NCPA convention kicks off with awards

ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Community Pharmacists Association is in the middle of its 2017 Annual Convention, and the organization started off the four-day gathering by honoring a standout independent pharmacist, and kept the spirit going by recognizing another pharmacist’s dedication to patient safety.

At the event’s Opening General Session, NCPA awarded the 2017 Willard B Simmons Indepdnent Pharmacist of the Year award to Lynn Connelly, of Chapin, S.C. The award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith Laboratories and named for a former NCPA executive secretary, was conferred on Connelly for his leadership and commitment to independent pharmacy in his community.

In addition to being politically active in pharmacy issues, Connelly has helped pass legislation around prescription drug monitoring, transparency in generics reimbursemants, creating an ‘any willing provider” provision and allowing pharmacists to administer immunization. He has owned his storye, Medicine Mart Pharmacy, since 1982, and he runs a pharmacy residency program that employs roughly six pharmacy students every year.

And Connelly hasn’t been the only pharmacist recognized as a standout at the NCPA Annual Convention. Trenton Jenks, who owns Prescription Pad Pharmacy in Fruitland, Id., received the 2017 Prescription Drug Safety Award, sponsored by Computer-Rx. The award recognizes pharmacists who have reached out in their communities to educate patients on the benefits of correctly using prescription drugs, as well as the hazards of their misuse.

“We are pleased to name Trenton Jenks the winner of the NCPA 2017 Prescription Drug Safety Award,” NCPA President DeAnn Mullins said. “His comprehensive approach to patient care is what the future of pharmacy looks like. Whether it’s his collaborative work with other health care providers, utilizing medication adherence-driving programs, or his proper disposal of unused medications, Jenks is making a profound difference in his community.” 

The awards come as NCPA rolls out its 2017 NCPA Digest, which found that the state of independent community pharmacies continues to grow and expand the scope of services pharmacists can offer their patients. Standout statistics include a slight drop in the estimated number of independent community pharmacists, from 22,160 to 22,041, and the fact that community pharmacies make up some 26% of the pharmacy marketplace. As for the pharmacy’s role in the healthcare system and patients’ lives, the digest notes that 81% of community pharmacists serve populations with 50,000 or fewer people.

“Independent community pharmacies remain indispensable for patients, especially in underserved communities, according to the latest  ‘NCPA Digest,’ NCPA CEO Doug Hoey said. “This occurs because of the quality of services, which are growing as pharmacists find new ways to drive better health outcomes for their patients, and through civic engagement in their communities.” 

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