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NASP helping to establish clarity within a fractured specialty pharmacy market

BY Michael Johnsen

The Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board will begin certifying specialty pharmacists who pass a comprehensive exam in October. The exam is designed to cover the entire specialty pharmacy process, including intake, clinical management, fulfillment and outcomes. 

The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy is bringing to bear some real advocacy and structure to the highly fragmented specialty pharmacy marketplace. The DSN Group, including its specialty pharmacy publication of the same name, Specialty Pharmacy, applauds these efforts. 

To be sure, NASP has broken a lot of ground even in the past week. For example, on Thursday the association announced it will be partnering with the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists on a specialty pharmacy track, exploring the role SP plays within the aging market, for the ASCP Spring Conference in Orlando May 14-17. 

Also Thursday, the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board revealed its collaboration with national leaders and practitioners to define the specialty pharmacist role and scope of practice in the pharmacy industry.

"Specialty pharmacy is a rapidly growing field in pharmacy and the healthcare field as a whole, a $90 billion sector of the pharmacy industry," the group wrote. "By defining the scope of practice, SPCB is supporting the professionalization of the unique role the specialist pharmacist plays on the healthcare team and with the patient. This is a serious undertaking that includes multiple steps to gather and validate information about the critical tasks specialty pharmacists perform and the knowledge and skill needed to complete them."

"Defining the role of a professional in a specific field requires a collaborative effort among all sectors in an industry with the common goal of addressing patient needs and improving outcomes," the SPCB noted. 

The DSN Group agrees. Specialty pharmacy is expected to be a big driver of the pharmacy business in the years to come, and NASP is helping to establish a strong base from which that growth will come with their most recent efforts.

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Actavis in talks to combine with Warner Chilcott

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Actavis is looking into the possibility of buying Warner Chilcott, the generic drug maker said Friday.

Actavis, the world’s third-largest generic drug maker, said it had entered into early-stage discussions with Warner Chilcott about a potential combination of the two, but that no agreement had been reached, and that it wouldn’t issue further comment about the matter.

Last month, according to published reports, a proposal by Canadian drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International to acquire Actavis fell through. Valeant had been planning to pay more than $13 billion in stock to acquire the generic drug maker, but the two could not agree to terms of the deal.

Actavis reported sales of $5.91 billion in its fiscal year 2012 earnings, while Warner Chilcott had sales of $2.475 billion.

 

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Congressional leaders are actively listening to what today’s health and wellness leaders have to say

BY Michael Johnsen

More than 300 community pharmacists helped educate their legislators over crucial small business issues as part of the NCPA’s 2013 Legislative and Government Affairs conference. All told, the pharmacists conducted more than 500 meetings with congressional offices. 

There is a reason why the industry is poised to play a larger role in health reform. Five years ago or more, the PBMs had Washington’s ear. But today, pharmacy is doing a much better job of telling its story. Counting NACDS’ recent RxImpaxt day, retail pharmacy has conducted more than 900 meetings with legislators in the past eight weeks or so. 

The DSN Group put together a special report in honor of the occasion to help illustrate just how community pharmacy is making a difference. "Pharmacists do a lot more than just dispense prescriptions," DSN editor-in-chief Rob Eder wrote in the intro to the Congress leaders’ retail pharmacy digest. "They engage in a practice called medication therapy management, working closely with patients to ensure they take their medications correctly. This practice is returning about $12 in savings for every $1 invested in it."

And that’s just one example.  

But the industry’s sharing of retail pharmacy’s success stories with Congress leaders has to continue, Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, told recent attendees of the association’s annual meeting. “I have talked before about our all-branches and all-levels of government approach to advocacy. Now we must go deeper: Beyond reaching every branch of government to reaching — and convincing — every bastion of government, each entrenched corner of Congress, governmental departments and agencies that holds to its own beliefs, despite the existence of a better way,” Anderson told attendees. “The healthcare reform experience has validated the proactive approach of NACDS. Yet our successes expose ever-greater challenges that lie ahead.” 

And it’s not just retail pharmacy that’s proclaiming the value of retail health and wellness solutions. The Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association this year joined forces in sitting down with Congressional leaders over natural health initiatives. 

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