Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. - At the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Regional Chain Conference today, Greg Wasson further intensified the call for community pharmacy's future that has defined his chairmanship of NACDS.
Wasson, president and CEO of Walgreen Co., described recent findings of NACDS opinion research, the current public policy environment, and healthcare trends. He said that tailwinds and headwinds alike create the need for community pharmacy to "unite behind NACDS, and push like never before."
He cited immunizations and vaccinations as examples that "people are ready for community pharmacy to take on a greater role - the time is right."
"Five years ago, we weren't even in that space. Today, pharmacists are the leading provider of immunizations and vaccinations. How many more services can we help provide?" Wasson challenged.
New pharmacy services figure prominently in the "push-pull of community pharmacy" that Wasson has fueled as NACDS chairman. "Consumer demand is pushing us to drive and accelerate the role community pharmacy plays in healthcare," he said. "And our nation's need for new, innovative solutions to help solve our healthcare crisis is what's pulling our industry to step up."
Emphasizing the role of NACDS in advocating for community pharmacy and in fostering collaboration and innovation among the membership, Wasson said, "What makes NACDS so strong is the diversity of its membership, from traditional drugstores to grocers with pharmacies, from regional chains to large chains."
Wasson said he has challenged NACDS to apply this strength to pursuing a regulatory change to recognize pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part D.
Saying "NACDS is only as effective as our direct involvement," Wasson also urged attendees to engage in NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, March 13-14 in Washington, DC.
He also characterized the industry excitement surrounding the debut of the new NACDS Total Store Expo, August 10-13 in Las Vegas. "This is the first time we are bringing all aspects of the business together under one umbrella," he said. "I can tell you, at NACDS Week in New York City in December, suppliers were very excited."
Wasson's remarks built on similar enthusiasm for the NACDS Total Store Expo voiced by David Cippel, president of Klingensmith’s Drug Stores, Inc., who began the morning with remarks as chairman of this year's NACDS Regional Chain Conference. Cippel defined the Regional Chain Conference and the draw for regional chains at the NACDS Total Store Expo as a "promise kept."
"NACDS said it would continue to innovate the Regional Chain Conference to ensure it stays on the cutting edge of member service. I don't know aout you, but I think this conference program has emerged as one of the strongest yet," Cippel said. "I also want to recognize that NACDS has done a wonderful job in ensuring that we - the regional chains - have a home at the very exciting NACDS Total Store Expo. Six months out, about half of the chain companies at this meeting already are registered for the Total Store Expo and are helping to comprise an impressive collection of retail in the United States. And 80 percent of the exhibit space already has been claimed by our partners, the suppliers in this room."