The APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition is a comprehensive meeting for pharmacy professionals and future leaders in pharmacy where you can learn about leadership, career opportunities, and patient safety from nationally recognized experts. 2017 Annual Meeting is held March 24-27 in San Francisco, CA

What you can expect at this year’s conference

APhA2017: Making an Impact on Patient Care

The upcoming APhA2017 Annual Meeting & Exposition, which take place from March 24 through March 27 at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center, seeks to expand opportunities for pharmacists—through educational sessions and networking opportunities—that will impact care for patients and the communities they serve.

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Highlights of APhA2017 include the general sessions focusing on the alarming opioid epidemic and enhancing the patient and healthcare provider relationship through better communication. In the Opening General Session on Saturday, March 25, Elliot J. Krane, MD, a practicing physician and professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University Medical Center, discusses opioids misuse, abuse, and addiction. In the Second General Session on Sunday, March 26, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen, MD, a Rhodes Scholar and author of the book When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, addresses techniques for discussing patients' preferences concerning various medical interventions.

Another highlight of APhA2017 promises to be the "Day of Science" program on Friday, March 24, where attendees learn how to integrate the latest pharmacy research into their pharmacy practice. Day of Science activities continue on Saturday, March 25 with a networking breakfast and Meet the Researchers and Colleagues in Research sessions.

Among the more than 100 educational sessions and networking opportunities at APhA2017 is the timely "Provider Status: It's Happening" (March 24 at 9 am), presented by Stacie Maas, BS Pharm, JD, senior vice president, pharmacy practice and government affairs, APhA, and Jeffrey Rochon, PharmD, Washington State Pharmacy Association. This complex topic takes on increasing importance as pharmacy and healthcare continue to move to value-based payments and team-based care.

Honoring Remington Medalist Hussar

Daniel A. Hussar, PhDThe 2017 Remington Honor Medal, the pharmacy profession's highest honor, goes to Daniel A. Hussar, PhD in recognition of his distinguished service on behalf of American pharmacy. The Remington Honor Medal pays homage to noted community pharmacist, manufacturer, and educator Joseph P. Remington. Fittingly, Dr. Hussar is the Remington Professor of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences, where he teaches therapeutics courses and a pharmacy law and ethics course. He is also the Author and Editor of The Pharmacist Activist, a monthly newsletter.

Past President of several professional organizations (Drug Information Association and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association), Dr. Hussar also served as a member of the Board of Trustees and as Honorary President of APhA. He has also served on the Board of Directors of World Vision and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.

"I have been blessed in many ways through my faith, my family, and my friends," Dr. Hussar told U.S. Pharmacist. "The opportunities provided in pharmacy to work and become friends with so many dedicated professionals and students have been very fulfilling experiences, for which I am deeply appreciative."

The Remington Honor Medalist Dinner and Dessert Reception (ticket required) takes place on Sunday, March 26, from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm in the Hilton, Grand Ballroom A.

Meeting & Exposition Schedule at a Glance*

Thursday, March 23
Attendee Registration (2:00 pm-5:00 pm)
Exhibitor Registration (2:00 pm-4:00 pm)

Friday, March 24
APhA Pain Institute: Pharmacists on the Frontlines of the Opioid Epidemic (pre-registration required) (7:30 am-5:30 pm)
Education Sessions (7:00 am-6:00 pm)
Day of Science (8:00 am-5:15 pm)
APhA-ASP Opening General Session (students)
(6 pm-8 pm)
Opening Reception in the Exposition (7:00 pm-
9:00 pm)
APhA-ASP Welcoming Social (students)
(9:00 pm-12:00 am)

Saturday, March 25
Registration (7:00 am-3:30 pm)
Education Sessions (7:00 am-8:30 am and
3:00 pm-6:15 pm)
Opening General Session (9:00 am-11:00 am)
Exposition and Presentation Theatres (11:00 am-
3:00 pm)

Sunday, March 26
Education Sessions (7:00 am-8:30 am and 1:00 pm-
5:30 pm)
Second General Session (9:00 am-11:00 am)
Exposition and Presentation Theatres (11:00 am-
3:00 pm)
Remington Honor Medal Dinner and Dessert Reception
(7:30 pm-10:00 pm) (ticket required)
Awards Celebration (students) (8:00 pm-10:00 pm)

Monday, March 27
Registration (7:00 am-2:00 pm)
Education Sessions (7:00 am-3:30 pm)
Closing Reception: Music City Here We Come!
(5:00 pm-7:00 pm)

*Not all-inclusive; subject to change

Visit U.S. Pharmacist at booth #825.


