H-E-B's Otto Highlights Collaborative Solutions at NACDS Expo

In his chairman's address at this week's National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo in Boston, Martin Otto, chief merchant and CFO at san Antonio-based H-E-B, addressed a wide range of issues pertaining to how business partners can collaborate to solve diverse challenges, including health care, education and social programs.

“We need improved access to quality, affordable health care, which pharmacy can help to provide," said Otto. "Health care spending is crowding out social services and education dollars. As a result, poverty is increasing, creating a vicious cycle.”

Noting NACDS’ role in advocating for policies that improve access to pharmacy patient care, Otto said, “The good news is that there are solutions, and we can collectively lead the way." However, he cautioned, "We need long-term, end-to-end thinking about health care, its connection to other spending needs, and how individual actions affect the overall system.".

In related news, Hy-Vee Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker, who was chairman of NACDS from April 2015 to April 2016 and who continues to serve on the NACDS board of directors, accepted the association's 2016 Politically Engaged Pharmacy (PEP) award on behalf of the West Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer's strong and consistent involvement.

“Our team at Hy-Vee really has worked hard to make a difference,” said Edeker. “Together, we’re stronger than we are individually. This is a nice recognition for all of our folks who have done a lot with NACDS-PAC,” the trade organization's political action committee.

Richard Ashworth, president of pharmacy and retail operations for Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen Co. and chairman of NACDS-PAC, presented the award, saying that the people of Hy-Vee exemplify the notion that “passionate voices can make a world of difference.”

“We present the PEP award to a person – or a company – that’s made a big difference in advancing community pharmacy with policymakers, so we can do more to serve our customers and patients,” Ashworth said, noting that Hy-Vee team members throughout the company have “stepped up big-time” to be engaged participants in the bipartisan NACDS-PAC, which supports federal congressional candidates who advance pro-patient and pro-pharmacy policies.

 “NACDS makes it a priority to tell pharmacy’s story to lawmakers and to the public," added H-E-B's Otto, who also spoke about the success of the NACDS RxIMPACT grass-roots advocacy program and the importance of electoral engagement.

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