Fostering connections

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Fostering connections

By Steve Anderson, NACDS - 04/20/2018
NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill — held March 8 to 9 in Washington, D.C. — relates directly to many of the topics that will be addressed at the 2018 NACDS Annual Meeting, perhaps in some surprising ways.

For those who may not be aware of this flagship advocacy event, NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill presents an opportunity for pharmacy advocates to travel to the nation’s capital to visit with members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Now in its 10th year, it is difficult to imagine NACDS without it.

Potential realized
Since my first NACDS Annual Meeting in 2007, I have appreciated the opportunity and responsibility to report on NACDS’ progress each year. Through the leadership of the board of directors, the engagement of the membership and the professionalism of the staff team, we have raised awareness of pharmacy’s role as the face of neighborhood health care, and we have translated this into greater success in advocacy.

Think about it: It has been the case for quite a while that NACDS members operate stores in every single congressional district, and that there is a pharmacy within close proximity to most Americans (currently, 89% live within five miles of a community pharmacy). However, it is only through the dedication of NACDS members that we now can say this: Pharmacy advocates from all 50 states participated in the 2018 NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, reaching the offices of every member of Congress in person. Those are two very important “firsts.”

Priority issues addressed
The NACDS Annual Meeting affords member-company representatives the chance to discuss the public policy issues that need to be addressed by the industry, through the common voice that NACDS makes possible. As has been the case for the past several years, the opioid abuse epidemic will remain a top priority on this list of issues. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that NACDS RxIMPACT is vitally important to the industry’s outreach to members of Congress on this topic.

Following pharmacy’s meetings on Capitol Hill this year, it was interesting to see the newsletters that members of Congress sent to their constituents. Many of these newsletters included photos and stories of the legislators’ meetings with NACDS member companies. Many of these stories focused on the fact that pharmacy remains committed to being part of the solution to the opioid abuse epidemic.

It also is worth noting that NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill is part of a comprehensive NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program. Among the other components is the Congressional pharmacy tour program, through which NACDS members host members of Congress for tours. As was the case after meetings in Washington, D.C., we have seen many members of Congress reporting on their tours of pharmacies as well — and positioning these tours as part of their work to better understand and consider legislation related to opioid issues.

Future of chain-supplier collaboration
At the heart of the NACDS Annual Meeting, of course, is the efficiency of conducting a high volume of productive top-to-top business meetings in a short period of time. To do that, it is essential that the NACDS ecosystem remains productive and appealing for senior executives and emerging leaders.

NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill has turned into one of the key aspects of the overall value that NACDS chain members derive from the association. That bodes well for the culture of top-to-top engagement that is alive and well throughout the entire calendar of NACDS meetings.

It is amazing to think of the ways that NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill has emerged as a driving force for NACDS’ pro-patient and pro-pharmacy agenda, and — by extension — as a catalyst for the success of NACDS chain and associate members year-round.

Steve Anderson is president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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