NACDS Urges Involvement in Reform Debate at Conference

The 52nd annual NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference kept health care reform at its forefront, with association leaders calling for continuing involvement on the part of those in the pharmacy industry.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) met in Boston, Massachusetts, August 8-11, at the 2009 Pharmacy&Technology Conference. This marks the 52nd year the association has brought together the industry's leading retailers and suppliers of healthcare products, pharmacy technology, software, and innovative goods and services. More than 300 leading companies were represented in the exhibits, and 125 retail companies comprised of chain drugstores, supermarkets, and mass merchants were represented by their executives.

NACDS Chairman Andy Giancamilli, CEO, North America, Synders Drug Stores Inc, urged pharmacy leaders to stay focused on the critical role of the pharmacist in the health care debate. He pointed to the fact that the pursuit of innovation in the delivery of health services and the adoption of health information technology, a part of the pharmacy business from the beginning of the profession, are critical to a more cost-effective health care system. He said, "I want to deliver a strong message to Washington, DC, and to the state capitals. The profession and the industry of pharmacy that I know is one all about innovation and that should be empowered to help deliver the accessible, affordable, high-quality, patient-centric care that they are pursuing."

NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson also called on the membership to get involved, follow the debate, and join in with the initiatives of the association, which has become an effective advocate on behalf of pharmacy's interests in the policymaking arena. The organization has supplied testimony before several congressional panels, cohosted a Capitol Hill briefing on medication therapy management (with the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Iowa Pharmacy Association), as well as participated in regional White House forums on health care reform.

Closing the very active educational and networking conference was a ceremony that awarded the Harold W. Pratt Award to industry leader John "Jack" L. Fish, Sr, vice president of channel management and pharmacy solutions for the United States for GlaxoSmithKline. Fish is a member of the NACDS Foundation Board of Directors and serves on the board of directors for the Pharmacy Quality Alliance. This annual award recognizes individuals whose activities have contributed to the promotion, recognition, and improvement of the practice of pharmacy within the chain drug industry.

Two additional honors-the NACDS-PAC (Political Action Committee) Politically Engaged Pharmacy (PEP) and the NACDS RxIMPACT Leadership of the Year awards-highlight the politically active year in pharmacy and health care. The first ever NACDS-PAC PEP Award, given to Kinney Drugs Inc, is presented to a company or individual who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the advancement of pharmacy through political engagement. The 2009 NACDS RxIMPACT Leader of the Year award was presented to SUPERVALU for its efforts to enroll employees in the RxIMPACT Team grassroots program that promotes the resources propharmacy advocates need to take a stand for better health care.