Arlington, Va. – National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, issued the following statement today on the occasion of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.

It is time to bring improved quality of health and quality of life to our older Americans through the services of pharmacists, who are highly educated and ready to help.

Held approximately once each decade, this year’s Conference is the sixth such event since the first in 1961. The White House Conference on Aging is viewed as a catalyst for the development of aging policy, including that related to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Older Americans Act.

Anderson’s statement is as follows:

“NACDS enthusiastically takes this opportunity to celebrate the lives and contributions of our nation’s older Americans. We also applaud the dedication of everyone committed to bringing about the innovations in healthcare that safeguard the future of our older Americans, and that empower their fullness of life.

“NACDS would like to take this opportunity to recognize the pharmacists in neighborhoods across the country who serve as extremely accessible and trusted healthcare providers and advocates for seniors. Pharmacists are best known for helping patients use medicines safely and correctly. When the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit was created and implemented, pharmacists were recognized by public health experts as heroes in the success of the program.

“Yet, from that foundation, additional and new pharmacy services are doing even more to improve patient health and quality of life. Examples include vaccinations, health education, and disease state testing and management. Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, pharmacies are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow – applying the extensive education and professionalism of pharmacists in collaboration with doctors, nurses and others.

“As the 2015 White House Conference on Aging pursues additional ideas to improve healthcare for older Americans, including improved healthcare access for the growing senior population, NACDS urges support for the approach detailed in the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 and S. 314). The legislation would make available to Medicare patients in the greatest need an array of healthcare services that pharmacists already are allowed to administer under state laws. Pharmacists are widely trusted, and their accessibility and expertise are valued especially by those who are older and who are among medically underserved communities, and who take prescription medications regularly and manage chronic diseases. It is time to bring improved quality of health and quality of life to our older Americans through the services of pharmacists, who are highly educated and ready to help.

“NACDS emphasizes that pharmacists who graduate today are required to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, a post-graduate degree that typically requires six years of college and graduate school to complete.

“NACDS looks forward to continuing to work with members of Congress, with the Administration, and with pharmacy’s partners in senior care to bring about improved access and quality of care for all Americans.”