Community Pharmacy Takes Center Stage at NACDS

Published Online: Monday, August 29, 2011
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Speaking at the 2011 National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Pharmacy & Technology Conference yesterday in Boston, Walgreen Co. Divisional Vice President, Government and Community Relations Debbie B. Garza, RPh, highlighted the important role played by community pharmacists in providing quality patient care.

“There is no greater value in healthcare delivery than community pharmacy. When I talk of value, I am not talking just about all that community pharmacists do every day to help reduce drug spend. Though that is important, pharmacy’s value goes so much deeper,” said Garza. “It is about community pharmacy—and the expertise of pharmacists—as a true partner in a comprehensive and collaborative approach to healthcare. It is about improving patient health, while delivering part of the solution to driving down health costs across the spectrum by preventing more costly forms of care.

She urged attendees to “engage in new ways to help create the future success of the entire pharmacy industry,” and to emphasis to decision-makers the value of community pharmacy in delivering patient care and reducing costs.

“Together, we have a powerful story to tell. We need to stand up. We need to tell it. To the extent that we do just that, I am convinced that healthcare delivery will be all the better for it,” Garza stated.

Another speaker, NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, underscored the value that community pharmacy offers to patients and payers—both public and private. Community pharmacy “is an industry whose future vision is nothing short of transformative—with the ability to fashion a more cost-effective, more efficient and more successful healthcare delivery system,” Anderson said. However, he believes it is also an industry for whose viability is constantly being challenged.

“Everyone needs to understand something about pharmacy: we are not going to back down on the central argument of our industry,” Anderson noted. “By keeping patients healthier and preventing the need for more costly forms of care, pharmacy lowers costs across the board. And to arbitrarily cut prescription drug costs is to see other costs—even greater costs—pop up in other places.”

Anderson described North Carolina’s ChecKmeds NC program, in which face-to-face medication therapy management (MTM) services for Medicare patients have delivered return-on-investment of $13.55 for every $1 invested.

He also reported on the progress of “transforming NACDS into a more powerful and focused association” acting on members’ behalf.

The organization, he said, “is the nexus of where business, politics and public policy come together, for the betterment of the industry, but more importantly, for the betterment of the American people. NACDS has filled a vacuum, and added value, through better collaboration with our allies, more spirited communications, grassroots advocacy, impacting elections through the NACDS Political Action Committee (NACDS-PAC), and creating a focus on winning in federal and state government affairs by shaping legislation and regulations, and battling in the courts when needed.”

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