Growing Power and Progress Mark NACDS' Legislative History

By Muirhead, Greg | Drug Topics, January 1, 1993 | Go to article overview

Growing Power and Progress Mark NACDS' Legislative History


Muirhead, Greg, Drug Topics


In the 60 years since the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) was formed in the fall of 1933, it has taken chain drugstores' concerns much closer to the heart of the nation's government.

When NACDS began, it took on tasks left behind in the dissolution of the National Association of Chain Stores (NACS). NACS had itself been created in 1927 to help counter anti-chain store sentiment around the country and in Congress.

As NACDS developed its mission in the depths of the Depression years, one of its main tasks was to find a way to deal with the threat of deep-discount stores, also called "pine board stores."

Drugstore chains saw the discount operations' predatory prices on brand-name products cutting into their business, and they wanted legislative relief. As a result of NACDS' and others' lobbying efforts, fair-trade laws came into existence in the late 1930s, providing chain drugstores with protection against predatory pricing tactics from discounters.

In the 1940s, NACDS began expanding its mission to include the concerns of smaller drugstore chains in addition to those of the core membership of the nation's largest chains. With this expanded membership to serve, NACDS--in 1949-hired its first full-time director and lobbyist, Carl Willingham, to promote drugstore chains' issues more effectively to the federal government.

During the 1950s, one of NACDS' major lobbying efforts was directed toward abolishing the 20% excise tax on cosmetics, imposed by the federal government during World War II. Chains found that what they thought would be a temporary federal fund-raiser and conservation effort during the war was continuing long beyond the end of the war. Their efforts paid off when, in 1965, Congress repealed the tax.

In 1961, NACDS sought to get closer to the nation's locus of power by setting up its headquarters in Washington, D. …

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