For over 80 years, NACDS has served as a vibrant community of chains and suppliers. Participants at the Annual Meeting include Retail Chairmen, CEOs, Presidents, and Senior Vice Presidents of Marketing, Merchandising, Operations, and Pharmacy and their executive-level counterparts and decision makers from supplier companies. This year’s 2017 meeting is held April 21-26 in Scottsdale, AZ

What you can expect at this year’s conference

NACDS Annual Meeting Set to Kick Off

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Annual Meeting, which takes place April 22-25, 2017 at The Phoenician hotel, in Scottsdale, Arizona, is the industry’s most prestigious gathering of influential pharmacy thought leaders. The highly anticipated business meeting affords executives from NACDS member companies and their spouses/companions the chance to gain new insights into today’s changing pharmaceutical marketplace and steer a course for the future.

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Annual Meeting attendees comprise senior management team members responsible for marketing, merchandising, supply chain, operations, and related functions in both clinical practice guidelines and pharmacy, and their associate member/supplier counterparts. The Annual Meeting format features two formal business programs with business experts, industry panels, and renowned speakers such as General John Allen and political guru Karl Rove (see below). Following these sessions, “strategic exchange appointments” occur between retailers and associate members in designated cabanas and outdoor “exchange” spaces, private meeting rooms, or other designated meeting spaces located throughout The Phoenician.

First-time associate attendees at the NACDS Annual Meeting benefit from the Meet the Retailer program on Saturday morning. Evenings feature a variety of social functions, such as the Opening Celebration on Saturday featuring the band, Chicago, as well as NACDS functions and private, invitation-only events. (Spouses/companions are invited to attend NACDS social functions.)

Gen. John Allen, Karl Rove Among Speakers

General John Allen, Retired Four-Star Marine Corps General, is one of the nation’s most respected military leaders and most venerated thought leaders on the United States’ role in the world. President Obama enlisted Gen. Allen to be special envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL and confront the Islamic State terror group.

Gen. Allen is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the geopolitical relationships between the U.S. and Asia and the Middle East. A mix of military leader and talented diplomat, Gen. Allen delivers inspiring, true-to-life stories of the many challenges facing our nation, strategies for combating the danger, and the key takeaways that can be applied to today’s business world.

Also speaking at the NACDS Annual Meeting is Karl Rove, a political strategist renowned for his insightful commentary. Mr. Rove served as senior advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000 to 2007 and deputy chief of staff from 2004 to 2007. At the White House, he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was deputy chief of staff for policy. Mr. Rove became known as “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns.

NACDS Annual Meeting Schedule

Friday, April 21
Cyber Stations (10:00 am-6:00 pm)
Registration (10:00 am-6:00 pm)
Sponsors Reception (5:30 pm-6:30 pm)

Saturday, April 22
Cyber Stations (7:00 am-7:00 pm)
Registration (7:00 am-7:00 pm)
Meet the Retailer - CVS Health (8:00 am-8:30 am)
Meet the Retailer - Walgreen Co. (8:40 am-9:10 am)
Meet the Retailer - Fred's Pharmacy (9:20 am-
9:50 am)
Board of Directors Meeting (9:30 am-1:00 pm)
Strategic Exchange Appointments (10:00 am-
4:30 pm)
Meet the Retailer - Sam's Club (10:00 am-10:30 am)
Meet the Retailer - Cardinal Health (10:40 am-
11:10 am)
Meet the Retailer - The Vitamin Shoppe (11:20 am-
11:50 am)
Inaugural Attendees' Orientation (4:00 pm-4:30 pm)
Opening Celebration (6:30 pm-9:30 pm)

Sunday, April 23
Cyber Stations (7:00 am-5:00 pm)
Registration (7:00 am-5:00 pm)
Business Program I (8:00 am-9:45 am)
Strategic Exchange Appointments (10:00 am-4:30 pm)

