Healthcare industry celebrates, honors NACDS’ 90th anniversary, retail pharmacies

The healthcare industry joined together Wednesday night in New York City to honor and celebrate NACDS’ 90th anniversary, while also paying tribute to pharmacy retailers.

Retailers and suppliers joined together to honor the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ 90th anniversary and to celebrate the achievements of community pharmacy retailers at a festive bash in New York City, hosted by Drug Store News, Chain Drug Review and The Emerson Group.

Mike Wysong, CEO of CARE Pharmacies and Lisa Paley, president, North America, of  Haleon, bestowed honors on the industry’s players, including Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS, Costco, Walmart, Kroger, a group of regional drug stores, the American Association of Retired Persons and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

Following a reel depicting the origins of some of the nation's top retailers, Scott Frisch, executive vice president/COO of AARP, said the amazing stories In membership represented at the event is a testament of 90 years of impact that NACDS in retail pharmacy have made to advance health care and well being in communities across the country.

"We know that retail pharmacy plays a role in the life of the family caregiver, and we are drawn to the dedication many of you here have expressed about the challenge faced by the rapidly growing 48 million family caregivers in the United States," Frisch said. "NACDS and our fellow members are invaluable partners in our endeavors. Together we can create a stronger support system that ensures family caregivers receive the recognition, resources and assistance they truly deserve. Tonight as we reflect on the history of NACDS and the advancements and progress made to address health care in America we congratulate each of you who have made a difference these past 90 years as well as those of you who are paving the way for the future."

Paley said, "It’s an honor to be here tonight to recognize so many of the people who have helped build this industry into what it is today." She also recognized current NACDS board members, noting that their contributions to the industry have been and will continue to be absolutely essential.

Wysong continued, "90 years as an industry. It’s quite an accomplishment. Tonight we celebrate a milestone, that marks the performance, maturity and achievement from companies that found a way to redefine patient care, one store at a time, one patient at a time, and with one collective voice."

Paley added, "The impact you mentioned has been so visible over the last 90 years. In recent years we’ve seen this industry transform and evolve to support testing, telehealth and other pharmacy services. Taken together there can be no arguing that our industry’s accomplishments in the last 90 years, have helped people live healthier, longer and better lives."

Following the presentation of honorees, Steve Anderson, NACDS president and CEO, addressed the audience: “The role NACDS  has played for the last 90 years, through studying the history of NACDS we learn about the ethos of this great association. We learn about the characteristic spirit of the NACDS culture as manifested by NACDS’ beliefs and aspirations. We learn about the identity of NACDS, what it has stood for through the course of time. We learn that human interpersonal relationships are the hallmark of NACDS and have always been and we learned about the great leaders of this organization as we are honoring tonight."

Anderson continued, "In 1933, that was the bottom of the depression, when the commercial banking system collapsed. Our founders had a notion that there was a need for an association like NACDS. And they created and they began the NACDS flywheel. They turned very slowly, gaining momentum with each push and each push represents NACDS’ early efforts. The mission, building the membership and ensuring communities of health for all Americans."

"These initial charms of the flywheel were foundational, yet requiring substantial effects. As the years passed, the NACDS flywheel began to turn faster," Anderson added. "And this acceleration was not by chance. As I said many times, NACDS has the right leaders, in the right jobs at the right time. NACDS board leaders over the decades have been visionaries. And they have provided those strategic pushes that the wheel has needed. Their insights, their dedication and their leadership were the force multipliers making each turn of that flywheel smoother, and faster. This flywheel once transformed the dynamic force and drove this association toward remarkable achievements. It symbolizes NACDS’ collective strength, the power of continuity and momentum of this association’s shared purpose."

Anderson went on to say, "Building on the accomplishments of those who came before us, the current NACDS leaders took the wheels and propelled it forward with a clear and renewed vigor. Our industry played one of the most critical roles in the health of communities nationwide during the pandemic. We helped to open America, we helped to open the U.S. economy and we were instrumental in getting the American people back to their loved ones and back to their lives."

Anderson concluded, "This wasn’t just about sustaining our momentum.  We demonstrated. all of you in this room and those throughout the entire country who worked for your companies, the immense power and impact NACDS cultivated over 90 years of unwavering commitment, and unwavering progress. We are standing on the shoulders of giants as Mike said. Our founders, our past leaders and every staff member who has contributed to this journey has led us to where we are today."

Anderson ended by offering congratulations to Jim Whitman, who started working at NACDS on August 15, 1977.

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