Originally published in the December 2010 NABP Newsletter
Energized by the opportunity to network and dialogue with their peers about shared challenges – from fighting prescription drug abuse and establishing drug take-back programs, to regulating the use of technology in pharmacy practice – state board of pharmacy members from 46 states and jurisdictions contributed to the success of the first NABP Interactive Member Forum, Prescription for Shared Future: The 3-Year Partnering Plan to Protect Public Health through AWARxEness. The forum, held September 22-23, 2010, generated discussion about timely topics and common board challenges through presentations from expert panels and related video clips. In each discussion, board members gained valuable new ideas as their fellow participants posed challenging questions and offered a variety of relevant experiences, perspectives, and information.
Kick-off events for the Forum included a tour of NABP Headquarters, staff presentations about NABP programs and departments, and a networking dinner. Prior to the dinner, NABP President William T. Winsley, MS, RPh, spoke to attendees, welcoming them to NABP Headquarters, emphasizing the aims of the Forum, and encouraging active participation from all attendees.
To begin the Forum on Thursday, Gary A. Schnabel, RN, RPh, chairperson, NABP Executive Committee, delivered a welcome address that set the framework for the day’s discussions. Schnabel stressed that the Executive Committee is committed to structuring programs and services that will empower the state boards of pharmacy and ease funding gaps. To set the tone and encourage maximum participation, Schnabel also invited attendees to suggest topics for discussion in the mid-morning “Shared State Topics” session.
Speakers were then invited to present, beginning with the topic, “Navigating the Controlled Substances Act.” This portion of the Forum began with a presentation outlining some of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) issues that can create challenges for the state boards of pharmacy. A panel of expert speakers then presented on specific CSA-related topics of concern including CSA issues related to long-term care facility registration, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy’s experience as they prepared to make a recommendation to the Iowa Legislature regarding the legalization of medical marijuana, and details about drug disposal programs created by the Connecticut Commission of Pharmacy.
Forum participants were surveyed regarding topics of high priority in advance of the Forum. Results showed that many boards are challenged to address the issue of prescription drug abuse in their states. Thus, as part of the “Shared State Topics” session, the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy shared actions the Board has taken to address this issue. A highlight of the presentation included clips from the public service film, The Road to Nowhere, and a description of the goals, and making of this film, as well as its use across the state of Oklahoma. (For more information about The Road to Nowhere and obtaining complimentary CDs or bookmarks, contact John A. Foust, PharmD, DPh, executive director, Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy, by calling 405/521-3815 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Following this presentation, attendees were asked to discuss the shared topics suggested earlier in the morning. Topics included regulatory issues related to the use of text messaging to clarify prescription details, “pill mill” pain clinics, pharmacy benefit managers, and coupons for transferred prescriptions.
The afternoon remained lively, as panelists and attendees addressed the topic, “Board of Pharmacy Challenges – Dwindling State Resources, Decision-Making Process, Integrity.” The opening presentation reminded attendees of services offered by the recently expanded NABP Government Affairs department. It was noted that NABP wants to understand the individual needs of each state board of pharmacy and that the department is currently in the process of reaching out to boards. Boards that have not yet been contacted can expect to receive an outreach call from NABP Government Affairs staff by the end of 2010.
Panels composed of expert speakers, including NABP staff, then provided overviews of relevant NABP programs and services that can assist boards of pharmacy. Available inspection services and accreditation programs were discussed, as well as the development of a community pharmacy accreditation program and development of a prescription monitoring program (PMP) interface designed to facilitate interoperability among state PMP programs.
In his closing summary, Malcolm J. Broussard, RPh, NABP president-elect, thanked attendees for their participation and stressed that the additional new topics they suggested were noted and will be addressed at future meetings.
In fall 2011, the NABP Interactive Executive Officer Forum will be held. This meeting will enable the executive officers of boards of pharmacy to come together to discuss regulatory trends and the challenges they face. NABP will again cover all expenses in order to facilitate participation by as many boards as possible and allow for increased opportunity for networking as executive officers use the forum to share ideas and develop potential solutions to meet common challenges.