PHARMACY

NASP announces new leadership, establishes advisory council

BY David Salazar

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy has been busy at its 2015 Annual Meeting & Expo. NASP on Thursday announced that it had elected new leadership, established advisory committees for stakeholders and unveiled its new Center for Specialty Pharmacy Education.

The organization’s board of directors has selected Burt Zweigenhaft as the next president, succeeding Mike Ellis in 2016. The board also elected Rebecca Shanahan as president-elect, to take over for Zweigenhaft in 2017. Zweigenhaft has worked for several years in oncology, working at Onco360 from 2005 until June 2015, and currently serves on the NASP board of directors’ executive committee.

“I look forward to the accomplishments that NASP will make in the year ahead," Ellis said. “Burt has been involved with NASP and dedicated to its mission since the beginning. Rebecca is a strong leader who was involved in SPAARx and the merger of the organizations to create a unified, influential organization for specialty pharmacy. They both bring proven leadership and industry knowledge to this organization.”

NASP also added Kelly Ratliff, COO of U.S. bioservices at AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group, and Mark Vineis, VP of Cardinal Health Specialty Pharmacy, to the board of directors for 2016.

In addition to elections, NASP has also established five new Advisory Councils that are meant to serve specialty pharmacy stakeholders: specialty pharmacy providers, pharmaceutical/biotechnology manufacturers, managed care organizations, institutional pharmacy and GPOs and distributors. The organization said it would put out a call for volunteers in November, with the board of directors making final appointments.  The councils will review proposes public policy, comment on NASP programs and services and assist the board in choosing the organization’s strategic direction.

“The establishment of Advisory Councils gives a formal voice to all NASP stakeholders with regard to membership, policy, education, and other NASP activities," Ellis said. "We will be encouraging members to serve on an Advisory Council and by doing so take a more active role in the progress of NASP and advocacy for the specialty pharmacy industry.

In addition to providing more opportunities for stakeholders to have a say in the organization’s direction, NASP is also looking to ensure members’ educational needs are taken care of, launching its Center for Specialty Pharmacy Education. The CSPE, made possible by a partnership with ProCE to offer specialty pharmacy education to pharmacists and other health care professionals.

“Education is a fundamental component of NASP's vison,” executive director Jim Smeeding said. “We intend to offer premier, educational opportunities to our members and others in our industry in a manner that is convenient and accessible for them.” 

Over the next several months, NASP will roll out dozens of CE offerings, including webinars and home study, the organization said. 

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FIP reports highlight need to compensate pharmacists as role changes

BY David Salazar

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The International Pharmacy Federation (FIP) on Wednesday released findings from two of its reports about the state of pharmacists worldwide and the need for recognition and compensation for pharmacies in a landscape that is emphasizing pharmacy’s ability to influence health outcomes. 

The organization’s trend report on the pharmacy workforce found that the number of pharmacists per 10,000 people has grown globally in the last three years. However, there are several countries that are still lacking in the number of pharmacists helping residents, particularly among low- and middle-income countries with low population density.

“It is important to monitor the global pharmacy workforce so that we can make informed decisions on how best to use our pharmacists,” FIPEd development team director Ian Bates said. “In particular, the increases we have seen [in middle- and low-income countries] may not be keeping pace with shifts in disease burden.”

Only three out of 51 countries covered in the report saw a decrease in the number of pharmacists, but overall, the news in the report points to a growing role for pharmacists to help provide outcomes for a population.

“The overall growth we have found reflects positive changes in policy and capacity building to facilitate extended roles, and a shift in focus in pharmacy to patients,” said Christopher John, director of the FIP-RPS Global Workforce Observatory, a joint project with the Royal 
Pharmaceutical Society in the U.K.  “Pharmaceutical service development and new scope and roles for clinical pharmacy implies increased demand on the pharmacy workforce worldwide.”

The demand being placed on pharmacists, though, doesn’t always line up with a good system for compensating them for their efforts according to data from FIP’s first-of-its-kind report on the sustainability of pharmacy services, which focused on remuneration models for community pharmacy. In each of the 49 countries surveyed, compensation was an issue that FIP outlined, and the report calls for compensation based both on the pharmacy’s need to help provide medication, advice and outcomes, as well as a need for recognition of the pharmacy’s role.

“Pharmacy remuneration models need to value what pharmacies already bring to patients’ use of medicines, public health, health systems and the economy, as well as to embrace the extended roles and collaborative practices within primary health care and hospital care,” the survey’s executive summary said, adding that models “must ensure the sustainability and profitablility of pharmacies and the basic services they provide. Payments for additional services have to incorporate the resulting costs while providing the right incentives for the implementation of these new services.”

Though the survey takes a global scope, the suggestions seem especially prescient in light of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ latest announcement, which is changing the incentives available to community pharmacies that provide Medication Therapy Management services on a more personalized level. The Enhanced MTM model seems aimed at what the FIP survey highlights, namely, adding incentives for pharmacies that work harder to provide better outcomes.

“We present this report so that our members have a fresh, global view of the state of remuneration,” FIP CEO and general secretary Luc Besançon said. “From this they can reflect on their own systems, the direction of pharmacy and what they want to achieve for the profession. This report is intended to support them with ideas, options and comparisons to build more sustainable remuneration models, which, ultimately, will allow pharmacies to continue to care for patients.”

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New CVS Health partnerships to foster health innovation in Boston, San Francisco

BY David Salazar

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health is continuing to forge a path toward digital health innovations, adding two partnerships that it hopes will foster new ideas and solutions. The company said Wednesday that it has teamed up with start-up accelerator MassChallenge in Boston and digital health venture fund Rock Health in San Francisco.

“We know that some of the best digital health innovations are already being developed, so we've made partnering a key part of our digital efforts,” CVS Health SVP and chief digital officer Brian Tilzer said. “We have broad scale and resources; MassChallenge offers a competitive startup accelerator program and Rock Health has an impressive portfolio of market-leading companies. By working collaboratively with each, we can rapidly design and test new ideas – ultimately bringing solutions to our customers that will dramatically impact the way they manage their health.”

The MassChallenge partnership is looking to build on CVS Health’s recent opening of its Digital Innovation Lab in Boston and forge a deeper tie to the city’s growing tech community. Now, CVS Health’s resources will be available to start-ups that are part of MassChallenge — which has other offices in the U.K. and Israel — paving the way for the next big consumer-facing digital products, the company said.

“We've seen steady growth in the number of digital health startups that are seeking entrepreneurial resources,” MassChallenge Boston’s managing director Scott Bailey,  said “We hope that by working with CVS Health, these startups will gain access to an even greater network of resources, helping them to develop their products, make new discoveries and rapidly grow their businesses.”

With its Rock Health partnership, CVS Health has sought out the first venture capital fund focusing on digital health. Working together, CVS Health said it would be able to engage directly with Rock Health’s portfolio, which it hopes will foster relationships between it and stakeholders looking for digital health solutions to the 21st century’s healthcare challenges.

“With its unparalleled consumer reach, CVS Health is in a unique position to deeply impact the future of healthcare in the U.S. and we're honored they've chosen to work alongside Rock Health,” Rock Health managing director Malay Gandhi, Managing Director said “Working with the most forward-thinking companies in the industry is a major pillar of how we provide meaningful support to our portfolio companies.”

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