TORONTO — The Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS) has changed its name.
Rebranded as the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, the organization will be “a leading voice and strong advocate of retail pharmacy in this country,” Frank Scorpiniti, the association’s board chair, remarked at its “Directions 2015” event here this month.
“This new name provides a strong and immediate link to our business, and to where we have our biggest impact on Canadians and their health — in the neighborhoods where we all live, work and play,” said Scorpiniti, who is also chief executive officer of Rexall.
“Neighborhood pharmacy is an essential and increasingly important health care service provider that is enhancing patient outcomes, reducing overall health care costs and improving access to care by delivering services closer to where Canadians live, work and play,” added Scorpiniti. “Our strong, modern, new visual identity will also help identify our programs to members, associates, stakeholders, media and other key audiences. This is a fresh opportunity to present ourselves and our story to the decision makers who matter to our businesses.”
The group has sought an expanded scope of practice, flu immunizations across more provinces and fair remuneration, he noted. “In all these activities, the association’s focus remains squarely on ensuring and enhancing your business success, through advocacy, thought leadership, networking, and business development exchanges,” he told members.
Already the association has expanded services, including immunizations in Manitoba, slowed generic price compression and supported new vaccine distribution in Alberta and Prince Edward Island.
“All of these accomplishments have helped provide better predictability and stability on the economics of our business,” Scorpiniti commented. “This is a significant record of accomplishment. … We continue to focus on our long-term goals and objectives, which are going forward under the new banner of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada.”
The organization, representing some 6,500 pharmacies from coast to coast to coast, in rural and urban communities, draws strength from Canadians’ strong and increasingly positive view of neighborhood pharmacies.
According to a recent national survey, overall favorability has increased to 76.1%, from 68.9% in 2013. Canadians also see pharmacies as being friendly (90.5% agree or somewhat agree) and providing advice that is accessible (89.5%) and affordable (84.2%). And more Canadians attribute all three of these characteristics to pharmacies in 2014 than in 2013.
“The research shows that Canadians recognize pharmacy’s potential contributions to primary health care, but they also want to know more about what is being offered, and the benefits for all stakeholders,” Scorpiniti said.
The research, he added, “delivers both the fuel and the credibility to drive our association’s advocacy efforts with governments in support of favorable policy development and provincial negotiations.”
Denise Carpenter, the association’s president and CEO, said, “Neighborhood Pharmacy exists to help connect our members with governments and others in health care to identify, research and develop proposals that deliver tangible health and economic benefits for Canadians. Our health care delivery system faces significant challenges from rising costs and an aging population. Access to health care, closer to home, plays a significant role in driving better patient outcomes and reducing overall health care costs.”
Neighborhood pharmacies employ approximately 500,000 Canadians in settings ranging from independent retailers to larger chain pharmacies. In 2013, the broader pharmacy industry unveiled “9000 Points of Care,” a policy platform to improve access to affordable health care.
“Our public policy platform, 9000 Points of Care, identifies strategies to make better use of the broader pharmacy community’s capabilities,” commented Carpenter, who was president and CEO of CACDS. “We are poised to work with governments and others in the health care community to demonstrate the efficacy of these strategies so that they can be implemented around the country.”