The new chairman of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores sees a "new normal" in terms of the level of value the retail pharmacy trade group provides its members.

National Association of Chain Drug Stores, NACDS, new chairman, Robert Loeffler, 2011 NACDS Annual Meeting, retail pharmacy, H.E. Butt, pharmacy, health care, RxImpact, Jeffrey Strong, Gary Hamel, medication adherence, pharmacy reimbursement, grassroots advocacy, NACDS Retail Advisory Board, NACDS Foundation, 2011 Pharmacy Partners Scholarship Program, Edith Rosato, pharmacy students, pharmacy school, Pharm.D

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Annual Meeting: NACDS embraces 'new normal'

May 3rd, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The new chairman of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores sees a "new normal" in terms of the level of value the retail pharmacy trade group provides its members.

In his inaugural remarks as the new chairman Tuesday at the 2011 NACDS Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., Robert Loeffler, who also is chief administrative officer at H.E. Butt Grocery Co., said this higher standard of value for NACDS chain and associate members has been established in recent years through key public policy victories, effective communication of pharmacy's role in health care, and innovations in member programs and services, including NACDS meetings.

"From now on, the NACDS staff and board of directors are interested in creating the next level of success for you, through NACDS, in the areas of fostering business community, government affairs, and communications," Loeffler stated. He delivered his comments Tuesday during the Annual Meeting's Business Program, which also featured Jeffrey Strong, global president and chief customer officer for the Johnson & Johnson Group of Consumer Cos., and management expert Gary Hamel, author and visiting professor with the London Business School.

Pointing to the challenges ahead for pharmacy, Loeffler highlighted the need for "active diligence" in engaging with federal and state lawmakers to educate policymakers about the value of pharmacy. He also discussed the challenge of communicating to the "budget chiefs" in Washington how pharmacy-based strategies to improve medication adherence can produce cost savings in health care, as well as convey the industry's need to guard against more cuts to pharmacy reimbursement.

To those ends, Loeffler urged all attendees — suppliers and retailers — to leverage the resources available through the NACDS RxImpact grassroots advocacy program, which he said can assist in "delivering your voice to elected officials."

"For those of you who are in the business of researching and developing medications, and helping to improve and save lives, know that NACDS stands with you in creating a public policy environment — and a business climate — that helps patients stay on their therapies and achieve better outcomes," Loeffler explained. "And, for those of you in the business of selling consumer goods, I believe the advancement of legislation and policy that strengthen pharmacy, such as the medication adherence platform, contributes in a big way to having healthy retailers."

As an example, Loeffler cited the work of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board to illustrate how the association is engaging with retailers and suppliers to foster business opportunities that can deliver solutions for NACDS members.

In closing, Loeffler noted that if pharmacy wants to see continued recognition for its value, the industry must seize the opportunity. "Nobody is going to just give it to us — and in fact it could be taken away," he remarked. "NACDS needs all of us to engage, and remain engaged, in this effort whether you are a chain or a supplier of consumer goods, medications or services."

Also on Tuesday at the Annual Meeting, the NACDS Foundation announced the awarding of $319,000 in scholarships through its 2011 Pharmacy Partners Scholarship Program.

The scholarship program provides awards of $1,000 to $20,000 to each pharmacy school's scholarship fund to help pharmacy students working to achieve their professional doctorate degree in pharmacy (Pharm.D.). This year, the foundation provided scholarship assistance to each of the nation's 124 accredited pharmacy schools and colleges in the nation.

The seven largest scholarships were awarded as follows:

• $20,000 Apotex Corp. Wayne Roberts Memorial Scholarship awarded to Concordia University School of Pharmacy.

• $12,500 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. Scholarship awarded to University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

• $10,000 Abbott Pharmaceutical Products Division Scholarship awarded to Husson University School of Pharmacy.

• $10,000 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to Creighton University Medical Center School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.

• $7,500 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to Long Island University Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

• $7,500 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to Harding University College of Pharmacy.

• $7,500 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to College of Notre Dame of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

The 2011 Pharmacy Partners Scholarship Program was supported by a charitable group of 27 benefactors, comprised of NACDS chain members and associate members.

"Due to the overwhelming support of our benefactors, the NACDS Foundation has had the distinct honor of providing nearly $3 million in scholarships since the program's inception in 1997," Edith Rosato, president of the NACDS Foundation, said in a statement. "This staggering amount is quite a testament to the commitment to education on the part of the pharmacy and pharmaceutical industries. Their generosity reflects a passion for the next generation of pharmacy — pharmacy students."