APhA: Industry experts tackle pharmacy challenges

March 29, 2015

At an event honoring Rear Admiral Scott F. Giberson held during the annual APhA conference in San Diego, industry leaders spoke frankly about the issues pharmacy faces today.

 

Pharmacy Planning Services Inc., the non-profit health awareness and legal advocacy organization, honored Rear Admiral Scott F. Giberson, chief executive officer of the 6,700-plus members of the U.S. Public Health Service’s Commissioned Corps, at the annual conference of the American Pharmacists Association in San Diego, Calif.

Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, the chief pharmacist officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, accepted the Distinguished Person of the Year award for Giberson, who couldn’t attend the ceremony in San Diego because he is serving as commander of Commissioned Corps’ Ebola Response in West Africa.

Speakers at the PPSI award ceremony tackled the challenges facing the pharmacy profession:

Daniel Hussar, PhD, the Remington Professor of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, criticized what he calls excessive honoring of CVS Health in light of its treatment of pharmacists. He also called for future advocacy leaders to follow the example of Fred Mayer, RPh, MPH, CEO/president of PPSI. “We need to see far more individuals making that sort of commitment, demonstrating the boldness that our professional needs. Otherwise we’ll have more moments of silence relative to the issues for which we are advocates.”

Lucinda L. Maine, PhD, RPh, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, praised pharmacy students for “not listening to voices that say doom and gloom will befall the profession.”

“Let’s stop shooting ourselves in the foot by talking about how pharmacy is in such bad shape,” she said, although she acknowledged that “there’s a lot of insecurity” in the pharmacy world.

“We’re making a lot of progress,” she added, pointing to high percentages of pharmacy practices that offer things like medication therapy management and immunizations. “But do I think we need to be paid more for all this? We’d better!”

Jon Roth, CEO of the California Pharmacists Association, said the organization is pushing to expand Medicaid reimbursement for the services of pharmacists in the Golden State. “We’re getting traction and making progress,” he said, “but we can’t celebrate it with our members yet.”