Merlo: ‘We get things done’ at Annual Meeting

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Things get done at Annual Meeting. That was the key message National Association of Chain Drug Stores chairman Larry Merlo had for members attending Sunday morning’s business session. That’s because the right people come to Annual — people that have the authority necessary not only to make a commitment but also, and more importantly, the authority to deliver on that commitment.

“This year’s attendees include 27 individuals who hold the title of chairman in their company,” Merlo said, “114 CEOs, 21 COOs, 189 presidents and 644 vice presidents.” That’s what makes Annual Meeting special. It’s about the people and the plans and programs that will take shape as a result of the strategic meetings that take place over the course of a few days.

Sunday morning’s business session, which marked the final days of Merlo’s tenure as NACDS chairman, offered the outgoing chairman pause to reflect on the industry’s accomplishments over the past 12 months. “The value of pharmacy is commanding greater awareness and visibility in healthcare and policy circles,” Merlo said. “While we still have a ways to go on communicating the importance of medication adherence and the ability of pharmacy to improve it, this has been a year of increasing momentum around this issue, and we are moving in the right direction.”

In his State of the Association address, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson stressed the power of the industry, speaking with a collective voice and acknowledging the successes of NACDS in recent years, including winning legislative change to Medicaid AMP, or average manufacturer pricing; changes related to durable medical equipment; and advancing medication therapy management.

“Our strategy of peppering the nation’s capital and the state capitals with our collective power and our collective voice has worked out well over the last four years,” Anderson told attendees.

NACDS also announced Sunday morning the consolidation of its event calendar in 2013: Supply Chain & Logistics, Marketplace, and Pharmacy & Technology will be eliminated and replaced by a new show to be known as “Total Store Expo,” to be held in the month of August.

The first Total Store Expo is set for Aug. 10 to 13, 2013, in Las Vegas. The new event will integrate pharmacy, front-end merchandising and supply chain programs, and exhibits into one cohesive program, which in the spirit of Annual Meeting, would enable retailers and vendors to have all key executives in attendance at Total Store Expo — the type of people you need to make and deliver on a commitment.

Beginning in 2013, the new NACDS calendar will include the Regional Meeting in February, Annual Meeting in April, Total Store Expo in August and the NACDS Foundation Dinner in December.