Next month will mark the inception of a pharmacy professional group for the specialty drug sector, the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP).

specialty pharmacy, National Association of Specialty Pharmacy, NASP, Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board, SPCB, board of directors, specialty drug, pharmacy professional, specialty medications, Ray Tancredi, Walgreens, Jeffrey Bourret, Pfizer Specialty Care, specialty therapy management, Sandra Matsumoto, CVS Caremark, specialty pharmaceuticals, Nick Calla, Community Specialty Pharmacy Network, Gary Cohen, Certified Specialty Pharmacist, CSP

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Specialty pharmacy organizations make debut

September 19th, 2012

TAMPA, Fla. – Next month will mark the inception of a pharmacy professional group for the specialty drug sector, the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP).

NASP said Wednesday that it plans to launch the organization and its marketing campaign in October. The nonprofit group will represent all specialty pharmacy stakeholders and establish a strong voice in the specialty pharmacy industry by improving communication among stakeholders via forums for members to network and collaborate on a national level, the association stated.

Also on Wednesday, the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board (SPCB) announced its inaugural board of directors.

NASP described its mission as providing educational programs, certification curriculum and professional networking forums for specialty pharmacy health care professionals to promote the safe, appropriate use of specialty medications and improve clinical and economic outcomes for patients.

The organizaton noted that deeper knowledge and education is key for a pharmacist dealing with specialty products because of the high costs, specialized handling of the drugs and patient care management that deals with the complexity of the diseases. The association's goals include providing a certification curriculum to assist pharmacists in gaining this expertise.

"The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy will fill the pressing need for the specialty pharmacy industry," Ray Tancredi, vice president of specialty pharmacy development at Walgreens, said in a statement. "The landscape continues to evolve rapidly, and NASP will be there to guide, educate and report on the most exciting aspects of pharmacy today and in the future."

Jeffrey Bourret, senior director of medical affairs for the Pfizer Specialty Care Business Unit, noted that specialty therapy management is integral to achieving the health outcomes desired by a patient's doctor.

"The rapid pace of health care change and the emerging science continues to create complexities in specialty therapy management and an increased need for strong collaboration amongst the health care team," Bourret stated. "NASP will provide a unique forum for specialty pharmacy practitioners to share information and experiences that support the management of patients prescribed specialty pharmaceuticals."

Meanwhile, the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board, which was formed in July, said its members represent a broad range of specialty pharmacy industry stakeholders from across the United States.

The 2012 SPCB board includes Jeffrey Bourret of Pfizer, Nick Calla of the Community Specialty Pharmacy Network, Donald Filibeck of Critical Care Systems, Sandra Matsumoto of CVS Caremark, Ray Tancredi of Walgreens, Gary Rice of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy and George Zula of US Bioservices.

"We are pleased to welcome distinguished industry leaders to SPCB," stated Gary Cohen, the board's executive director. "Their knowledge, experience and dedication will play a vital role in developing the Certified Specialty Pharmacist (CSP) program."

SPCB said it's developing certifications for pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals. The Certified Specialty Pharmacist credential will validate a pharmacist's expertise in specialty pharmaceuticals in retail, infusion, mail order/central fill, and hospital practice settings, as well as for alternative sites of pharmacy care. Continuing education courses to prepare candidates for the CSP certification are being developed by Specialty Pharma Education Center (SPEC), a medical education company.

"I am pleased to serve on the board of directors for SPCB," commented Calla, who is vice president of industry relations at Community Specialty Pharmacy Network. "The specialty pharmacy segment has long needed a group to oversee credentialing and education of the specialty pharmacist in a more uniform manner. I am confident that the work of this group will move us forward in achieving that goal." 

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