Mr. Anderson is president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).
This is a great time to be joining the ranks of America’s pharmacy community. With policymakers in Washington, DC, set on reforming our nation’s health care system, the time is right for pharmacy to get engaged, and as you look to your future, we look to you to continue to advance the industry and our trade.
Pharmacies are the face of neighborhood health care, providing accessible and convenient health care services throughout America’s communities. Patients view pharmacists as one of their most trustworthy health care providers. From performing immunizations and health screenings to medication therapy management, pharmacy is indeed trusted and respected. Pharmacy must also stand ready, however, to meet the challenges of a health care system that is in need of reform.
To meet those challenges, we need to create a culture in which the pharmacist becomes a pharmacist-advocate. A pharmacist-advocate is armed with the practical knowledge and expertise of counseling patients on taking their medications properly, while also understanding the industry’s challenges, and communicating them to their elected officials.
Just this past June, NACDS hosted its inaugural RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill. Pharmacy executives, retail pharmacists, pharmacy deans, and pharmacy students gathered in Washington to urge policymakers to support pro-patient, pro-pharmacy provisions in health care reform, including Medicaid reimbursement reform, and the enhancement of medication therapy management services. I am happy to say that more than 150 pharmacy advocates in white coats from more than 30 states held meetings with lawmakers—making a lasting impression that pharmacists are ready to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
Just as these NACDS pharmacy-advocates stormed the halls of Capitol Hill, I urge you to get involved, and get engaged in the future of pharmacy—be it with NACDS RxIMPACT, joining a social or business association on campus, writing an op-ed in your newspaper, or even attending a legislative town-hall meeting.
We look forward to seeing you in your white coat next year, and for many years to come, at a future NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill—because, together, we will position pharmacy primed for the future.