NACDS elects new board chairman and awards scholarships

May 14, 2010

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) elected a new chairman of the Board of Directors at its 2010 annual meeting in April in Palm Beach, Fla. In addition, the NACDS Foundation awarded nearly $300,000 in scholarships to pharmacy schools during the meeting.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) elected a new chairman of the Board of Directors at its 2010 annual meeting in April in Palm Beach, Fla. In addition, the NACDS Foundation awarded nearly $300,000 in scholarships to pharmacy schools during the meeting.

Larry J. Merlo, executive vice president of CVS Caremark Corp. and president of CVS/pharmacy – retail, began serving a 1-year term as chairman following his election on April 26. In his acceptance speech, Merlo paid tribute to the pharmacy icons who advanced chain pharmacy and his own personal path. He also made clear his confidence that the pharmacist-patient relationship can help improve patient health and healthcare delivery.

Merlo described some of the changes and trends shaping pharmacy, including e-prescribing, the growth of the 65-and-older population, and aspects of the new healthcare reform law, including the closing of the Medicare Part D “donut hole” and the expansion of the number of Americans with healthcare coverage.

He also illustrated ongoing healthcare reform challenges, including the need to control healthcare costs. “I think this is where we come into play,” Merlo said, launching into a declaration of pharmacy’s value and potential.

“As an industry, I believe we are positioned to help control the costs of healthcare by advocating for the value of what I’m going to call ‘Pharmacy Care,’ ” Merlo emphasized. “Our strategy for ensuring the use of cost-effective medications is pretty clear - we need to promote adherence and effectiveness. In both areas, current research would suggest there are tremendous gaps.”

He depicted “adherence” as patients filling and taking the medications that providers have prescribed, and “effectiveness” as working with physicians to prescribe the correct medications.

“We must define the value for community pharmacy in a reformed healthcare-delivery system,” he said. “If you want to define the healthcare equation as access, cost, and quality, I would offer that community pharmacy is in the best position to effectively and positively contribute to all three pillars of that equation.”

Merlo showed a video of actual stories of pharmacists, who in the course of their practice have improved patients’ lives and even saved lives. He emphasized that similar stories play out daily in the pharmacies of diverse NACDS member-companies.

“There will be issues and challenges we will have to overcome, and through the NACDS agenda we will continue to work hard to navigate through the complexities the future brings,” he stressed. “There is more that unites us than divides us. It’s the value our pharmacists bring to the healthcare equation, as well as the role they play in their communities.”

Scholarships announced
The NACDS Foundation awarded $280,000 in student scholarships, supporting the nation’s 119 colleges and schools of pharmacy. The NACDS Foundation Pharmacy Partners Scholarship Program will contribute to each pharmacy school’s scholarship fund to assist students in paying for their education. Scholarship awards, which were supported by 35 chain pharmacy and supplier benefactors, range in value from $1,000 to $20,000.

The three largest scholarships were:

$20,000 - Apotex Corp.’s Wayne Roberts Memorial Scholarship presented to University of Florida College of Pharmacy.
$12,500 - Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. scholarship presented to Long Island University Arnold Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
$10,000 - Abbott Pharmaceutical Products Division scholarship presented to Husson University School of Pharmacy.

“The NACDS Foundation is dedicated to advancing the public good, and this includes these scholarship programs that assist with pharmacy students’ education,” said Edith A. Rosato, RPh, IOM, president of the NACDS Foundation.