NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every other Friday.

What's it all about? Come see for yourself. | NCPA Executive Update | August 24, 2018

by NCPA | Aug 24, 2018

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

This summer I've attended quite a few pharmacy meetings, and one of the highlights for me has been to visit anonymously with pharmacy owners over a meal. Sometimes the talk at the table was pharmacy; sometimes it was about family or life in general. Either way, I loved connecting with our membership that way. It further reinforced why I am proud to represent independent community pharmacy owners — because, plainly put, you're just good people.

After a while, someone at the table usually would identify me by my face or by my name badge. Sometimes I introduced myself. One of those visits with a very active NCPA member stands out. This person reads the communications NCPA sends out, follows us on social media and knows that NCPA's word makes a difference. He might even be reading this message right now. I'll call him "Sam," and I wish I could clone him — except for one thing.

The conversation turned to Amazon's acquisition of PillPack. I said that NCPA will be offering a "PillPack Track" of programs at the NCPA Annual Convention in Boston, and I asked who had registered to go.

Sam hadn't yet signed up and his next comment caught me by surprise — "What is an NCPA Annual Convention like? I mean, what goes on there? Is it a lot of programs about advocacy and politics?"

I was taken aback. My first NCPA Annual Convention came when I was a pharmacy student. I applied for a student travel scholarship offered by a buying group and won (truthfully, I think it was one of those deals where all who applied were "winners"). That was my first exposure to an NCPA (still NARD back then) Annual Convention, and I've been to many more since, so I guess I've come to take for granted that everyone knows what goes on at NCPA's Annual Convention.

I told Sam that advocacy certainly is a core value of NCPA, but the Annual Convention actually focuses on giving independent pharmacy owners business tools to be more successful professionally and personally.

The unofficially named "PillPack Programming Track" is one example. The company PillPack, recently purchased by Amazon for a reported $1 billion, offers special medication packaging and mail-order delivery. For decades, most independent pharmacies have offered medication adherence packaging with same-day home delivery service (much better than mail order!).

Promoting those services, however, has not been a strength for most independents. At the NCPA Annual Convention, Oct 6-9 in Boston we're offering a series of programs to equip pharmacy owners with tools to position their packaging and delivery services to be better, run more efficiently, and generate more attention from customers who are being heavily solicited by PillPack. Here are a couple of program examples:

Monday, Oct. 8
Personalized Medication Delivery that Plan Sponsors Value

I once talked with a large health care plan executive who complained that she was hiring taxis (this was pre-Uber) to deliver asthma inhalers. She had no idea that 70+ percent of independent pharmacies offer same-day home delivery! Independents are figuring out how to position the delivery service they already offer into an even bigger competitive advantage. I have talked to too many pharmacy owners who undervalue their delivery service — and their delivery driver. From store operations to enhanced services, personalized delivery service offers a huge competitive advantage.

Tuesday, Oct. 9
Convenience Packaging: How to Market Your Service

One of this program's speakers, Ben McNabb, has a great example to relay about how his pharmacy's packaging services got intertwined with the win-loss record of the Dallas Cowboys.

And there'll be many more sessions like those — not all focused on competing with PillPack, but all focused on your business. In fact, everything about the NCPA Annual Convention, from the programs to the networking sessions to the entertainment, will generate ideas and solutions you can take home to your business make that business better, more vibrant, more profitable.

It was great to visit with "Sam" and the many others I had the chance to meet this summer. I'm looking forward to Boston — and to showing Sam what the NCPA Annual Convention is truly all about.

Doug Hoey

P.S. If I've persuaded you to register for the NCPA Convention — and I hope I have — then be aware of this: The deadline for the special NCPA hotel rate in Boston expires September 12. Not only that, but if you register for the convention by October 5, you'll save $$$.