ARLINGTON, Va. — The NACDS Retail Advisory Board’s Market Immersion series resembles a microcosm of the NACDS Total Store Expo, in that the topics discussed emphasize the interrelationships of virtually every aspect of the business.
The NACDS Retail Advisory Board, which includes NACDS associate and chain members, advises the NACDS board of directors primarily on front-end issues. Among its programming, the NACDS Retail Advisory Board selects a market each year for targeted study and engagement. The event and the discussions in each market always seem to take on a highly personal feel.
Earlier this year, the NACDS Retail Advisory Board took its Market Immersion series to Richmond, Va. The agenda presented extremely timely and compelling content that is applicable from a national perspective, as well as discussions and store tours that showcased Richmond’s unique dynamics.
We are appreciative that Kro-ger Co., Lidl, Publix Super Markets Inc., Sam’s Club and Wegmans Food Markets Inc. opened their stores’ doors for the group. Packaging supplier partner WestRock Co. also served as a wonderful host and as a catalyst for discussions. Overall, the event explored supply chain implications, home delivery trends, e-commerce, omnichannel packaging, health and wellness brand activation, virtual-augmented reality, and much more.
True to the notion that connections are powerful throughout the store and across the entire industry, the Richmond Market Immersion also took the opportunity to explore local implications of national issues affecting the pharmacy — particularly the opioid abuse epidemic.
We were honored that Dr. Dan Carey, Virginia secretary of health and human resources, joined us. In welcoming Secretary Carey, I talked about NACDS’ opioid-focused public policy recommendations, particularly federal and state e-prescribing legislation. We commended Virginia for helping to lead the nation in enacting an NACDS-backed e-prescribing law last year. In his remarks, Secretary Carey talked about e-prescribing, drug disposal, seven-day initial fill restrictions for acute pain, prescription drug monitoring plan interoperability and enhancing naloxone’s availability. NACDS is highly engaged on all of the policies that Secretary Carey mentioned.
We also had the chance to explore a host of issues from the perspective of the next generation of pharmacists. We were tremendously thankful that a panel of student pharmacists from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy joined us to discuss health and wellness issues, and specifically the community pharmacy practice setting. They were terrific. In their remarks, they discussed enhancing pharmacists’ scope of practice, current issues associated with accountable care organizations, the role of pharmacy technicians in optimizing patient care, advancing medication therapy management, and other topics.
The topics that the students raised aligned with many of the priorities of NACDS. This alignment further validates the work that NACDS is doing for pharmacies, pharmacists and their patients — including the student pharmacists on the panel who ultimately will contribute to pharmacy’s role as the face of neighborhood health care.
These individuals from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy are enthusiastic ambassadors for pharmacy, and the participants in the NACDS Retail Advisory Board Market Immersion benefited tremendously from their engagement with us.
From the standpoints of coordinating with top state officials on opioid-abuse prevention, discussing current and future issues with the profession’s next generation, and fostering chain-supplier collaboration across a full range of timely issues, the Market Immersion in Richmond was a tremendous success. What is more, all NACDS members will benefit from the proceedings, as the Market Immersion series serves as a thought-leadership laboratory that fuels the content for NACDS meetings and conferences into the future — including the NACDS Total Store Expo.
I want to thank the NACDS Retail Advisory Board for helping to keep NACDS positioned as a forward- and fresh-thinking association that is focused on the success of the membership and on the ultimate benefit to patients and consumers.
Steve Anderson is president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.