The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy: Charting the Future of Specialty Pharmacy

Specialty Pharmacy Times, July/August 2015, Volume 6, Issue 4

NASP promotes collaboration among specialty pharmacy stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of education and advocacy.

NASP promotes collaboration among specialty pharmacy stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of education and advocacy.

The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) was formed with the specific goals of establishing a professional organization that bring together all stakeholders and would share in a collaborative manner the exciting promise of the value proposition that is the basis of the current state and future of specialty pharmacy. By promoting the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board (SPCB) and the Center for Specialty Pharmacy Education (CSPE) and by opening membership to all levels of participation, NASP is able to focus on its core values of education, advocacy, and collaboration while representing specialty providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and payers. This allows a patient-centric approach that leads to the greatest value and health outcomes.

The SPCB, through the development of the specifications for pharmacist certification and rigorous qualitative and quantitative analyses, has clearly defined specialty pharmacy. NASP has published an executive summary of these efforts to allow all stakeholders to understand the skill sets required, the benefits of certification, and the integral role of value-based care within the specialty pharmacy practice setting.

“Our motives are very clear,” stated Jim Smeeding, executive director of NASP. “NASP realized the need to link all stakeholders within an independent, professional organization to the value proposition of delivering the best clinical outcomes in a cost-efficient manner. As the science of disease intervention has moved quickly through the scientific community, the requirements of education, certification, and quality linkages have lagged behind in health care. We realized very early that manufacturers and payers would demand greater care and accountability out of specialty providers, and NASP can fill that role in many ways, including a platform for information collection advocacy and sharing.”

Since the spring of 2013, NASP has held meetings every 6 months. Last August, working with Armada Healthcare, NASP was able to incorporate the members of the Specialty Pharmacy Association of America (SPAARx) into 1 organization solely focused on the needs of and support for the specialty pharmacy industry.

As an inclusive organization, NASP has already reached out and collaborated with other professional organizations in pharmacy, pharmacy education, technology, medicine, and patient advocacy. In addition, the role of strong advocacy on behalf of specialty pharmacy is within the mission and goals of NASP. Through education of the large external marketplace with timely publications and the establishment of their Washington office, NASP has already become a focal point for professional information on a national basis.

The CSPE is an online resource for professionals seeking a higher degree of knowledge within specific disease categories. Planning as a not-for-profit organization allows NASP to seek support through continuing education (CE) grants as well as develop accredited CE modules. Collaborative support for organization-specific educational modules in specialty pharmacy has been developed under contract and is moving quickly into the marketplace. Access to the education site for members and affiliates is well under way, and the accredited open platform differentiates NASP from any other organization in the specialty pharmacy space.

“NASP entered the marketplace as the first professional organization for specialty pharmacy. There should be no confusion over this,” said Smeeding. “Our BOD [board of directors] formed very quickly as we presented and defined our goals and objectives. Our genealogy and culture is not conflicted as evidenced by our history in education and publishing. We have been true to our goals from the beginning and being embraced by our stakeholders, multiple GPOs [group purchasing organizations], manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, other suppliers, large and small specialty providers, integrated hospital delivery systems, payers and PBMs [pharmacy benefit managers], colleges of pharmacy, and professional organizations has been gratifying. We are bold enough to lead, and we accept the responsibility of careful stewardship of specialty pharmacy.”

All of these efforts have been enhanced through NASP’s cooperative arrangement with Specialty Pharmacy Times and its sister publications within the MJH/Intellisphere family.

NASP believes it is the professional organization to move the future of specialty pharmacy forward. SPT

About the Author

Robert A. Fulcher, CAE, is the chief operating officer of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy. He has nearly 20 years of senior association management experience, including positions in 2 national pharmacy associations. Robert is a certified association executive.