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Anderson’s first 100 days spell New Deal for community Rx

BY Rob Eder

It is widely believed that the ultimate success, and perhaps the enduring legacy, of any new presidential administration is determined within the first 100 days in office. Given Steve Anderson’s reputation as a highly connected Washington insider, Drug Store News thought it wise to take a look at how the new National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive is doing in his first 100 days on the job—more or less.

That is, while any new president has had the benefit of several months, if not years, to build a platform and in general should have a pretty good understanding of what needs to happen come Inauguration Day, Anderson—who described himself as quite comfortable in his position as head of the National Restaurant Association prior to the NACDS executive search committee landing upon him—wasn’t exactly campaigning for the job. So, in fairness to Anderson, Drug Store News will start the clock beginning with Annual Meeting, which, for many industry members, was their first opportunity to meet the new NACDS chief. By that measure, Anderson’s first 100 days would have ended Aug. 1.

In his first public address to Annual Meeting attendees, Anderson vowed to lead the charge to promote the value of community pharmacy and to deliver value back to the NACDS membership—all of it. So how has he done? Drug Store News has compiled the following short (VERY) list of some of the more notable actions taken under Anderson’s brief leadership—

• Full court press around Medicaid. Within days of the July 6 release of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ final rule on pharmacy reimbursement, NACDS announced the launch of an “all-branches, all-government” strategy to fix what it considers a highly flawed payment model. Its efforts have paid off in the form of important bills that have since been introduced in the House and Senate that would drastically overhaul the proposed reimbursement structure to redefine the AMP-based benchmark to more accurately reflect actual pharmacy acquisition costs.

In addition, NACDS has taken an important stand against a Jan. 1 deadline to adopt a new tamper-proof prescription pad to be used for all Medicaid prescriptions.

• Part D partners. In a May 2 statement to the Senate Committee on Finance, NACDS offered eight specific enhancements to improve Part D both for providers and beneficiaries, including rolling enrollment for seniors, immediate participation for any and all willing providers, 90-day fill at retail, prompt payment on Part D claims, better and more timely information on generic drug reimbursement rates and a requirement that PDPs report the success of retail-based MTM programs to CMS.

• Pump up the volume. Led by senior vice president of marketing, communications and media relations Chris Krese—who followed Anderson over from the NRA—NACDS has vowed to implement a highly aggressive public image campaign to tell America the story of the value of community pharmacy.

Krese’s team—which recently saw the addition of another former NRA staffer, with the hiring of Chrissy Shott as vice president of media relations—has had an impressive first 100 days of its own, pumping out more than 50 press releases since April, and mobilizing a new Rapid Response Program to address inaccurate portrayals of community pharmacy in the media. In addition, the group has also introduced a new program it calls the Community Pharmacy Great Communicator awards, which honors individuals in the public and private sector. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., was awarded the first such distinction May 9, for his comments in the Senate regarding the role of the pharmacist as a healthcare provider. “Local pharmacists are the most valuable asset we have in the entire pharmaceutical chain,” Enzi noted.

• Pump up the membership. One of the key legacies of Anderson’s leadership at NRA was his ability to reach out and grow the membership of the organization among small and mid-sized companies. It appears that this will be a hallmark of his leadership at NACDS, as well. Marketplace, which boasted a record-number 10,200 Meet the Market meetings, brought a significant boost in new members, including 95 new associate members, one new chain member and 18 new international members—not too shabby in a market that is frequently referred to as “consolidating.”

• One voice. Not to be understated has been the work NACDS has done under Anderson’s watch to ensure that various interests that represent retail pharmacy come together for the greater good of the profession. To this end, Project Destiny, a joint initiative launched recently in conjunction with APhA and NCPA, aims to develop a strategic plan for ensuring the future role of pharmacy in the delivery of health care in America and ensuring that role is understood and appreciated by patients, payers and policy makers.

It’s widely believed that FDR’s legacy was built squarely upon his first 100 days in office. Only time will tell, of course, if Anderson is successful in implementing his New Deal for community pharmacy, but certainly, based on the new NACDS chief’s first 100 days on the job, you have to like his chances. You have to like his chances an awful lot.

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Jeffrey Dunn joins American Greetings’ board

BY Doug Desjardins

CLEVELAND American Greetings has appointed Jeffrey Dunn to its board of directors where he’ll fill a vacancy for a term set to expire in 2008. Dunn most recently served as president of Nickelodeon Film Enterprises and as chief operating officer of Nickelodeon Networks Group.

“We are delighted to have Jeff join us,” said chief executive officer Zev Weiss. “American Greetings will benefit from his business acumen and expertise, particularly with regard to digital content and licensing.” Dunn graduated from Harvard and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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FujiFilm Offers Pre-Paid Mailers

BY Doug Desjardins

VALHALLA, N.Y. FujiFilm has debuted pre-paid mailers that make it easier for customers to have their film processed and delivered to their homes. The new program allows customers to buy the pre-paid mailers when they purchase their Fuji film or single-use camera.

“This program offers the consumer value and convenience,” said Rafi Haqqani, senior product manager for one-time-use cameras for Fujifilm. “It brings quality Fujicolor processing right to the consumers’ doorstep with easy-to-use postage-paid mailers.”

The suggested retail price for the pre-paid film mailer is $15.99 and the pre-paid single-use camera mailer is $17.99. Prints come in the standard 4 x 6 size and are mailed back in 7-10 days.

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