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RxImpact Day shows NACDS at its best

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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores just hosted its seventh annual RxImpact Day in Washington, a gathering of chain drug store people with the object of meeting with the nation’s lawmakers to remind them that pharmacy is a front-line health care option. And, like the six preceding RxImpact Days, it was a huge success.

cdr-filler-opinion-750Some 350 industry people descended on Washington, with the object of getting the attention of the senators, representatives and staff members who propose, sanction and pass the laws which govern this country. The daylong exercise was preceded by a dinner on the evening before, one which served to remind the attendees why they were there and what they intended to accomplish.

To refresh their collective memories, NACDS president Steve Anderson told them how successful this program has been. “Seven years ago,” he said, “few people in Washington connected pharmacy with health care. Today, pharmacists are widely recognized as a first line of protection in the health care arena.”

To facilitate the process of engaging with the legislative community, Anderson urged the pharmacists in the group to wear their white professional jackets on their visit to Capitol Hill, and so reinforce their status as critical health care professionals. And indeed many did.

On the day of the event, the halls of Congress were flooded with those people who form the core of the chain drug industry. Many chain drug pharmacists attended, as did their supervisors and managers, along with many allied professionals and several members of the NACDS board of directors. They met with members of Congress and members of the staffs who support and influence those Congressmen. Many of the visitors had previously scheduled appointments; others just showed up. In both instances, the visitors were accorded positive receptions, reinforcing the important role retail pharmacists play in influencing the nation’s health care endeavors.

The gathering was, by most estimates, the largest in the short history of RxImpact Day, with Anderson joking that the first group of participants filled only two or three tables at dinner before the initial visit. By contrast, this year’s dinner, held at the new Marriott Hotel on Massachusetts Ave., packed a huge ballroom to overflowing. It was, then, among NACDS’ finest hours.

As is the case with most initiatives attacked by the chain drug store association, this one had been carefully planned and allowed to develop and build slowly. No one rushed to see it succeed. Rather, it developed at its own pace, building participation and momentum as the years passed. In the end, it has become one of the signature pharmacy events in this country, at once exerting a huge impact in the legislative community and reinforcing NACDS’ role as the leading retail pharmacy advocate in the United States.

So before RxImpact Day 2015 fades from memory, the chain drug store association must be recognized, not only for succeeding at the challenging task of awakening America’s legislative community to the importance of pharmacy in the health care community but also for the way the association works to identify and enhance the importance of retail pharmacy in the United States.

This organization, more nearly than any other, succeeds by successfully melding two separate worlds: the wold of community pharmacy and the world of health care. No other association even attempts such a merger. That NACDS succeeds with it is a tribute to an organization that truly works for the benefit of its membership, one often at a loss to explain not only the makeup of that membership but the nature of its primary mission and the importance of that mission.

That’s OK — because NACDS does it for its members. And succeeds beyond the fondest wishes of most of them.


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