NACDS aims at disruptive innovation


PALM BEACH, Fla. — Steve Anderson recalled during Sunday morning’s State of the Association address how when he started as the president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores five years ago, people were interested to see what his eyes would discover at NACDS and within community pharmacy that might help make a difference for the future. Anderson said that today he answers that question in the same way he did back then: “Every day my eyes see something fresh in what you do — in the innovative offerings of community pharmacy.”

In fact, innovation — rather, disruptive innovation — was a key theme within Anderson’s State of the Association address Sunday morning. His comments followed the State of the Industry speech by outgoing NACDS chairman and chief administrative officer of H-E-B Bob Loeffler. Jack Bailey, SVP policy, payers and vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline, made the opening remarks.

Drawing from the writings of author and Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, Anderson discussed how Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation — the process by which complicated, expensive products and services are transformed into simple, affordable ones — is important for community pharmacy.

Innovation is something that pharmacy cannot just wait for government to do, or wait for the government to let the industry do, Anderson said. “Those of you here from NACDS chain members, your capabilities have the power to transform health care. And those of you here who are suppliers, your products and services are vital to that transformational promise,” Anderson said. “That is why chains and suppliers alike are here at this extremely successful NACDS Annual Meeting and why you attend other NACDS meetings and conferences. Through your business interactions and discussions at this meeting, you are providing that innovation that our country so desperately needs.”

Anderson also highlighted the growing partnership with pharmacy in government and elsewhere, and also stressed his confidence that the 2013 NACDS Total Store Expo will “emerge as a true laboratory for innovation.”

Loeffler, during his remarks, discussed the achievements of the past year, which includes NACDS’ lawmaker outreach via NACDS RxImpact Day. However, he stressed that the work of NACDS will never be done, as “for every feat we accomplish, another will call our name.”

“I can look you in the eye and say that NACDS has made progress as an advocate, as a champion for pharmacy’s amazing story and as a conduit for doing business in retail,” Loeffler said. “We are going to have a very interesting and challenging election year at the same time that many key healthcare issues will be debated and resolved — not the least of which is the Supreme Court ruling on the new healthcare law. We will be in very capable hands with Greg Wasson as our new chairman and with your active involvement in NACDS.”

The Business Program wrapped up with a keynote address by Larry Sabato, election analyst and founder and head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, who offered his analysis on what he thinks is coming down the pike this election year.

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