PHARMACY

Standley defines ‘pillars of Rx value’

BY Michael Johnsen

“You’re going to need a bigger boat,” Steve Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, told attendees of the NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program Sunday morning. Anderson was alluding to that scene in “Jaws” when the monster shark first broke through the water, representing the change facing this industry. It’s big, it’s fast and if you don’t figure out how to ride it or get out of the way, chances are you’ll end up as shark bait.

There are a lot of forces driving change in the delivery of health care and, thanks in part to the stewardship of NACDS, members are not on that boat passively riding the crest of change, they’re helping to captain that vessel.

“Last year, when I began my term as chairman, I was struck by how these next few years will be a critical time for our industry,” said John Standley, chairman and CEO of Rite Aid, in his final keynote address as NACDS chairman. “Health care is undergoing historic change, which is creating unprecedented demands on our business, but also enormous opportunities to grow.”

In his address, Standley outlined five pillars of value that NACDS uses to support its advocacy of the industry.

First, there is the strengthening relationships among NACDS members, the best example of which is NACDS Total Store Expo. “There is meaningful overlap throughout all functions of our business, and that’s what the Total Store Expo is all about,” Standley said.

The second pillar is protecting access. NACDS successfully argued recently to maintain retail pharmacy access for TRICARE patients on the strength that traditional retail pharmacy services still provide value, for example.

NACDS also is helping to expand access to convenience-driven health services outside of filling prescriptions, which is the third pillar of value. Standley noted that while 35% of Americans don’t have a primary care physician, 90% live within five miles of a pharmacy.

In addition, NACDS is providing the framework to actively train up-and-coming pharmacists for the future, the fourth crucial pillar of value supported by NACDS.

Finally, NACDS helps tell the story of retail pharmacy, making sure that members of Congress are well aware of the myriad of potential the retail drug store industry can bring to the delivery of healthcare services. Standley noted that Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., once told him: “When I make important policy decisions, I want to hear from the people on the front lines.”

That kind of Congressional sentiment underscores NACDS’ leading role in driving positive healthcare change — it can be seen in the relationships NACDS board members have forged with lawmakers, Anderson said. “You can’t develop consensus if you don’t develop relationships.”

Brian McNamara, region head of Europe and the Americas for GSK Consumer Healthcare, also alluded to the change gripping the consumer health industry. McNamara identified three areas where the industry can do better in terms of supporting retail partners: supply chain excellence, driving truly differentiated, consumer-focused innovation and ensuring that processes remain nimble and flexible regardless of the size of the company.

Wrapping up the lineup of speakers Sunday morning, futurist and executive director of Singularity University Salim Ismail talked about the concept behind the doubling of change factors that has been disrupting industry after industry, from the business of photography to automobile manufacturing. “We’re in a world today where either you’re the disruptor or the disrupted,” he said. Some of the long-term disruptive opportunities for pharmacies include medical diagnoses and in-store 3-D printing, Ismail suggested.

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Walgreens: Cases of whooping cough up four times in Washington

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. – As Washington reaches more than four times the number of reported whooping cough cases compared to the same time last year, Walgreens has responded by continuing to offer vaccinations that provide protection against pertussis (whooping cough) at all of its more than 130 pharmacies throughout the state. The Washington State Department of Health is urging vaccination, Walgreens reported. 
 
“We support the recommendations of health officials and stress that vaccination is the best protection people can get from whooping cough,” said Sepi Soleimanpour, Washington regional healthcare director for Walgreens. “Walgreens pharmacists continue to play an important role in providing more convenient access to vaccinations and other preventive services in communities across the state.”
 
Walgreens pharmacists in Washington can administer immunizations to anyone age 7 and older.
 
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APhA: Outreach to policymakers is largest grassroots advocacy push in Association’s history

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The American Pharmacists Association announced on Thursday that pharmacists and student pharmacists across the country have sent more than 20,000 letters and emails to Congress to support current provider status legislation.

This outreach to policymakers has taken place in only three months and is the largest grassroots advocacy push on record in the Association’s 163-year history.

Last year, APhA launched the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign, a campaign dedicated to promoting patient access to health care through pharmacists’ patient care services. The campaign provides pharmacists, lawmakers and the public with tools and educational resources to promote and showcase pharmacists’ important role in increasing patient access to health care.

In late January, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act was introduced in both the U.S. House (H.R. 592) and Senate (S. 314), a critical first step in achieving provider status at the federal level. Since then, APhA and the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign have been providing regular updates on how pharmacists can encourage their Members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill, showing momentum on this issue. Today there are 113 bipartisan co-sponsors on the House bill and 13 co-sponsors on the Senate bill.

“The support our profession is receiving from state and federal policymakers is remarkable,” stated Thomas Menighan, APhA EVP and CEO. “We owe that growing recognition not only to the advocacy efforts by pharmacists across the country but due to the quality care they provide. Getting involved in the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign and reaching out to Members of Congress to explain how this legislation will make a critical difference in your community should be a priority for all of us. I am proud to see so many pharmacists helping set the course for the future of their profession.”

If passed, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act would enable Medicare patients living in Medically Underserved communities to access important services that pharmacists can provide, including medication management, chronic disease management and preventative screenings.
 

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