NACDS Finds Optimism in Opportunities for Pharmacy

Despite current challenges, experts say opportunity for pharmacy is greater now than ever before.

Despite current challenges, experts say opportunity for pharmacy is greater now than ever before.

Throughout the Business Program of the 2014 National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo in Boston on Sunday, August 26, 2014, Rite Aid Corp Chairman and CEO John Standley; NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE; and Ben S. Bernanke, PhD, Former Chairman of The Federal Reserve System, reinforced the reasons for pharmacists to remain optimistic.

“If this moment in time cannot be called a renaissance of health, wellness, and consumer-focused retailing, then no time in our history will ever bear that name,” Anderson said. “The opportunity is greater right now than ever before.”

Anderson pointed out that opinion research recently commissioned by NACDS demonstrated growing support for new pharmacy services and increasing reliance on pharmacists as dependable information sources concerning prescription drugs, OIC medications, and health questions.

Expanding on that point, Standley, who is also Chairman of the NACDS Board of Directors, noted that collaboration between retailers and suppliers has helped pharmacies meet the needs of patients, as well as confront current issues in the pharmacy industry.

For instance, Standley related that Rite Aid’s relationship with supplier partners transformed as it became “highly focused on becoming a health and wellness destination, offering services like immunizations and patient counseling that went far beyond filling prescriptions” in order to improve engagement with patients.

“Our transformation is unique, but it also has similarities to what’s occurring at other retailers throughout our industry,” he said. “This is the perfect time for us to come together and challenge ourselves to be better, smarter, and more efficient in all aspects of our business. Our business is shifting and changing, and we must ensure that we change along with it.”

Although he eventually ended up in economics, Dr. Bernanke revealed that he is the grandson and son of pharmacists, so his first job was in the family pharmacy. In his keynote remarks delivered at the second annual NACDS Total Store Expo, Dr. Bernanke, who is currently a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at The Brookings Institution, shared his experience in leading the nation through some of its most challenging financial times, including the Great Recession.

“When you think about who’s best to forecast the nation’s economic and business climate, Dr. Bernanke is hands down the leading authority,” Anderson said. “Offering NACDS Total Store Expo attendees the opportunity to hear from national leaders such as Dr. Bernanke illustrates NACDS’ commitment to its members in providing timely and relevant programming to help retailers and suppliers meet with success.”

In addition to its morning Business Program, the Total Store Expo provided nearly 2 dozen educational Insight Sessions aimed at helping attendees navigate on a day-to-day basis the Affordable Care Act, emerging health care models, business planning, market trends, health information technology, and digital solutions.

One such presentation from Ilisa B.G. Bernstein, PharmD, JD, deputy director of the Office of Compliance with the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, focused on the implications of the new implementation phases of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act of 2014, while another educational program from leading cyber security experts offered solutions and best practices for protecting against potential data breaches.

“Your engagement is more than just ‘going to NACDS’ — in fact, you are NACDS,” Anderson explained to attendees during the Business Program. “NACDS is playing a major role in positioning this industry in this truly dynamic and historic time, (and) you are playing a major role in positioning this industry because you are NACDS.”