The McKesson Corporation sponsors the annual award that honors an individual whose contributions on behalf of independent pharmacy embody the spirit of leadership and accomplishment personified by John W. Dargavel, who was executive secretary of the National Association of Retail Druggists, now NCPA, from 1933 to 1961. In fact, the NCPA Foundation was established in 1953 to honor Dargavel.
Pace joined APA in 2006 and became CEO in January 2016. Prior to joining APA, he was founding director of the Evidence-Based Prescription Drug Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He also worked for NCPA and has practiced pharmacy in both the community and hospital settings.
Pace served on the committee that crafted the legislation leading to the Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and he serves on the Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Advisory Committee. In addition, he was appointed by former Gov. Mike Beebe in 2012 as the consumer representative on the state medical board and served in that capacity until the end of 2015.
Earlier this year, after a dramatic and unannounced set of cuts by a pharmacy benefit manager jeopardized the future of independent pharmacy in Arkansas, Pace led pharmacists in a public relations and legislative crusade to educate the public on the tactics of PBMs and seek a legislative fix that would create a comprehensive licensure framework, including a significant list of prohibited practices for PBMs operating in the state. This led to Gov. Asa Hutchinson calling a special session of the legislature and resulted in passage of the Arkansas Pharmacy Benefits Manager Licensure Act, which requires licensure of any pharmacy benefit manager that services any insurance plans that are not self-funded by employers. Pace credits the pharmacists of Arkansas for their active participation in the political process and to the legislative champions who helped make the new law a reality.