The National Association of Chain Drug Stores conference offered a cross-industry approach that focused on the entire store. In the exhibit hall, special attractions included Vision 2028, which featured new and future technologies, concepts and products. In addition, there were 7,500 prescheduled meetings between participating retailers and suppliers as part of the popular Meet the Market program.
The were also some compelling presentations by retailers and collaborators during the Meet the Industry program, the Supply Chain Summit and the NACDS Institute and Compliance Roundtable for NACDS chain members.
The Business Program conveyed NACDS’ focus on pro-consumer, pro-pharmacy issues and more community involvement as well as its commitment to combating the opioid epidemic.
During the 90-minute session, retailer and supplier participants received a comprehensive briefing on ways that their NACDS engagement is shaping their companies’ future, while also helping to address issues affecting the global, national and local communities.
NACDS chairman Alex Gourlay, who is co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and president of Walgreens, kicked off the program by stating that “this is where we come together to do two things: to build relationships and, most importantly, to help Americans … The talk of everything is change, and I’m extremely optimistic, particularly with the heart of pharmacists at the heart of our industry … We start with the customer as the focus of the future.”
Gourlay noted that NACDS is committed to remaining forward thinking and highly in tune with shifting dynamics in the political environment in retail and in health care. He updated the status of organizational programs and projects, including pharmacists’ commitment to community and their role in helping to fight the opioid epidemic, which he first discussed at the NACDS Annual Meeting in April. “By the time we finish this presentation this morning, nine Americans will have died because of opioid drug abuse. I think we can play a much bigger role as part of the system to collaborate with government and law enforcement to try and take care of this tragic situation.”
He added that NACDS is developing a plan to identify NACDS chain members’ work to develop shared value that benefits society. He said a survey is planned to gather this information about chains’ efforts, and to describe these findings alongside similar initiatives by the supplier community.
“We are going to tell the story of chains more clearly, and we are going to echo the story of our supplier partners. The NACDS board of directors will be finalizing the details of this program and we will be announcing it soon, and I hope you will take the survey when it is available. The first step is to measure this engagement so we can tell, learn from and continue to improve our story,” Gourlay concluded.
NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson complemented Gourlay’s remarks — describing progress on the NACDS Future Value Targeting Initiative, which was launched at the NACDS Annual Meeting. Anderson said that — through NACDS — members “are unleashing the power of community, conversation and solutions-focused curiosity to help address societal issues.”
He said they are showing that associations need to act less like associations and more like think tanks and startups. “That’s been our mode of operation well before it became our mantra.”
Anderson pointed out that in the marketplace of ideas, NACDS trades on its ability to develop public policy solutions. “As part of Future Value Targeting, we position these solutions as the pharmacy ‘Access Agenda.’ It has three parts: defending pharmacy, advancing pharmacy and serving as a responsible partner on the toughest issues facing our nation.”
He announced that NACDS past chairman Martin Otto, chief operating officer of H-E-B, will address and lead a keynote panel at the 15th World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C., next April.
Anderson also detailed the organization’s ongoing efforts to serve as a working partner for opioid solutions, as described in a recent meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and in comments to the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
Anderson summarized the presentations of the Business Program this way: “I hope Alex and I will leave you with two main thoughts. For one, NACDS provides great opportunities to advance your business. And, through NACDS, you are part of something even larger than any one company. Those are two really big ideas: value to the business and value for society. That’s bold, and I’m here to tell you, that is NACDS.”