Post Conference Wrap

APhA2017 Focuses on Broader Pharmacist Roles, Patient Care

More than 6,100 attendees at The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting and Exposition, held March 24-27 in San Francisco, heard over 100 wide-ranging presentations from expanding roles for pharmacists, including provider-status legislation, to enhancing patient care and improving outcomes. 

Presenting the legislative perspective during the Opening General Session, Rep. Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-GA), BSPharm, said there are a number of bills impacting the pharmacy profession that he and his colleagues continue to champion. Rep. Carter highlighted three such bills, including pharmacy provider-status legislation sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrey (R-KY). "We're confident about getting this bill to the floor for a vote," he said. "We continue to push that bill. This is something you [pharmacists] have been doing for years. We will continue to fight for that."

Earl L. 'Buddy' Carter (R-GA)

Rep. Carter, who is the only pharmacist in Congress and sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which includes the Healthcare Subcommittee, also discussed a bill sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) that would enable patients to access discounted copays at any pharmacy that is willing to accept the insurance plan's terms and conditions, known as the "any willing provider" provision. Rep. Carter also detailed legislation sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) addressing pharmacy benefit managers and marketplace transparency, particularly in drug pricing. "That bill is really getting a lot of traction, Rep. Carter said. "I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues," he added. "The transparency that needs to come about will result in lower drug prices."

Second General Session keynote speaker Leana Wen, MD, spoke about the importance of getting to know patients and encouraging open communication. Dr. Wen said that 80% of the time, the patient's story—not medical tests—guides his or her medical diagnosis. To illustrate the growing problem, she cited a study conducted about 15 years ago that found patients were interrupted by their doctors after an average of 18 seconds during an initial consult. A more recent study, she said, found that number is now 8 to 10 seconds.

Dr. Wen, the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore, and an emergency physician and patient and community advocate, added, "It's very important that we involve our patients and families every step of the way. That's what breeds trust," she said. "That's what shows that we care, and frankly, that's what leads to patient safety and better patient care."

Session Lays Out Latest Diabetes Guidelines

In a well-attended educational session delivered during APhA2017 titled, "Diabetes Update 2017," experts covered the latest national treatment guidelines from such organizations as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the FDA. Speaker Staci-Marie Norman, PharmD, CDE, Martin's Pharmacy, for example, said that the latest ADA guidelines advise re-evaluating the need for oral therapies such as metformin when administering combination therapies. Regarding metformin, she added that ADA's newest guidelines recommend healthcare professionals check for vitamin deficiencies, such as B-12, in patients who have been taking metformin long-term.

When considering which of the newer combination medicines to administer to patients, Dr. Norman said that the ADA maintains GLP-1s, rapid-acting insulins, and mixed insulins are equally effective treatments. "No one is better than the other when it comes to these combinations," she said. Dr. Krane also cited the latest ADA recommendations for treating pregnant patients, citing insulin as the preferred medication in this population.

In addition, Dr. Norman shed light on reports that the SGLT2 medication empagliflozin confers a lowered cardiovascular disease benefit in type 2 diabetes patients with existing cardiovascular disease. As a result, the FDA implemented a label change to add a new indication for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease in type 2 patients with coronary artery disease. "Pretty exciting," she said. "Is this going to be a class effect?" This should become clearer following a clinical study later this year and another trial in 2019 of other SGLT2 medications, she added.

Concerning reported bladder cancer risks with pioglitazone, Dr. Norman also said that ADA now advises against patients with active bladder cancer starting treatment with the thiazolidinedione-type medication.