During the NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program, newly elected NACDS Chairman Chris Lane affirmed NACDS’ commitment to “supporting all dimensions of today’s retail pharmacy,” declaring “It’s an approach that makes NACDS more than a trade association, but an essential partner in our industry.”

Lane, the executive vice president of Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite, accepted the NACDS chairman’s gavel from Mark Panzer, senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness, Albertsons Companies, who served out his tenure as NACDS chairman.

Lane said that his respect for pharmacy dates back to his formative years and includes valuable lessons learned from both pharmacy practice and retail business management. “I learned that a successful pharmacy was built on the relationships that pharmacists had with their customers,” Lane said. “Those interactions—between customer and caregiver—were the life-blood of the business. Today, I believe the same thing holds true—it’s a caring and compassionate pharmacist who keeps customers coming back.”

“While some aspects of the profession have not changed, the services performed by a pharmacist have. Today, pharmacists are administering vaccines, educating patients on chronic medical conditions and managing medication therapy. For many of our customers, pharmacists are among the most trusted healthcare professionals they engage with. Pharmacists are often the face of healthcare to many communities throughout the U.S.”

Noting the “full spectrum” of products and services available in NACDS chain members’ stores, in partnership with suppliers, Lane said that NACDS’ offerings have also evolved. He explained, “A great example of this approach is in the makeup of this NACDS Annual Meeting. We have representatives from retail pharmacy, consumer products companies, technology and service providers. It’s important that representation is broad because when we receive input from all areas of our industry, we have a more informed point of view, all of our voices are heard, and we become a stronger, more agile association that can better serve its membership.”

Lane emphasized that NACDS’ “big tent” approach also applies to advocacy: “Whether you are a chain or associate member, your active engagement in supporting and promoting our Access Agenda and legislative efforts is essential if we are going to effectively navigate the future and win. Collaboration will get us there.”

During his Business Program presentation, Lane delineated several advocacy priorities, including:
• “Strongly defending a patient’s access to prescription medicines while reducing their out of pocket costs—and defending the viability of pharmacies;
• “Expanding patient access to healthcare by expanding the services we can offer. When we expand the scope of our business, we improve the quality of care to thousands of communities we serve;
• “Continuing the work we began to reduce opioid abuse while maintaining access to this essential medication. We have proven that pharmacies can be part of the solution.”

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