Palm Beach, Fla. – In his first remarks as chairman of the Board of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), Martin Otto, chief merchant and chief financial officer of H-E-B, recognized the contributions of NACDS chain and associate members in improving health and wellness in communities nationwide, and in building the value that diverse members derive from their engagement in NACDS.

There are a lot of structural issues in the healthcare system and my hope is that through NACDS we can be part of the solution.

Otto’s remarks were part of a morning Business Program, which also featured remarks by General Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Otto credited the strong engagement of NACDS’ chain and supplier members, and of NACDS’ Board of Directors and staff team, for the Association’s success. In describing his interest in becoming increasingly involved in NACDS, Otto said, “It’s a very well run organization and that really matters to me. Also, as was the case with [past NACDS Chairman and Hy-Vee, Inc. Chairman, CEO and President] Randy Edeker, the health and wellness pieces are occupying a greater portion of the energy of our team, and NACDS is the right organization for us to be actively involved in.”

He reinforced key NACDS priorities, including creating a “retailer-supplier marketplace,” advocating on behalf of the industry, and helping to improve the healthcare delivery system.

“I generally hear that NACDS’ meetings are the best in the industry partly because everyone comes to the meetings, and the reason everyone comes to the meetings is that they’re the best in the industry,” Otto said. “It’s also a role of our Association to be a leader in improving healthcare in our country. We need to lead in quality, cost and access.”

Regarding the effort to help improve health and wellness, he described several “interconnected issues” that demand attention and that create opportunities for NACDS members to make a difference. These issues include opportunities to improve the public’s health knowledge and behavior; to improve patients’ access and time with healthcare providers; and to address structural issues such as misaligned provider incentives and obstacles to e-prescribing and electronic health records.

“There are a lot of structural issues in the healthcare system and my hope is that through NACDS we can be part of the solution,” Otto said.

Otto acknowledged David Pothast, vice president, U.S. customer development, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., who supported and spoke at this morning’s NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program. Similarly, Jack Bailey, president, U.S. pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline supported and spoke at Sunday morning’s NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program.

Editor’s Note: Photos are available via the 2016 NACDS Annual Meeting Flickr album.