s retail pharmacy,” declaring that “it’s an approach that makes NACDS — more than a trade association — an essential partner in our industry.”
Lane, executive vice president of Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite, delivered his remarks at the NACDS Annual Meeting business program. He accepted the chairman’s gavel from Mark Panzer, senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Albertsons Cos., who completed his one-year term.
Lane, who began his career as a pharmacist, noted that his respect for pharmacy dates back to his earliest years, and includes valuable lessons learned from both pharmacy practice and retail business management.
“I learned that a successful pharmacy was built on the relationships that pharmacists had with their customers,” Lane recalled. “Those interactions – between customer and caregiver – were the life blood of the business. Today, I believe the same thing holds true – it’s a caring and compassionate pharmacist who keeps customers coming back.
“While some aspects of the profession have not changed, the services performed by a pharmacist have. Today, pharmacists are administering vaccines, educating patients on chronic medical conditions and managing medication therapy. For many of our customers, pharmacists are among the most trusted health care professionals they engage with. Pharmacists are often the face of health care to many communities throughout the U.S.”
Noting the “full spectrum” of products and services available in NACDS chain members’ stores, in partnership with suppliers, Lane said NACDS’ offerings also have evolved.
He expounded, “A great example of this approach is in the makeup of this NACDS Annual Meeting. We have representatives from retail pharmacy, consumer products companies, technology and service providers. It’s important that representation is broad because when we receive input from all areas of our industry, we have a more informed point of view, all of our voices are heard, and we become a stronger, more agile association that can better serve its membership. We take the same ‘big tent’ approach at the NACDS Total Store Expo, which was created with the entire industry – and the totality of the consumer – in mind.”
Lane also emphasized that NACDS’ big tent approach applies to advocacy as well: “Whether you are a chain or associate member, your active engagement in supporting and promoting our Access Agenda and legislative efforts is essential if we are going to effectively navigate the future and win. Collaboration will get us there.”
He articulated advocacy priorities, which will continue to include:
• Strongly defend a patient’s access to prescription medicines while reducing their out of pocket costs – and defending the viability of pharmacies;
• Expand patient access to health care by expanding the services NACDS can offer. When the organization expands the scope of its business, it improves the quality of care to thousands of communities it serve;
• And, NACDS will continue the work it began to reduce opioid abuse while maintaining access to this essential medication. It has proven that pharmacies can be part of the solution.
Among these priorities, Lane specifically emphasized NACDS’ continued pursuit of direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fee relief, and other pharmacy reimbursement issues. These issues also were emphasized during Sunday’s business program.
Tuesday’s business program also included remarks by former speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan. David Pothast, U.S. chief customer officer at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., also spoke, and J&J supported the program. Similarly, Colin Mackenzie, region head of the Americas and area general manager of North America for GlaxoSmithKlineConsumer Healthcare spoke during Sunday morning’s business program, which was supported by GSK.