WASHINGTON – As part of “NACDS 2023,” the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) engaged in this week’s hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry’s Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics and Research. The NACDS 2023 initiative reflects the Association’s commitment to sustain a pro-pharmacy, pro-patient focus while also advancing broad health and wellness solutions throughout the store, through multidisciplinary care, and through community partnerships.
During the hearing, titled, “Food as Medicine – Current Efforts and Potential Opportunities,” Subcommittee members, Committee members and witnesses examined the prevalence of diet-related diseases in America as well as the nation’s “nutrition crisis,” noting how food as medicine programs can be transformative for the health of families and individuals nationwide.
Of note, Subcommittee Chair Cory Booker (D-NJ) kicked off the hearing by describing the importance of a whole-of-government approach to addressing these health and wellness issues.
Additionally, Sen. Booker made special mention of the September White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health — during which the Biden Administration released its “bold blueprint to end hunger, improve nutrition, and reduce the epidemic of diet-related diseases.”
NACDS commends Sen. Booker and Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Braun (R-IN) for holding this hearing, and reminds policymakers that broader health and wellness solutions also can be found as close as the nearest pharmacy.
In the pharmacy, in food offerings, throughout the total store, and in partnership with communities, NACDS members are driving hunger-relief efforts, providing prevention and management services for chronic disease, and addressing social issues surrounding health.
Importantly, Americans are looking to their local pharmacists as both medication experts and broader health and wellness leaders. A poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS demonstrates their support:
Through NACDS 2023, the Association continues to look ahead to new and creative ways to advance health and wellness and to serve the NACDS membership with a focus on the total store and the total person.
In collaboration with the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September, NACDS released commitments that reflect the Biden Administration’s goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 — so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. In fact, the commitments were highlighted in a White House Fact Sheet and at the White House Conference.
The National Strategy released by the Biden Administration the week of the White House Conference also reflects aspects of the policy recommendations that NACDS developed and issued with member engagement during the summer.
NACDS submitted to the official hearing record these recommendations — which underscore the industry’s priority focus on improving access and fostering equity, including the critical need to advance the bipartisan Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (H.R. 7213).
Earlier this year, NACDS also backed the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act (S. 1536/H.R. 3108) – introduced in the U.S. Congress in May 2021. The critical legislation — which would enhance the availability of medical nutrition therapy delivered by registered dietitians, including those practicing in the retail setting — reflects NACDS’ commitment to a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to health, wellness and equity.
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