Government and health care decision makers are exhibiting a rising appreciation of the role that community pharmacy services can play in improving the quality and lowering the cost of health care, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said at the NACDS Annual Meeting.


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Community Rx is 'disruptive innovator,' NACDS CEO says

April 23rd, 2012

PALM BEACH, Fla. – Government and health care decision makers are exhibiting a rising appreciation of the role that community pharmacy services can play in improving the quality and lowering the cost of health care, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said at the NACDS Annual Meeting.

"I know of no other industry that invests such uncommon energy in thinking about its history and future, and in innovating and executing to make a bright future a reality,” Anderson said Sunday during the business program of the meeting. "To know community pharmacy is to understand that patient care heroics play out every day, in neighborhoods across our land. With the diversity of the chain and supplier membership at NACDS, this passion extends to addressing the needs and the desires of the entire person — throughout the entire store — as a patient and as a consumer."

In his remarks, Anderson applied to community pharmacy the concept of "disruptive innovation," about which Harvard Business School Professor and author Clayton Christensen has written extensively. Christensen's book The Innovator's Prescription cites retail clinics as examples of disruptive innovation and how pharmacy can treat patients in a professional, cost-effective manner.

"Christensen also describes medication adherence as another example of a new market that presents a ripe opportunity for pharmacy," Anderson said. "Disruptive innovation reminds me of the power of community pharmacy services to improve health and reduce costs. The value added by community pharmacy — in the areas of medication counseling, health education, screenings, vaccinations and disease state management — can add tremendous value to a health care system that needs solutions that are cost-effective, high-quality and patient-centric."

Community pharmacy's effectiveness in administering flu vaccines "helped to open many eyes in government," Anderson noted, and is spurring interest in partnering with the industry in new ways to confront the nation's health care challenges.

"Senior Department of Health and Human Services officials are looking to pharmacy to be leaders for initiatives like the Million Hearts Initiative," he explained. “They see lipid and blood pressure screenings — conducted in community pharmacies — as vital to their campaign to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years. These government officials will find a partner in community pharmacy."

Anderson also pointed to the recent expansion of the NACDS state government affairs team and the creation of the new NACDS Pharmacy Care and Patient Advocacy department as examples of the association's mission to tell the story of community pharmacy and conduct effective government affairs at all levels and in all branches of government.

"Immediately, we need to bring to bear the entire force of the NACDS membership to advance those public policy proposals at the federal and state levels that will enhance an environment of innovation within pharmacy. And we need to defeat those that would prevent innovation from seeing the light of day," he stated. "This means advancing legislation related to pharmacy benefit manager tactics. It means battling short-sighted reimbursement cuts. It means advancing medication therapy management programs and legislation."

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