Inside This Issue - News
Hurricane Irene doesn’t stop NACDS Rx conference
September 12th, 2011
BOSTON – Mother Nature took a shot at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy and Technology Conference here late last month, but in the end was unable to derail the premier event for leaders in the retail pharmacy business.
Hurricane Irene’s progress up the East Coast during the first two days of the meeting reduced attendance, with a number of registrants either choosing or, in some cases, being told by their companies to stay home. After the storm passed through New England, where it had minimal impact on Boston, a surge of late arrivals joined those who had been there since Friday, August 26.
The conference itself unfolded on schedule, offering the customary combination of compelling business programs, informative education sessions, and numerous other opportunities for pharmacy retailers and suppliers to engage in fruitful interaction.
In addition to presentations by NACDS chairman Bob Loeffler, who is also chief administrative officer at H-E-B; NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson; and Debra Garza, divisional vice president of government and community relations at Walgreen Co. and the conference chairwoman (see adjacent story), attendees heard former Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt deliver the keynote address, IMS Health vice president of industry relations Doug Long assess trends in the pharmaceutical industry, and Surescripts president and chief executive officer Harry Totonis talk about the positive and growing impact of electronic prescribing.
Meet the Retailer sessions on Saturday enabled suppliers to gain a better understanding of the strategic direction at such companies as H-E-B, Walgreens, Rite Aid Corp., Supervalu, the Chain Drug Consortium and Topco. Meet the Rx Market brought retailers and suppliers together for 10 minutes at a time to discuss new products and services.
Those activities and numerous education sessions — which covered the full gamut of issues affecting community pharmacy, including Medicare Part D Star ratings, the role of pharmacy and pharmacy benefits design in improving medication adherence, and how companies can avoid the pitfalls of social media — were rounded out by meetings between exhibitors and retailers on the show floor.
Paradoxically, the attendance problem created by Hurricane Irene worked to the benefit of the executives who did make it to the event. The vast majority of showgoers reported that constructive engagement was the order of the day, with meetings taking place in a less hectic environment than usual at a conference of this size.
Small retailers and manufacturers gained more than anyone else. Gaps in schedules opened up unexpected opportunities for them to connect with their counterparts at large companies.
The bottom line is that, for those in attendance, the NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference did what it was supposed to do — facilitate meaningful dialogue among decision makers in a vital part of the nation’s health care system.