This state, plus independent pharmacies, are a natural | NCPA Executive Update | December 22, 2023

NCPA December 20, 2023

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Arkansas to visit newly appointed NCPA Board Chair Kristen Riddle and talk with some of the NCPA members in the state.

Tuesday, 4:15 a.m.—My alarm is set for 4:30 a.m. but I get up ahead of the alarm so it doesn't wake up my wife.

5:15 a.m.—Made it to the front door before realizing I only had tennis shoes. Stealthily go back for dressier shoes. Wind up waking up my wife.

6:00 a.m.—Only coffee shops are open at Washington National Airport. I don't drink coffee. Opt for a breakfast consisting of a protein bar and bag of peanuts. Yum.

10:30 a.m. (now on Central Time)—Arrive at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock. Kristen meets me, having driven 45 minutes from her house.

11:30 a.m.groupWe meet up with Arkansas Pharmacist Association Executive Director John Vinson, as well as pharmacy owners Scott Pace and Brandon Achor (who is also an Arkansas state representative), and Executive Director of the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy Executive Director John Kirtley. Add Kristen to the mix and it's quite an impressive "Who's Who" of Arkansas' pharmacy group. Brandon shares a little about his business group's business model that helps pharmacists become owners and often locates pharmacies in underserved areas. We also talk about the therapeutic benefits of GLP-1's but the disastrous economic impact they are having on pharmacies.

1:00 p.m.—Visit Kavanaugh Pharmacy's new location in a remodeled bank building. Anne and Scott Pace are the owners and one of pharmacy's most dynamic duos. Their pharmacy was one of the first in the state to do point of care testing and they did over 100,000 COVID vaccinations!

2:00 p.m.—Kristen and I make our way to her hometown of Greenbrier where we stop to visit the very busy American Drug. Kristen had let one of the owners, Raymond Reynolds know that we would be stopping by and he came in on his day off to meet us. Sure enough, he got put to work while he was there to support his teammates including pharmacists Kevin Moore and Nathan Bartrow.

3:30 p.m.We drive up to Kristen's newly built pharmacy—after decades located in a grocery store in the adjacent shopping center. It looks great and the addition of a drive-thru window has attracted a steady stream of new patients. We talk about the opportunities for vaccinations and the preparation Kristen has made in the event of a DIR hangover.

5:00 p.m.—Now back in Little Rock, we are joined for dinner by APA President James Bethea, a pharmacy owner from Stuttgart and NCPA past-president Mark Riley and his wife, Brenda. Three of the main architects of the state legislation that ultimately resulted in a triumphant 8-0 unanimous decision by the Supreme Court sat next to me. Mark, Scott, and John Vinson were all at the helm of APA during important milestones that led to this huge win for pharmacy and consumers.

6:30 p.m.—John Vinson takes me to the new APA office located within a stone's throw of the state capital. It's one of the most impressive buildings in pharmacy and a testimony to what can be accomplished when pharmacists come together.

7:00 p.m.—John kicks off the APA's latest Fireside Chat webinar. About 75 pharmacy owners join us in-person and on-line—an impressive showing for a Tuesday evening. The main topics are the class action lawsuit against CVS-Aetna filed by an independent pharmacy owner who is represented by three top-notch law firms, and the TRUST, LLC, which was launched by NCPA and the same three law firms for the purpose of trying to get back some of the pharmacy DIR fees that pharmacies have paid. The audience has a number of good questions. There's a lot of interest here.

9:00 p.m.—Head back to the hotel. Answer emails. Crash a couple of hours later.


8:00 a.m.—Kristen picks me up and we meet John Kirtley at a place called Big Bad Breakfast. John gives me a brief tour of Board of Pharmacy offices and shares his thoughts on some of the current regulatory issues.

11:07 a.m.—The door just closed on my plane back to DCA. It's been a productive 25 hours. Arkansas' nickname is the "Natural State" but they could change that name to the "Pharmacy State" because pharmacists helping their neighbors live a healthier life seems to just come naturally to them.


Doug Hoey

B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA