CEO Blog

During this Pandemic, It’s Time to Expand Children’s Access to Vaccines

My op-ed that follows first appeared on September 2, 2020, edition of Morning Consult. I’m sharing it in this space to highlight how APhA keeps fighting for pharmacists and their patients during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We’re working to change the hearts and minds of policy makers—and the recent HHS order to expand children’s access to vaccines is proof that that’s happening, despite opposition from several groups in organized medicine. Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

You’ve still got time to nominate your inspirational colleagues for APhA awards and honors

We’re still accepting nominations for the APhA Annual Awards and Honors Program, the most comprehensive recognition program in the pharmacy profession. The deadline for nominations is September 1, so submit yours today. The awards will be presented at the 2021 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition on March 12–15.

Over the decades, APhA's awards program has recognized the heroes who paved the way for pharmacists’ increased involvement in patient care, clinical breakthroughs, advocacy, and innovations that have transformed pharmacy practice. We have these luminaries—individuals, organizations, and schools and colleges of pharmacy—and their contributions to thank for pharmacy’s continued growth. Our profession is fortunate that others have assumed the mantle, using their knowledge, skills, imagination, and partnerships to keep pharmacy evolving.

The executive order on rebates is a good first step, but don’t pop the cork yet

Everyone knew that President Trump was going to sign executive orders on drug prices the last week of July. No one expected that among them would be a rule that could force PBMs to pass on to Medicare Part D beneficiaries any discounts from manufacturer rebates and other price concessions. Nothing is really shocking these days, but the resurrection of the rebate reform rule—which had failed to advance down a number of avenues before this—did elicit, in a good way, a “Huh,” from me, the APhA government affairs (GA) team, and a lot of other interested parties.

It was a rare L for PBMs, and it’s a positive sign to see executive branch recognition that PBMs do not make drugs more affordable to patients—yet it’s not quite a W for us. Now, our job is to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and our pharmacy partners to ensure the agencies implementing the rebate rule also end PBMs’ gaming of Medicare regulation loopholes, inflating patients' prescription-drug costs, and forcing more pharmacies to close due to the egregious direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees they impose and collect for their own profit.

Chaos in pharmacy reimbursement leads to patient safety issues, and enough is enough

News broke last week that the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy (OSBP) had fined four CVS pharmacies in the state for poor staffing and medication errors. This is a positive development for both the well-being of pharmacists and technicians and the prioritization of patient safety.

We know it, they know it, let’s get it done! Pharmacists must be formally included in public health efforts

The pharmacy community has fought for payment for pharmacists’ services under Medicare Part B—otherwise known as provider status—for years. Getting that message through to Congress has been painfully slow. Even though a huge and bipartisan number of federal legislators signed onto the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 109/H.R. 592), they didn’t push it across the finish line.