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BOSTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores' Pharmacy and Technology Conference opened Sunday with remarks by conference chairman and Walgreens divisional VP government and community relations Debbie Garza, who highlighted the value of community pharmacy and urged attendees to engage to ensure the vitality of pharmacy's future.
"There is no greater value in healthcare delivery than community pharmacy," Garza said. "When I talk of value, I am not talking just about all that community pharmacists do every day to help reduce drug spend. Though that is important, pharmacy's value goes so much deeper. It is about community pharmacy — and the expertise of pharmacists — as a true partner in a comprehensive and collaborative approach to health care. It is about improving patient health, while delivering part of the solution to driving down health costs across the spectrum by preventing more costly forms of care."
Garza also urged attendees to "engage in new ways to help create the future success of the entire pharmacy industry" and make the case to decision makers about community pharmacy's value in reducing costs and delivering care to patients.
"Together, we have a powerful story to tell," Garza said. "We need to stand up. We need to tell it. To the extent that we do just that, I am convinced that healthcare delivery will be all the better for it."
Other speakers at the session included H-E-B chief administrative officer and NACDS chairman Robert Loeffler and Michael Leavitt, former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services and chairman of Leavitt Partners.
Speakers at subsequent business programs included Surescripts president and CEO Harry Totonis; IMS Health VP industry relations Doug Long; and NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson.