NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE
I want to say what an honor it is to work alongside you and your company, as you innovate, and compete, and serve consumers at this unique moment. I don’t have to tell you, these are times of transformation: rapid and rampant transformation.
And if you came to the NACDS Total Store Expo to help make that transformation your own, you came to the right place. This event was created to bring you together with your business partners, with your colleagues, with counterparts from other companies, with experts, with thought leaders, with the people you can benefit from, and with the people who can benefit from you.
“I am excited about everything you are doing to help take this amazing time of transformation and make it yours. And I am excited that NACDS has a role to play in that. Whether it’s creating a chance for you to get together with your business partners; whether it’s confronting major obstacles to what you are doing – like DIR fees in the pharmacy, the trade war, which impacts both suppliers and retailers, and the many, many other issues where NACDS is leading; whether it’s creating programs that are making a meaningful difference in patient care; or whether it’s building the opportunities for you to leverage your collective voice to make a greater difference in government; that is you and your association forging ahead together.”
And not only did you come to the right event, but NACDS is absolutely committed to assuring you are part of the right organization: the organization that is committed to your success in these transformative times, and the organization that is committed to the constant change that is needed to achieve that mission.
I want to thank and recognize the NACDS Board of Directors, who are dedicated to keeping NACDS ahead of the curve. In fact, the Board is meeting here where they will continue their work on your behalf. And I want to thank the NACDS staff team. I am honored to serve you with them every day.
I am really excited about this year’s Total Store Expo. We started with tremendous energy yesterday. You made “Meet the Market” absolutely fantastic with more than 7,567 meetings. And “Meet the Industry” showcased topics that are driving companies’ agendas. Thank you to those who gave their time, preparation, and expert content. Our chain members met on value-based payment models, and regulatory compliance. The Supply Chain Summit took on the transportation issues of the day. The National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations held its summer meeting here. It’s great to have our state allies with us.
We’re definitely off to a fast start. Now, I am really looking forward to this Business Program, and the opening of the Exhibit Hall in just a couple of hours. The exhibitors are almost ready to go. We have fantastic Insight Sessions ready for tomorrow. We are really glad you are here.
In the time that I have with you this morning, I would like to address a few other aspects of NACDS that relate directly to transformation. For starters, I would like to share with you a strategy we are using to position this year’s Total Store Expo as a compelling case about the potential consequences of the emerging trade war: the tariffs that our nation is imposing and planning, and the retaliation by our trading partners. This emerging trade war could jeopardize much of what you are doing to transform your business and this great industry.
The timing is ideal for NACDS to make this case. This trade dispute has already involved tariffs on billions of dollars of goods, and has targeted hundreds of billions of dollars more. The emerging trade war is on the minds of those doing business here at the Total Store Expo, and on the minds of consumers.
Diverse products, packaging and equipment already are being affected. And more items are being added to the tariff list. There are increased freight costs, too.
This matters to the entire supply chain. Think about it. It affects the products on store shelves. It affects the process of getting those products to the shelves. And it even affects the shelves themselves, given rising steel costs.
Today, we are releasing the results of a survey commissioned by NACDS and conducted by Morning Consult – a polling and media company. The survey focuses on the residents of Denver – our Total Store Expo host city. Sixty-five percent are concerned about retaliatory tariffs imposed on the U.S. by other countries. Only 23 percent are not worried. Seventy-six percent say they fear increased prices – especially on healthcare products. Sixty-two percent are concerned about job losses across industries. Forty-nine percent say tariffs will hurt Colorado’s retail industry. Sixty-two percent of Denver residents prefer more free-trade agreements, and only 18 percent prefer tariffs as a matter of trade policy. Another survey shows serious national concerns as well.
At the same time, this Total Store Expo shows alternatives to protectionism. Take the “Made in the USA” program, which we use at this event, at the request of retailers. This year, we have 100 returning “Made in the USA” exhibitors, and 16 first-timers in this program. This is proactive marketing, which benefits retailers and domestic manufacturers, without the risk of unintended consequences.
From here at the Total Store Expo, we are telling this story to Washington decision-makers through a concerted communications campaign this week. Morning Consult is blasting our information through its publications, and sending our data to decision-makers and influencers in the nation’s capital. We are sharing this with the Denver and Washington, D.C. media. The Denver Business Journal published this past Thursday an opinion piece by NACDS and by the Colorado Retail Council on this topic. I want to thank the Colorado Retail Council for partnering with us, given the local angle. And we are working to tell this story through the coalitions that are active on the issue. We collaborate whenever we have an opportunity.
