The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) hosted its seventh annual meeting in Washington, DC, from September 9-12. NASP maintains a strong focus on policies affecting the national, legislative, and regulatory landscape of specialty pharmacy year round. Subsequently, the annual event has become vital for stakeholders if they want to stay abreast of rapid developments in the field. As always, the meeting was highly instructive for attendees and offered numerous opportunities to interact with peers and leaders in the profession.

What Is NASP All About?
NASP originated from the exponential growth of specialty pharmacy with a mission to elevate the profession by developing and promoting continuing education and the certification of specialty pharmacists while advocating for public policies that ensure patients have access to specialty medications and critical services. Uniquely, NASP is the only national association representing all stakeholders in the specialty pharmacy space.

Who Was at the NASP Meeting?
In addition to NASP officers and board members, the audience included senior executives, pharmacy directors, pharmacists, consultants, and other management-level personnel from specialty pharmacy providers. Attendees also included pharma and biotech manufacturers, managed care organizations, group purchasing organizations, distributors, and suppliers. Given the magnitude and growth of specialty infusion and the nuances in the laws affecting specialty, there were 2 special sessions on this area.

Meeting Highlights
The NASP meeting has become the second largest annual event in the specialty space. Although the meeting heavily focuses on education, networking opportunities are abundant. The exhibit hall was packed with participants walking the floor and meeting with various service providers to gain a face-to-face perspective.

Two awards were given at this year’s event: the Distinguished Service Award and the Specialty Pharmacy of the Year Award. The Distinguished Service Award is given to the individual who has made a sustained contribution to leadership within NASP. To be eligible, a candidate must be nominated by an active NASP member with a statement about why the individual merits the award, their contributions to both NASP and the specialty pharmacy industry as a whole. This year’s award was given to Tim Safley, clinical manager at the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc. Safley distinguished himself with his exceptional and sustained leadership within the specialty pharmacy industry and NASP.

Selection criteria for the Specialty Pharmacy of the Year Award comprise community involvement, patient satisfaction, cost management, quality and performance improvement initiatives, and innovation in the field, including patient care, outcomes, disease state and therapy management, and patient engagement. This year’s award went to Fairview Specialty Pharmacy.

Kickoff and Keynote
The meeting kicked off with introductions from NASP President Carmine DeNardo, RPh, and Executive Director Sheila Arquette, RPh. Next to take the podium was Boomer Esiason, former NFL star and current media personality who cofounded The Boomer Esiason Foundation after his son Gunnar received a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF). The foundation funds research to find a cure for CF and provides scholarships, transplant grants, hospital grants, and education and awareness to help provide a higher quality of life for patients with CF. Esiason discussed his family’s personal journey and experiences prior to taking questions from the audience and spending time in the exhibit hall taking photos.

The second day featured Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In that role, Slavitt oversaw Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace programs. His tenure at CMS was marked by the successful execution of several large new programs, including the shift to value-based payment models and implementation of the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 and the Affordable Care Act. Slavitt discussed the prospects of health care and its potential impact on specialty.

Abstracts
This year, 44 abstracts were submitted and reviewed by volunteers from the NASP Educational Committee for presentation. During the meeting, judges recognized the top posters most relevant to specialty pharmacy. In addition, the attendees iden- tified the poster most relevant to specialty pharmacy. These were the winners:

1. Delivery of Specialty Pharmacy Products or Services

Understanding Purchasing Patternsand Product Access of Newly Launched Specialty Generics
Presenting Author: Stacey Ness

2. Adherence:

Appropriate Prescribing of Antiemetics With Oral Oncolytic Therapy a Single Center Experience
Presenting Author: Donna Capozzi

3. Outcomes (Cost or other):

Development of a Collaborative Pharmacy Practice Agreement to Improve Efficiency and Management of Prescribing in a Renal Transplant Clinic
Presenting Author: Rachel Chelewski

4. Attendee Selection:

Integrating High-Touch Specialty Pharmacy Services Within a Neurology Clinic to Improve Medication Access and Affordability
Presenting Author: Amanda Hickman

Educational Sessions
NASP’s focus on education really shined this year, and many unique and relevant programs were offered to standing room– only crowds in many cases. Sessions included state-of-care seminars for several disease states, an examination of the effect reimbursement has on patient care, insight on the Trump administration’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices in Medicare, and challenges and opportunities for employers in managing specialty drugs.

The robust lineup will only improve as we move forward, so make sure you visit naspmeeting.com to reserve your spot for next year’s NASP Annual Meeting, again to be held in Washington, DC.