John Kerry Discusses Bipartisan and International Support Needed to Resolve Pharmacy Issues

Former Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the need for bipartisan and international support during a business session at the 2019 NACDS Total Store Expo in Boston.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the need for bipartisan and international support during a business session Sunday at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' 2019 NACDS Total Store Expo in Boston. NACDS President and CEO Steven Anderson and NACDS Chairman of the Board Christopher Lane also spoke about the need for attendees’ support around issues such as Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fee reform and opiate misuse.

Anderson, IOM, CAE, described several of the efforts by NACDS to enact policy changes around DIR fees and addiction. He outlined how DIR reform language was not included in the final draft of the Medicare rules released last May, but said he remains hopeful because the Senate finance committee included some DIR fee reform in a draft of a drug pricing bill last month.

“DIR fees are phantom fees,” said Anderson. “They’re inflating patient’s drug costs and they’re squeezing pharmacists out of business.”

He continued to emphasize the organization’s role in other issues such as opioid abuse, saying that pharmacists’ roles could not be overstated.

“It is imperative that we continue to emphasize pharmacy’s work as part of the solution to the opioid abuse epidemic,” Anderson added.

Effective pharmacy actions include compliance programs, drug disposal solutions, patient education, and much more. Public policy recommendations from NACDS include electronic prescribing regulations, drug disposal legislation, supply limits for acute pain care, prescription drug monitoring plans, health plan designs, and specific pain management legislation.

Kerry also spoke about legislative concerns, but on a much larger scale. The world is moving faster, he said, but systems of governance around the world are failing to keep up. About the pharmacy and pharmaceuticals industry, Kerry said he expects to see continued pushes for legislative changes.

“We’re going to continue to see disruption and we’re going to continue to see a struggle,” he said.

Without bipartisan efforts and understanding, however, Kerry said governance would continue to fail. The greatest accomplishments in history have only occurred because of a national and international understanding of their importance.

For example, he said, the world is on the brink of the first generation of children born in Africa AIDS-free, thanks to bipartisan work and efforts on the part of medication experts like pharmacists.

Solving problems such as DIR fee reform, opiate addiction, epidemics, and climate change all require international effort and leadership, Kerry concluded.

“There’s no way to solve the problems of today’s world without being deeply engaged in today’s world as a leader,” he said. “We can solve these problems if we choose to.”

Reference

Anderson S. Lane C. Kerry J. General Business Program. Presented at: NACDS Total Store Expo in Boston, MA; August 24-26, 2019. https://tse.nacds.org/schedule/. Accessed August 26, 2019.