Chain drug store association has history of achievements

(Regarding article, “Looking beyond 2008: NACDS chief Anderson thinking about the future,” Dec. 18.) About the future, I have no problem with the article’s speculation. About the past, the assertions are unfair.

Had reporter Jeffrey Young taken the time to discuss more of the past at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores he would have learned that a close-knit group worked tirelessly to represent the retail pharmacy community. To name just a few examples:

• When a new administration elected to foist an ill-conceived drug discount card on the industry, NACDS sued the administration and prevailed in the initial verdict and in an appeal.

• When the retail pharmacy community could not accept solutions to reform Medicare between 2000 and 2002, a coalition helped prevent passage of measures that neither served the senior population well nor respected the vital role of pharmacists.

• When the efforts of the retail pharmacy industry to accelerate the adoption of electronic prescribing called for a new entity, SureScripts was formed working with the independent pharmacy community as equal partners.

• When modernizing Medicare became a top priority in 2003, the NACDS board instructed our team to work constructively on a measure serving seniors and respecting community pharmacies. Again, our coalition aimed at passing a Medicare modernization program for all parties.

• With the act passing in 2003, NACDS sought to ensure a workable program, first with a discount card program and then with prescription drug plans.

• When Medicaid cuts threatened pharmacy reimbursement, we killed one budget proposal on arrival and delayed a second that remains suspended.

These are the facts.

The team committed to these and other initiatives was one of the finest it has ever been my privilege to lead

I have always embraced change. Change is good for organizations. Changes were tried over the past 18 months at NACDS. Some were abandoned, some continue. That is not unusual.

The individuals who led successful efforts in federal and state government affairs, pharmacy policy, pharmacy affairs, media relations and SureScripts will all join me in applauding the accomplishments of our successors “beyond 2008.” But, nothing will diminish our pride in the past or our appreciation for the opportunity to make our own contributions to a fine and important industry.

I only hope that the next time Mr. Young wants to look into someone’s crystal ball and speculate on the future, he will cast more than a passing glance at the past.

Mclean, Va.

 Ironic mindset

(Regarding article, “Dems cave on spending,” Dec. 13.) It is ironic to observe the party that cannot defeat their outnumbered opponent on the House floor think they are qualified to micromanage a war thousands of miles away.

Walnut Creek, Calif.