Last year, retailers and suppliers worked together – successfully – to fight the border adjustment tax. That proposal, which threatened consumers, workers, and businesses, was defeated. it’s time to take up the fight on the trade war again. We are sending that message loud and clear. And there could not be a better venue for making the case than right here.
The next thing I would like to do is give you two points to think about when we hear next from our chairman, Mark Panzer, of Albertsons. Mark will talk about the value that NACDS provides to your company – particularly at this transformational time. He will talk about this in terms of government advocacy on the pharmacy and health and wellness issues at the core of NACDS. This includes the extremely pressing issues of direct-and-indirect remuneration fees – DIR fees; preserving patient access through appropriate pharmacy reimbursement; expanding pharmacy’s scope of practice – or, as we have been calling it, “scope of business”; serving as part of the solution on the opioid abuse epidemic; and much more. And he also will talk about this in terms of the front-end issues, and total-store issues, at the heart of retailer and supplier collaboration.
As you listen to Mark’s comments on advocating for pharmacy patient care, the first point I would like to ask you to think about is this. In addition to advocacy, NACDS is serving in many other ways as an agent of change in healthcare delivery. And the NACDS Foundation is working hard to discover new ways to promote public health. Many people are surprised to hear how much is being done by us.
These are some of the forward-thinking programs of NACDS, and the NACDS Foundation, which relate directly to improving public health: increasing vaccination rates through the accessibility of pharmacies; expanding new services including point-of-care testing and pharmacogenomics; enhancing screening for hepatitis C, HIV, and tuberculosis; improving transitions of care and helping to reduce hospital readmissions; confronting the global threat of antibiotic resistance; enhancing preparedness and response to pandemics and other emergencies – from the Zika virus to devastating hurricanes; building greater reliance on pharmacies and other accessible healthcare options for treating minor ailments; conducting pilot programs to pioneer solutions to the opioid abuse epidemic; and much more. These are really, really big issues.
Beyond our studies and programs, NACDS is committed to telling the story of members’ community engagement – and everything you are doing for your community beyond your business model. In April, we announced a report – prepared with Deloitte – that found NACDS chain members gave 650 million dollars, and 1.5 million volunteer hours, in 2017. And we are shining the spotlight on the work of suppliers as well. All that is to say, beyond advocacy, NACDS is advancing health and wellness in meaningful ways – and showcasing your efforts to do just that.
Here is the second point I would like to say about advocacy and its role in transformation – and what you will hear from our chairman, Mark Panzer. You will hear Mark describe the work that NACDS does at all levels and all branches of government – fighting the fights, and forging new ground for pharmacy. When you hear Mark describe our progress, I hope you will keep in mind an important point: you can be part of this work in a very special way through the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program.
For example, at NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill in March of this year, advocates from all 50 states visited in person every single Congressional office on Capitol Hill – all 100 members of the United States Senate, and all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That is unheard of among other grassroots programs. Registration is open now for our event in March 2019. We hope to see you there.
In addition, NACDS members are hosting Congressional pharmacy tours and other events in states and congressional districts. More than 650 of these events have been hosted over the past decade. These events are powerful. This is where members of Congress come into our members’ stores and see the work you are doing for their constituents as the face of neighborhood healthcare. And it’s producing positive results on Capitol Hill.
Do you want to talk about transformation, and about working for government polices that are right for your business, for your employees and for your customers? The NACDS RxIMPACT program fuels that transformation. And you are an important part of that.
I am excited about everything you are doing to help take this amazing time of transformation and make it yours. And I am excited that NACDS has a role to play in that. Whether it’s creating a chance for you to get together with your business partners; whether it’s confronting major obstacles to what you are doing – like DIR fees in the pharmacy, the trade war, which impacts both suppliers and retailers, and the many, many other issues where NACDS is leading; whether it’s creating programs that are making a meaningful difference in patient care; or whether it’s building the opportunities for you to leverage your collective voice to make a greater difference in government; that is you and your association forging ahead together.
We are glad you are here. And we are glad to be part of your amazing work on behalf of the American people – every single day.