NACDS Board of Directors member Richard Ashworth, president, operations, Walgreen Co., in a meeting with U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) during the 2019 NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.
I want to express appreciation in the strongest possible terms to the 424 advocates from all 50 states who reached every Congressional office during NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill. One member put it exactly right: creating this event 11 years ago was like planting a tree, and it is impressive to see its ever-growing strength, reach and value.
The event now has reached every Congressional office in two consecutive years, and since its inaugural year in 2009 it has seen a 200 percent total participation increase, it has involved more than 50 percent of NACDS chain member companies and 60 percent of colleges and schools of pharmacy, and it has totaled 4,350 total Congressional meetings.
One of the extraordinary signs of the energy and mission-focus of the event is that attendees are sending to the NACDS staff truly amazing photos of their meetings with legislators, as well as powerful unsolicited comments about their overall experience on Capitol Hill. Here are a few examples of the messages that we have received over the past 24 hours:
- “I believe this was the best Impact Day I’ve been a part of honestly … In fact, as we speak, I’m sending a PDF of an Rx payment model flow chart to [a Congressional office]. Bottom line – I really feel WE MADE A DIFFERENCE.” – Dave Cippel, Klingensmith’s Drug Stores, Inc.
- “I think the day went very well. We met with seven Representatives’ offices and all seemed very receptive and supportive of the key initiatives. It was a great day.” – David Kirkus, Publix Super Markets, Inc.
- “Just wanted to let you know what an awesome day we had. In all of our meetings the staffers were extremely engaged and we had an opportunity to meet with several of the Congressmen personally … thank you for all your hard work making the RxIMPACT Day so successful.” – Mickey Blazer, Food City Pharmacy
- “It was great and I had a good time working with the team on our visits. I learned a lot as to what you and your team do and I appreciate everything you are working on for our profession. I look forward to doing what I can to help.” – Rick Bhandari, Woods Supermarkets
We also are seeing excellent coverage by advocates from their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. The organic photo collection is outstanding, and the captions indicate that NACDS members were very much on-message, and very effective in urging specific action on direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fee reform, enhancing pharmacy’s scope of business, and helping to solve the opioid-abuse epidemic.
On social media, we saw a photo of NACDS Board of Directors member Richard Ashworth, president, operations, Walgreen Co., at a white board in the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), literally drawing out an example for the Senator that demonstrates the need for fair pharmacy reimbursement, for transparency in the prescription drug supply chain, and for appropriate pharmacy metrics that should be tethered to DIR fee reform. At NACDS, we have “whiteboarded” our campaign approach to advancing these issues, and at NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill our leaders are “whiteboarding” these issues with members of Congress.
Last year, NACDS conducted a chain member survey to help define clearly the value that members expect and appreciate from NACDS. Government advocacy was one of the three areas of value that emerged clearly. Within “government advocacy,” some important sub-themes emerged, including the importance of effectiveness and winning on pivotal issues, the mechanism created by NACDS to forge consensus on highly complex and difficult issues, and serving as a hub of the industry’s grassroots engagement. The reality is that NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill is a reflection and a conduit for all of these aspects of NACDS’ value in government advocacy.
I also want to take a moment to recognize the entire NACDS staff team for their work on this event. As reflected in many of the comments that we have received from members, there is a true appreciation for everything that goes into making this event as successful as it is.
To the NACDS chain membership: thank you for your strong, incredible engagement in this 11-year-old effort that grows stronger and stronger each year as a result of your commitment.