NACDS Leadership Explains Their Role in Healthcare

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Session at NACDS Total Store Expo leadership discusses NACDS initiatives and world events.

During a session at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo in San Diego, California, NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, FASAE, CAE, IOM; NACDS Chair Michael Wysong, Chief Executive Officer of CARE Pharmacies Cooperative, Inc.; and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan discussed the history of NACDS along with world events in pharmacy.

Street view of pharmacy | Image credit: Karrrtinki - stock.adobe.com

Street view of pharmacy | Image credit: Karrrtinki - stock.adobe.com

“We wake up every day with the clear knowledge of what we're fighting against, and a clear purpose of what we're fighting for. If you look back at the first many years of NACDS, there were common ideas of what NACDS discussed. These commonalities included a passion for pharmacy and retail. A relationship between the retailer and the supplier. This industry collectively bond with the American consumers,” said Anderson.

Anderson noted that NACDS was created in 1933 during The Great Depression, with the goal of creating an important service to provide to the public. The founders believed that drugstores should remain open for longer rather than shorter hours the better provide much-needed services to the public. When patients were not able to access their doctor during times of financial hardship, they would go to the nearest drug store.

Anderson presented an example of this access during the COVID-19 pandemic. When things seemed hopeless and uncertain, he said America’s pharmacists relentlessly provided aid. He cited research showing that 300 million COVID-19 vaccines were administered by pharmacists with a commitment to a healthy America.

Anderson added that NACDS has contributed to this success and plans to do more in the future by partnering with health and wellness stakeholders to broaden the role for pharmacists across the country. He stated that the association is on the leading edge of these issues, including the key issue of improving access for physical and mental health.

Wysong then reviewed the association’s short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals include maintaining patients’ access to pharmacy services that were created during the pandemic. Another goal to maintain access includes stopping pharmaceutical industry tactics that Wysong said risk pharmacy viability.

Wysong then addressed opportunities where he has represented NACDS, seeking occasions to ensure success on their goals. Wysong traveled to various places to discuss medicine and diet-related illnesses, collaborated with independent pharmacies and chain associations, and aided minority pharmacy leaders on how to provide for underserved communities.

Keynote speaker Peggy Noonan then highlighted her experiences with her pharmacy during the pandemic. Noonan noted that she is from Manhattan and has been a patient at her local pharmacy on Madison Avenue for almost 30 years. The staff has not changed during that entire period and Noonan said she believes that no one knows you like your pharmacist.

“I would go on my walks past the 90th Street pharmacy and through the big plate glass window I could see my pharmacist behind the counter. I would stop on the sidewalk, and I would salute him, and he would see me from the corner of his eye, and he would turn from the counter and salute me back, both of us being half comical and half serious. I wrote about it during the pandemic in the Wall Street Journal, our little of ritual of respect. I didn't tell him I was writing this, but he saw and put it in a piece of plastic and kept it on the counter in the pharmacy for all their customers to see,” said Noonan.

Anderson concluded that successful pharmacy stories like this one drive the 90-year legacy and remaining future triumphs for NACDS.

Reference

Business Program. Presented at: NACDS TSE Conference 2023. San Diego, California. August 13, 2023

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