Walgreens CEO, now heading up NACDS board, stresses new role of community pharmacists

April 24, 2012

The new chairman of the board of the National Association of Chain Drugs Stores emphasized that community pharmacies provide the value of ?an improved health outcome that only a face-to-face encounter with a community pharmacist can accomplish.?

The new chairman of the board of the National Association of Chain Drugs Stores (NACDS) emphasized that community pharmacies provide the value of “an improved health outcome that only a face-to-face encounter with a community pharmacist can accomplish.”

Gregory D. Wasson, president, CEO of Walgreen Co., made the comments last week during his first speech as chairman at the NACDS Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

He said community pharmacies are facing a “push-pull” environment, according to an NACDS news release.

The push, he said, is provided by those who want to reduce “value of the patient-pharmacist relationship to merely the tactical part of the job – dispensing the pill.” The pull, Wasson added, is “what is pulling our industry to step up – that’s our nation’s need for new, innovative solutions to solve our healthcare crisis.”

Both should be motivating factors for the industry, he insisted.

“This push-pull is creating an enormous opportunity for this industry to step up and play a much, much greater role to be what this country needs, providing affordable and accessible healthcare services and using the pharmacy profession to its fullest capacity,” Wasson said. “It’s the right thing to do, and now’s the right time to do it.”

Wasson cited examples of innovative approaches to patient care by community pharmacies.

“Many of us are also using our community presence to co-locate doctors and nurse practitioners in our stores to expand these services even further,” he explained.

These services include online devices such as Walgreens new "Find Your Pharmacist" tool. The tool allows patients to select a pharmacist by matching their healthcare needs with the areas of expertise, specialties, languages, and clinical backgrounds of Walgreens pharmacists, according to the company.

“This is another way we are advancing community pharmacy by helping people connect on a more meaningful level with Walgreens pharmacists in their neighborhood, whether that is speaking their native language or providing clinical information specific to their health condition,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness, according to Yahoo! Finance.