Armada Health Care celebrates the 10th anniversary of its annual specialty pharmacy conference.


A flood of leading industry professionals, executives, and experts in specialty pharmacy welcomed the opening of the annual Armada Health Care Specialty Pharmacy Summit and Expo on May 5, 2014.

The summit, which runs through May 9, 2014, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, brings together representatives from top pharmacy providers, pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers, and various other stakeholder groups.

“Education, awareness, and opportunity are the 3 main points of the conference,” said Armada Co-Founder and President Robert Irene in an interview with Specialty Pharmacy Times. “We bring everybody together in a unique forum over a 4-day period where they have the opportunity to network with each other and work out contracting opportunities or business opportunities amongst themselves.”

The summit holds special significance this year, which marks the 10th anniversary of Armada’s signature event. As the largest specialty pharmacy group purchasing organization in the United States, Armada provides customized online patient management programs, prescription-data-management, HUB services, and a vast portfolio of group purchasing agreements.

The summit had a much more humble beginning and has grown from a few dozen attendees in the first year to this year’s expected guest list of more than 3000.

“The summit is the culmination of 10 years of hard work from our first conference, which started off as an Armada members-only meeting attended by 24 people,” Irene said. “Since then it has evolved from a members-only meeting to the largest industry conference for specialty pharmacy in the country.”

In addition to a number of networking events, the summit offers a range of seminars on issues impacting the specialty space, along with educational sessions and business workshops. Highlights of the conference agenda include a specialty pharmacy executive panel featuring representatives from Amber Pharmacy, Avella Specialty Pharmacy, Catamaran, Diplomat, Humana Pharmacy Solutions, Onco360, OptumRx, and Walgreens.

The summit also includes product pipeline updates, biosimilar discussions, and talks on optimizing support services and the rising cost of specialty drugs.

Educational sessions offering CE credit cover topics such as lung cancer patient management for specialty pharmacies, the management of treatment and adherence in multiple sclerosis patients, and the role of specialty pharmacy in improving outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

This year’s featured speakers include Myrtle Potter, founder and CEO of Myrtle Potter and Company LLC; Jim Robinson, president of Astellas Pharma US; and Randy Falkenrath, CVS Caremark senior vice president of specialty pharmacy services.

The conference’s keynote speaker will be actor and patient advocate Michael J. Fox, who will bring a unique perspective due to his own personal battle with Parkinson’s disease. Past keynote speakers have included former President George W. Bush and former Massachusetts Governor and presidential nominee Mitt Romney, but Irene said Fox would bring the ability to appeal to a wider audience.

“I think everybody is going to enjoy Michael J. Fox,” Irene said. “In the past we always had political speakers, but that tends to be somewhat divisive as everyone brings their own political affiliations. We’re getting away from politics and getting more towards relevance. Michael J. Fox being afflicted with a debilitating disease and being a celebrity has made tremendous headway in the pharmaceutical world and with health care. We thought it would be appropriate to choose him to speak with this audience.”