APhA annual meeting focuses on challenges common to all pharmacies

SAN DIEGO With a nod to the legislative, regulatory and financial challenges still ahead, the pharmacy profession put its best and brightest on display at the American Pharmacists Association Foundation’s 2008 Annual Meeting & Exposition here. It also pledged its members to a brighter future.

The profession’s biggest yearly gathering, hosted by its oldest professional organization, drew seasoned practitioners from every practice setting, along with pharmacy students and educators, health care experts and even economists. It also drew a slew of prospective employers—eagerly courting those pharmacy students—including most of the industry’s largest retail pharmacy chains.

The event, which concludes today, featured APhA’s traditionally rich diet of clinical seminars on every topic of interest to professionals, from compounding to nuclear pharmacy. But it also put a sharp focus on the common challenges faced by pharmacy professionals and the need for collaboration to confront such issues as Medicaid reimbursements, tamper-free prescription pads and medication therapy management.

“In communities across the country, we light the way for patients and those in need, adrift in the difficult, disorienting and occasionally dangerous healthcare ocean,” said APhA’s outgoing president, Winnie Landis, at the meeting’s opening general session Saturday. “To continue evolving, we must build on our success by further developing our crucial relationships, ensuring that we receiver our deserved and desired recognition and increasing our responsibility.”

Landis, who was succeeded as APhA president by Tim Tucker, ticked off a slew of initiatives the group was involved with to advance the profession, many of which are in collaboration with such other groups as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Among them:

  • New guidelines for MTM. This year’s conference featured the long-awaited release of Version 2.0 of Medication Therapy Management and Pharmacy Practice: Core Elements of an MTM Service. The new document, created through a collaboration between the APhA NACDS Foundation, updates the original 2004 version, which provided the framework for the development of many MTM programs across the country.
  • Launch at the conference of a campaign to educate patients and policy makers about the risks of unintentional misuse of prescription drugs and the role of the pharmacist in helping with appropriate medication use. APhA teamed up with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, with support from the Community Pharmacy Foundation, to launch the project.
  • The Diabetes Ten City Challenge (see related story).
  • The expansion of project Destiny, a collaborative effort to establish and demonstrate a model for pharmacy care.

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