NACDS chairman's gavel exchange goes virtual

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NACDS chairman's gavel exchange goes virtual

By Sandra Levy - 05/13/2020

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday carried out its annual tradition of passing the chairman's gavel, despite the social distancing prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. NACDS released the above video commemorating the passing of the chairman's gavel, the critical importance of pharmacies and pharmacists to the health and wellness of American communities, and NACDS' effectiveness in uniting diverse chain and supplier members for a common purpose.

In the video, Richard Ashworth, president of Walgreens, accepted the NACDS chairman's gavel from Chris Lane, executive vice president of Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite, who remains on the NACDS board of directors.

"One of the most valuable things that I learned as chairman is how all of the members of NACDS work together. You have big companies, small companies, all different classes of trade," Lane said. "Because of all the common issues that we have, and they are big issues, we were able to pull in the independents and the specialty pharmacies and all work together."

Lane also emphasized the importance of NACDS' associate, or supplier, members: "One of the things that NACDS does unbelievably well is allowing us to partner with our supplier partners – setting up the environments at the conferences for us to establish relationships. During this pandemic, we could not have achieved the amazing things we achieved without our supplier partners."

Ashworth thanked Lane and commended him on the success of his tenure.  "The one thing that really strikes me is that there is a sense of difference when an organization has a purpose like pharmacy has — to do the right thing, to do good, to help protect the public and society as a whole. I'm really proud to be associated with an industry like this, and really proud of the work that you have done on your agenda at NACDS as well."

Looking forward, Ashworth said, "We all know that there's much, much more that pharmacy can be doing. COVID-19 testing is a fantastic example of that, where this profession is highly accessible, highly trusted, and able to do more than we do today. So, thinking about how we can expand the scope, how we can fix all the hurdles that make it challenging on pharmacy, and helping on the reimbursement side — the future of pharmacy is going to be a big part of the focus going forward."

Ashworth's term as NACDS chairman officially began on April 17.