Magazine article Drug Topics

Delegates Speak

Magazine article Drug Topics

Delegates Speak

Article excerpt

What a difference a year makes. At the American Pharmaceutical Association's annual meeting last year, a divided house of delegates reaffirmed support for Merck-Medco's Coordinated Care Network. Some angry state pharmacy associations threatened to disaffiliate. Fast forward to APhA's 142nd convention in Orlando last month. With APhA's endorsement subsequently withdrawn, the CCN is never mentioned. No kind words for any pharmacy benefit management firms are uttered from any quarter.

Past president Lowell J. Anderson said PBMs "don't have the credibility with pharmacists now." Outgoing president Tim L. Vordenbaumen expanded the point in his farewell address: "Pharmacy benefit managers, insurance companies, and payers have no relationship with pharmacists now, and they must change that. They must establish a relationship with pharmacists."

And, the only state to make good on a disaffiliation threat returns to the fold. "Pennsylvania, welcome back to the family," said house speaker Wilma K. Wong. For the most part, it did seem like one big happy family again. With little dissent, the nearly 400 delegates decided that APhA should:

* Recognize that "the quality of a pharmacist's work life affects public safety and that a working environment conducive to providing effective pharmaceutical care is essential."

* Reaffirm its 25-year-old policy against prescription quotas-minimum numbers of Rxs R.Ph.s are told to dispense in a given period of time.

* Oppose employment practices that limit a pharmacist's ability to provide pharmaceutical care.

* Convene a task force with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, employers, pharmacists, and technicians to develop guidelines "for working environments conducive to providing effective pharmaceutical care."

* Affirm the principle that a pharmacy that adheres to a program's quality standards and accepts its compensation plan "shall be able to participate in an integrated risk/capitated system or network."

* Recommend that employers consider demonstrated competencies in pharmaceutical care as well as education when evaluating current and prospective employees.

* Develop curricular-based continuing education programs leading to "certificates of competence" in pharmaceutical care. …

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