At the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo Business Program today, retailer and supplier participants received a comprehensive briefing on ways that their NACDS engagement can shape their companies’ future, while helping to address issues affecting local communities, the nation and even the world. 

NACDS Chairman Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance & president, Walgreen Co., set the tone: “This is where we come together to do two things: to build relationships, and most importantly to help Americans … The talk of everything is change, and I’m extremely optimistic, particularly with the heart of pharmacists at the heart of our industry … We start with the customer as the focus of the future.” 

Gourlay noted that NACDS is committed to remaining forward-thinking and highly in tune with shifting dynamics in the political environment, in retail and in healthcare. He described substantial execution on the themes that he conveyed during his first remarks as chairman during April’s NACDS Annual Meeting. 

He reported that NACDS is developing a plan to identify NACDS chain members’ work to develop shared value that benefits society. A survey is planned to gather this information about chains’ efforts, and to describe these findings alongside similar initiatives by the supplier community. 

“We are going to tell the story of chains more clearly, and we are going to echo the story of our supplier partners. The NACDS Board of Directors will be finalizing the details of this program and we will be announcing it soon, and I hope you will take the survey when it is available. The first step is to measure this engagement so we can tell, learn from, and continue to improve our story,” Gourlay said. 

NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, complemented Gourlay’s remarks – describing progress on the NACDS Future Value Targeting Initiative, which was launched at the NACDS Annual Meeting. Anderson said that – through NACDS – members are unleashing the power of community, conversation and solutions-focused curiosity to help address societal issues. 

“In the marketplace of ideas, NACDS trades on our ability to develop public policy solutions,” Anderson said. “As part of Future Value Targeting, we position these solutions as the pharmacy ‘Access Agenda.’ It has three parts: defending pharmacy; advancing pharmacy; and serving as a responsible partner on the toughest issues facing our nation.” 

Anderson announced that NACDS Past Chairman Martin Otto, chief operating officer of H-E-B, will address and lead a keynote panel at the 15th World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2018. “It’s a natural extension of the issues Martin spoke about during his NACDS chairmanship” Anderson said. “The title is, ‘Call to Action: How We Can (and Must) Collaborate to Mitigate the Socioeconomic Barriers and Improve U.S. Health Care.'” 

Anderson also detailed current and ongoing efforts at NACDS to serve as a working partner for opioid solutions, as described in a recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on August 14 and in comments to the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. 

Anderson summarized the presentations of the Business Program this way: “I hope Alex and I will leave you with two main thoughts. For one, NACDS provides great opportunities to advance your business. And, through NACDS, you are part of something even larger than any one company. Those are two really big ideas: value to the business, and value for society. That’s bold, and I’m here to tell you, that is NACDS.” 

The timeliness of initiatives underway at NACDS received the ultimate backdrop, described in the context of insights from Gen. Colin Powell (U.S. Army, Retired) – who shared thoughts and experiences from his 50-year career in public service, including military and diplomatic posts spanning four presidential administrations and the founding and leadership of the youth-focused America’s Promise Alliance.