Winds of Change Begin to Stir Specialty Pharmacy

With the days left in 2018 dwindling, one of the most important events of the year in the specialty space, the annual National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) Annual Meeting and Educational Conference, showed that the time is now for stakeholders to make their voices heard in the ongoing health care reform process.

The NASP conference, held in Washington, DC, from September 24-26, ballooned this year to more than 1000 attendees, all of whom received a strong message about the need for advocacy as the government has begun to focus on reining in the high cost of specialty drugs and health care in general. In this issue of Specialty Pharmacy Times®, we highlight the goings-on at the conference along with some key trends to monitor closely in the year ahead. On page 35, our NASP recap section highlights several of the key sessions from this year’s conference. Of note, former US congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in his keynote address emphasized the need for advocacy and lobbying of national and local legislators on behalf of specialty pharmacies and the amazing work done to improve the lives of the patients they serve. As Gingrich said, those who don’t share their ideas with lawmakers allow themselves to be governed by people who don’t have all of the relevant information they need to make informed decisions.

Also in this issue on page 6, our Editor-in-Chief Dan Steiber, RPh, focuses on the road ahead in specialty pharmacy, which could see a flood of new drugs hit the market and the Trump administration’s push for faster and more efficient approvals. Another goal of the administration’s health care agenda is to closely examine the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). On page 10, Ron Lanton and Trish Riley take a deep dive into the PBM model and the ongoing legislative efforts seeking to improve transparency in this arena.

With the massive changes looming in the specialty space that are discussed in this issue, those who could not attend this year’s NASP conference missed out on some vital discussions that could shape the future of the US health care system. Make sure you aren’t left out in the cold next year, with the annual NASP meeting returning to the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC, from September 9-11, 2019. Check out for more information.

You can also stay on top of the latest developments in specialty pharmacy in this journal and on our daily news website, SpecialtyPharmacyTimes. com. Follow us online and through our e-newsletters (sign up at to assure your pharmacy is prepared to prosper in the year ahead.

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