Lane charts course of continued collective activism for NACDS

Tuesday morning at The Breakers Palm Beach, newly elected NACDS chairman Chris Lake, Wakefern Food’s executive vice president spoke to NACDS Annual attendees about his path to the chairmanship and the organization’s focus for the coming year. His remarks followed former chairman Mark Panzer, Albertsons senior vice president of pharmacy health and wellness, handing over the chairman’s gavel to him.

Lake, a pharmacist by education, identified the origins of his interest in the profession as the local pharmacy that served his childhood neighborhood ien South Philadelphia. His career, which began at CVS, then Duane Reade, ultimately took him to Wakefern in 2003, when he joined as vice president of pharmacy, has seen him learn about the front end side of the business as his roles grew in scope. He highlighted the perspective this experience has lent him — and that he will bring to NACDS in his year as chairman.

“My 16 years at Wakefern have given me a holistic view of the industry and a perspective I hope will benefit all of the NACDS membership,” Lane said.

He also discussed the changes that have come to the industry as the pharmacy has expanded its offerings to better serve patients — and the role NACDS can play helping navigate changes.

“Not only has the role of the pharmacist changed but so has the role of the corner pharmacy. It’s [now] a full-=spectrum offering that is broader than ever before. As the industry has broadened its offerings, NACDS has expanded its role and services and I hope to bring my broad experience to my new role as chairman. It’s an approach that makes NACDS more than a trade organization, but an essential partn3er in this industry.

Lane noted that the attendance makeup of NACDS annual, comprised as it is of companies that span store categories and offerings, reflects the necessary diversity for the health of the industry.

"It’s important that representation is broad because when we receive input from all areas of our industry, we'll have a more informed point of view,” Lane said.   All our voices are heard and we become a stronger and more agile association that can better serve its membership."

Lane said that Wakefern’s cooperative approach, which began with several owners coming together to help their businesses grow together.

“What holds true for the Wakefern Cooperative holds rue for our trade association. There is strength in numbers,” he said. “We can tackle the top challenges and achieve our agenda if we’re united and engaged. In the year ahead we’ll continue to strongly defend patients’ access to prescription medicines while reducing their out of pocket costs and defending the viability of pharmacy.”

Lane said in the coming year NACDS would be continuing to support its Access Agenda on such key issues as opioid abuse prevention, reimbursement challenges and advancing health-and-wellness through pharmacist recommendations. These reasons lent the annual conference its theme ­­— “anticipate”

“We’re going to keep fighting for the ability to serve our customers – our patients – with the services they deserve,” Lane said. “We’re talking about envisioning the future of pharmacy, staying one step ahead of where the industry is going and anticipating where legislation may b taking us.”

Lake and Panzer were introduced by David Pothast, Johnson & Johnson’s chief customer officer, who also began the program by outlining the importance of transformation in business to stay competitive.

Attendees also heard from former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.