NACDS' Anderson to pharmacy students: Create the 'practice of the future'

AURORA, Colo. — “When it comes to advancing pharmacy to truly become the ‘practice of the future,’ we must tell our story.” That was a key message that Steve Anderson, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO, had for next-generation pharmacists attending the Dean’s Convocation at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus on Tuesday.

“If you want to know what the future of pharmacy will look like, I can tell you. Pharmacy will become whatever people like you envision. And its advancement will reflect the energy with which you engage,” Anderson said.

He emphasized four key points, urging tomorrow’s pharmacists to help advance pharmacy as the “practice of the future”:

  • “Together, we must commit to advance pharmacy”;
  • “Not only must we commit to advancing pharmacy, but together we can do this. The opportunity to promote pharmacy’s value is great, because the story of pharmacy’s value is might”;
  • “Pharmacy’s commitment to achieving the status of the ‘practice of the future’ must be a ‘forever’ thing.  We need to make a long-term commitment to revolutionizing healthcare through pharmacy”; and
  • “You have a specific role that you can play — today and every day as a member of the pharmacy profession.”

Anderson relayed a litany of statistics that reflect the accessibility and public trust of community pharmacists, as well as the return-on-investment that community pharmacy services deliver. He emphasized community pharmacy’s ability to help patients take medications correctly, thus reducing reliance on costly forms of care, and he highlighted community pharmacy’s value through vaccinations and health screenings and education. He also described community pharmacy’s increasing success in achieving public policy victories as elected officials gain a greater understanding and appreciation for its cost-effectiveness.

Describing NACDS’ ongoing initiative to educate the government, opinion leaders, the media and other audiences about pharmacy’s role as “the face of neighborhood health care,” Anderson said the message has taken on new importance in the wake of economic turmoil. “Our position is that there is no greater value in healthcare delivery than neighborhood pharmacies,” he said.

Anderson also emphasized the effectiveness of the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program, through which community pharmacy advocates connect with their elected officials.

"I am fired up about pharmacy,” Anderson concluded. “While the times around us are challenging, the opportunities before us are invigorating. I am thankful for the opportunity to be with you today to talk about what pharmacy has accomplished together, and the work that lies ahead."

“All I ask is that you remember four things. They are simple. When it comes to advancing pharmacy to truly become the ‘practice of the future,’ we must tell our story; we have a compelling story to tell; but it will take all of us, working together, forever; beginning now. Will you join us?”