Hailing community pharmacy’s unsurpassed value, industry leaders urged attendees at the NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference to ensure its future ­vitality.

NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference, NACDS, Debra Garza, Walgreen, Bob Loeffler, H-E-B, RxIMPACT Day, community pharmacy, Geoff Walden, Steve Anderson, health care delivery system, health care, Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act, pharmacy services

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Inside This Issue - News

Value of pharmacy is consistent message

September 12th, 2011

BOSTON – Hailing community pharmacy’s unsurpassed value, industry leaders urged attendees at the NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference to ensure its future ­vitality.

“Together, we have a powerful story to tell,” said conference chairman Debra Garza, Walgreen Co.’s divisional vice president of government and community relations. “We need to stand up. We need to tell it. To the extent that we do just that, I am convinced that health care delivery will be all the better for it.”

NACDS chairman Bob Loeffler called for stronger grassroots engagement on public policy priorities vital to pharmacy patient care. He asked attendees to join the association’s annual RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill and weigh in with their federal and state lawmakers on key legislation throughout the year.

“NACDS has never been stronger, and NACDS needs to confront any threat to the viability of pharmacy patient care services,” said Loeffler, chief administrative officer at H-E-B. “I need to emphasize an undeniable, unavoidable and perhaps underappreciated fact: We need your engagement.”

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson noted that retail pharmacy’s “record of achievements is surpassed in magnitude only by its ­potential.” He stressed that the future vision of community pharmacy “is nothing short of transformative.”

The sector has “the ability to fashion a more cost-effective, more efficient and more successful health care delivery system,” Anderson explained. “But, still, this also is an industry for whose viability we need to fight at every turn.”

Loeffler noted that the complexity of pharmacy issues requires dedication in demonstrating to policy makers the importance of pro-patient policy “that reduces the nation’s overall health care expenses and maintains patient care at high levels, while keeping the pharmacy industry viable.”

He cited NACDS’ success in rallying pharmacy to be involved in public policy advocacy, “from those just beginning pharmacy school to those who could write their textbooks.”

Loeffler said that in 2011, NACDS RxIMPACT already has nearly tripled the number of letters written in 2010 by pharmacy advocates to their legislators; that the program has generated 26 pharmacy tours; and that RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill grew in participation from 150 advocates in 2009 to 350 this year.

He called on attendees to contact lawmakers in support of the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act.

“This bill includes provisions about transparency, the frequency of updating MAC pricing, networks, audits, use of data, and many of the topics that threaten many in this room and the patients we serve,” he said.

“It is a top priority of NACDS to ensure that the health of patients, and the wellness of the nation’s health care delivery system, can benefit from pharmacy services that are accessible by every patient and give every patient choices,” Loeffler noted. “And we will take that stand with vigor and with ­resolve.”

Meanwhile, Anderson presented a litany of economic, public policy and political crises facing the United States and the world that present challenges for all segments of health care delivery and all industries. He emphasized community pharmacy’s historic collaboration with public and private payers to help reduce costs but cautioned that the evaluation of health care economics must be conducted with a comprehensive view of patient-focused pharmacy services.

“We are not going to back down on the central argument of our industry,” he said. “By keeping patients healthier and preventing the need for more costly forms of care, pharmacy lowers costs across the board.”