Patient Outcomes in Focus as Thrifty White's Narveson Assumes NACDS Chairmanship



April 23, 2013 (Palm Beach, Fla.) — In his first remarks as chairman of the Board of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), Robert J. Narveson emphasized the importance of shaping public policy to improve patient outcomes, and urged NACDS members to participate actively in realizing community pharmacy’s profession.

Narveson, president and chief executive officer of Thrifty White Pharmacy, delivered his remarks during a Business Program of the NACDS Annual Meeting. He left no doubt regarding his feelings for the pharmacy profession, saying “I hope my passion for pharmacy shines through, because it’s one of the most powerful motivators in my life’s work.”

He described the oath of the pharmacist and said “it’s worth asking if today’s approach to healthcare delivery, and today’s government policies, utilize the pharmacist to optimize the value of pharmacy.”

Narveson noted NACDS’ substantial progress in boosting awareness within the government of community pharmacy’s value, and in shaping public policy. He said that future advancement will require further evolution of government’s view of pharmacy.

“It’s the difference between one model focusing on outcomes and total healthcare spend, and another commodities-based model focusing only on drug spend and not the total healthcare cost,” he said.

He said the focus on outcomes and on the ability of pharmacy services to reduce total healthcare costs will continue to increase in significance with the aging of America, with the increase in covered individuals as a result of healthcare reform, and with the substantial costs associated with non-adherence to medication therapies.

“I often cite the words of the late C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States: ‘Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them,’” Narveson said. “Great statement! All we need is the access to the patient and programs that support adherence and we can make it happen.”

He described programs within his company — and within the diverse NACDS chain membership and through collaboration with NACDS associate members – that help to boost medication adherence. He also provided examples of the public policy agenda that can help in this area.

Narveson noted specifically legislation to enhance medication therapy management (MTM) accessibility within Medicare Part D; expansion of the role of pharmacists in accountable care organizations and other new delivery models; a keen focus on the implementation of healthcare reform; and enhanced oversight of Medicare Part D network operations, including preferred networks.

To help realize the full potential of community pharmacy in improving patient outcomes, Narveson noted the importance of hosting members of Congress for pharmacy tours through the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program.

“Those who write our laws and formulate our rules need to see our stores, so they can see pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare,” he said, noting the power of seeing in action today’s pharmacy services such as MTM, immunizations, brown bag medication reviews, hospital discharge programs, medication synchronization programs, and regular pharmacist-patient touch points.

“When they see these services, and the relationship between customers and their local pharmacists, it becomes clear we can serve as the front line of healthcare and the first opportunity for prevention, and reduce healthcare costs for the customer,” he pledged.

Narveson noted the importance of working through NACDS to help realize pharmacy’s full potential for the good of patient care.

“In any industry, there’s not going to be total agreement on every issue,” Narveson said. “But what unites us is much, much stronger than any differing view. And what unites us all — the patient and the consumer – is worth fighting for together.”

Reflecting the priority that NACDS places on chain-supplier relationships, Narveson recognized the engagement of Roberto Marques, Company Group Chairman, North America, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumers Companies, who supported and spoke at this morning’s NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program. Similarly, Colin Mackenzie, president, GSK Consumer Healthcare North America, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, supported and spoke at Sunday morning’s NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program.

Today’s Business Program also featured a keynote address by Robert M. Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011 and served eight presidents in national security and intelligence capacities. Another Business Program highlight was a presentation by the Belmont University 2012 Enactus World Champion team. Enactus — former Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) – is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better and more sustainable world.

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