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Absorbing the lessons from NACDS Total Store Expo


It’s been a week since the National Association of Chain Drug Stores wrapped up its massive Total Store Expo pow-wow in Las Vegas. Hundreds of retail pharmacy industry vendors have broken down their exhibits and cleared the cavernous Sands Expo Center for the next big event. By last Wednesday, the exodus of more than 5,700 exhausted conference-goers from Sin City had slowed to a trickle.

Now those thousands of participants are back at their jobs. And so begins for them the long process of assimilating the flood of information they absorbed at NACDS TSE. Among the dizzying lineup of seminars and discussion groups at this broad-based event were plenty of topics for both pharmacy leaders and front-end merchants, ranging from health reform and the emergence of accountable care organizations, new collaborative patient-care models and telehealth, to techniques for adapting to today’s digitally empowered consumer and smartphone-assisted shopping.

Running Aug. 10 to 13 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, TSE combined three major NACDS conferences: Pharmacy and Technology, Marketplace and Supply Chain and Logistics. It was the biggest single event in the chain pharmacy group’s history, and it packed a full schedule of speeches, educational sessions and vendor-sponsored get-togethers into its four-day format. Among the highlights: talks by former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and chairman Bob Narveson of Thrifty-White; an update on the pharmaceutical market by Doug Long, IMS Health VP-industry relations; and a panel on the “new healthcare landscape” moderated by NACDS’ government affairs chief, Carol Kelly.

Also not to be missed: a full-strength performance at the final NACDS “Vegas Extravaganza” party by The Who’s Roger Daltrey. One of the best concerts I’ve ever witnessed at an industry event, and thanks to NACDS for bringing in him and his band – which included co-founder Pete Townsend’s brother Simon, if not Pete himself, and a stable of excellent musicians who replicated The Who’s sound flawlessly.

Drug Store News was at TSE full-strength, covering the event from top-to-bottom and publishing a 52-page daily edition. Highlights can be found at the DSN website,, along with my coverage of the meeting of the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and even slide shows of conference highlights.

Were you there? If so, feel free to share your experiences and impressions of this massive gathering.

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