1. Trends & External Forces

Rx aims to be true partner to payers, providers

ORLANDO, Fla. — Saying “the time is now,” Thrifty White Pharmacy chief operating officer Justin Heiser told attendees at the 2023 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Regional Chain Conference here that the industry was ready to do more for customers and patients.

“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity for pharmacists to deliver more hands-on care, paving the way for the profession to redefine its role and how we serve patients,” said Heiser, who chaired the event. “The question is: As an industry, are we taking full advantage of this opportunity?”

He went on to describe his own company’s endeavor to reimagine pharmacy so that patients have better access to clinical care services at Thrifty White.

“Our vision with building out all of this [pharmacy] infrastructure is to give our teams the confidence and the tools needed to manage chronic conditions and improve outcomes for patients,” he said. “Ultimately, we are positioning ourselves to be a partner to payers and providers who are taking on risk for the lives they are managing.”

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson told retailers and suppliers any anniversary is a time for reflection and anticipation.

Yet this one “is even more special,” he said. “It is a 90th anniversary after you saved America. It is a 90th anniversary when the industry is back together again ­­— in person. And that is important, because this is a 90th anniversary at a time of unique disruption and acceleration. No doubt: It is time to return, re­imagine and reinvent.”

Good Neighbor Pharmacy president and NACDS chair Brian Nightengale also emphasized the association’s priorities for the year.

They include pursuing fair and adequate pharmacy reimbursement, with a major focus on PBM reform; maintaining patients’ pharmacy access and health equity through PREP Act policies that have proven effective; further empowering the industry to leverage the total store to meet the needs of the total person; and fostering collaboration between retailers and suppliers in alternative ways to reach health and wellness consumers.

“These priorities add up to the acknowledgement that, together, we constitute the most accessible, most trusted and most affordable health care destination in America,” he said. “We seek an expanded role within our country’s health and wellness ecosystem. And together, we are the catalyst to make that happen.”

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