Monday, April 24
Cyber Stations (7:30 am-5:00 pm)
Registration (7:30 am-5:00 pm)
NACDS Chain Members & PAC Breakfast (8:00 am-
9:30 am)
Strategic Exchange Appointments (10:00 am-4:30 pm)
The NACDS Luncheon (12:00 pm-2:00 pm)

Tuesday, April 25
Cyber Stations (7:30 am-6:00 pm)
Registration (7:30 am-6:00 pm)
Business Program II (8:00 am-9:45 am)
Strategic Exchange Appointments (10:00 am-4:30 pm)
Board of Directors Reception (6:30 pm-7:30 pm)
Board of Directors Dinner & Entertainment (7:30 pm-
10:30 pm)


Post Conference Wrap

NACDS Chairman Gourlay Gives Inaugural Remarks

During the NACDS Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 25, Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance & president, Walgreen Co., delivered his inaugural remarks as the chairman of the board. Conveying his excitement about playing a part in building on NACDS' legacy of leadership on issues of importance to customers, he said, "The theme for today, and moving forward is the customer—understanding the customer's needs and meeting them." 

"Through the Future Value Targeting initiative [see below], we are looking to lead the industry in a proactive and positive way, at a time when we have so much to offer," Gourlay said. He described shifting dynamics in the political environment, in retail, and in healthcare. Specifically, he noted changing trends in fulfillment, demographics, shopper behavior, wellness, and personalization.

Gourlay emphasized the importance of improving efficiency to better meet the needs of customers, focusing on healthcare affordability and price transparency while highlighting opportunities to maximize efficiency and experience through retailers' partnerships with suppliers and wholesalers, technological solutions such as e-prescribing, and new pharmacy services. "Building trust is absolutely essential in this marketplace," he said, describing the importance of putting customers first.

Mackenzie Monitors Consumer Trends

Colin Mackenzie, president of GSK Consumer Healthcare North America, delineated personal healthcare trends and the implications to retail pharmacy at the NACDS Annual Meeting business program on April 23, gleaned from IRI, Nielsen, and GSK's own market research. "Increasingly, consumers want control. They have access to more information and research than ever before, and they are using it to understand their own personal healthcare," he said, adding that one in five consumers have downloaded a health-releated app. "We cannot underestimate the importance of digital. It was important years ago, it is now mission critical."

Acknowledging the critical role of the industry in combating such recent worldwide health challenges as Zika virus and the Ebola outbreaks, Mackenzie turned his focus on how the industry is evolving to meet changing individual health habits. The growth of retail clinics, he said, "…has been tremendous; more than one-quarter of consumers have visited one. So self care is clearly a growing area for our business." In the self-care environment, he added, the pharmaceutical industry has a responsibility for "…providing easy access to the OTCs and medicines that they [consumers] need."

The pharmaceutical industry, Mackenzie said, can benefit as well from a dynamic marketplace. The switch of allergy products from prescription to OTC status, he pointed out, has been a major reason for the growth in that category. By providing easier access to healthcare and helping consumers treat themselves without adding a doctor's visit, Mackenzie concluded, "We are delivering our goal of helping consumers live better lives."

NACDS Unveils Strategic Initiative

During the Annual Meeting business program on April 23, the NACDS announced The NACDS Future Value Targeting initiative. NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, said, "NACDS Future Value Targeting is a strategic planning element that will supplement the already vitally important NACDS Strategic Plan. NACDS is intensely focused on doing the right things now to deliver return-on-investment for members into the future. We are focused on assessing this operating environment, and acting like a start-up and like a think-tank to do things in new ways to deliver for this amazing industry."

The NACDS announced several initial Future Value Targeting initiative measures, including 1) efforts to bring together diverse collaborators; 2) increased attention to corporate social responsibility programs; 3) the packaging of new and emerging issues—such as retail pharmacy–provided testing services for diabetes and other diseases—as part of the NACDS Access Agenda; and 4) The release of NACDS-commissioned opinion research conducted by Morning Consult that can be broken out by state and Congressional District.