NACDS highlights its campaigns for change

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NACDS highlights its campaigns for change

By Sandra Levy - 04/28/2019
Achieving results on relief from direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR fees; fair pharmacy reimbursement; opioid-abuse prevention; and enhancing pharmacies’ scope of business are the four most crucial issues that the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is tackling in its campaign-style approach. This was the message delivered Sunday morning at the first Business Program of the NACDS Annual Meeting at The Breakers.

Mark Panzer, NACDS chairman and Albertsons senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness, and NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson outlined NACDS’ continued focus on waging creative, proactive and increasingly sophisticated campaigns on crucial issues.

Both leaders detailed NACDS’ advocacy for an approach to DIR fee relief put forward by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar that would help close a loophole that leads to unpredictable reimbursement for pharmacies and that increases patients’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

Panzer: Fair Compensation Benefits Pharmacists, Patients
“We are battling for our present, because we believe mightily in our future,” Panzer said, noting that pharmacies are being asked to do more without being adequately compensated for their work and patient care.

“We need to continue to highlight this every chance we get,” he said. “We need to work toward solutions that enhance patient care and outcomes, while at the same time compensating retail pharmacy at rates that are fair and equitable.”

For more than 10 years, NACDS has been putting more points on the board, Panzer said. “But over the past couple of years, we all knew that we had to kick it up a notch or two. The stakes always seem to rise.”

Panzer also reflected on his year as chairman as he prepares to hand over the role to Wakefern Food executive vice president Chris Lane on Tuesday. He highlighted the role NACDS plays as an organization that makes consensus on industry issues possible.

“Without that, we could not send a clear message to the government. We would not be able to comment on issues with the level of detail and with the specifics that actually move the needle,” Panzer said.

He also encouraged attendees to see NACDS as a boon to their businesses and the entire industry.

“Commit to your company’s success. Commit to the industry’s success. Commit to your success. Commit to the success of the customers and patients we serve together. Definitely commit to NACDS because NACDS is committed to you,” Panzer said. “Together, we are empowering pharmacies to make an even bigger difference in our patients’ and customers’ lives.”

Anderson: Action on Policy Is Crucial
In his remarks, Anderson touted NACDS’ advocacy campaigns to drive change on key issues.

“The campaigns bring a new approach — a better approach. It’s an even more sophisticated way to set the strategy, to ‘whiteboard’ everything NACDS does, to engage the membership, to lead the team, and to measure the results,” Anderson said.

The campaigns are a way for NACDS to tackle the interconnected issues the industry faces.

“We need to keep focused on this fact — relief from DIR fees is one part of the reimbursement issue. It’s a critical part, but it’s one part,” he said. “That’s where the broader NACDS reimbursement campaign comes in, and the NACDS scope of business campaign. They are tied together.”

Anderson and Panzer were both introduced by Colin Mackenzie, GSK Consumer Healthcare region head of the Americas and area general manager, North America, who also provided key industry trends —including the rise of self-care, and emphasized knowing one’s consumers.

Historian Doris Kearnes Goodwin concluded the program with a discussion of elements that distinguished the leadership of four presidents — Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson — who led in turbulent times

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