From Pharmacist to PAP Director
From Pharmacist to PAP Director
During the month of October, we’re joining the American Pharmacists Association to celebrate the integral role that pharmacists play in the healthcare of patients. The theme “Know your Pharmacist, Know your Medicine” inspired us to interview just a few of our highly skilled pharmacists.
Director, Program Management
St. Louis, Missouri
Q. What was your inspiration for becoming a pharmacist?
A. My family has always been service-oriented. We generally gravitate towards the military or healthcare fields. I was attracted to pharmacy because it presented so many options.
Q. What is one memorable instance when your work impacted a patient’s life?
A. Although my work impacts patients each and every day, I still recall an early moment in my career when I helped a young mother find coverage for a high-cost medication for her infant son. I have stayed in touch with that family, and the last time I saw her, she told me how well her son is doing in college and how much she still appreciates that I took the time to help.
Q. How would you describe your role at UBC?
A. I oversee teams that operate Patient Assistance Programs, providing services that include program management, front-end pharmacy operations, a clinical call center, benefits investigation and reimbursement. I’m responsible for more than 50 individual programs that encompass 250 products for 29 pharma clients.
Q. This is a departure from a traditional pharmacist role. Why did you choose this route and how does your background as a pharmacist help you in your current role?
A. I began my career with Express Scripts as a dispensing pharmacist and have held roles in product management, project management, drug information, operational excellence and compliance over the years. In my current role, I use my background as a pharmacist to design PAPs that are customized to the patient populations they serve and that are compliant with the rules and regulations that govern the practice of pharmacy.
Q. What common challenges do the patients you support face, and how do you help them overcome those challenges?
A. My team helps patients obtain therapy that they would not otherwise be able to afford. In the past, our programs focused primarily on patients who are uninsured, but with the changes in healthcare we also support patients who are underinsured and without enough coverage for necessary medications. Through this shift, we have partnered with our clients to suggest adaptions to eligibility guidelines to ensure patients receive the assistance they need.
Q. What do manufacturers need to consider when designing a robust Patient Assistance Program?
A. Manufacturers should consider the unique needs of their patient populations, especially because many of these programs are for specialty medications and therapies that treat patients with rare diseases. We can help clients customize their programs to ensure patients get as much support as possible. This may include a customized portal to speed enrollment and alternate funding searches to identify other resources for patients.
Just for fun
Q. If you could add an extra hour to every day, what would you do with it?
A. I’d love to say something noble here, but I’d probably use it as extra time with my family. That always has the biggest ROI as far as time spent goes.
Q. If you had a time machine, where would you go?
A. I’d go back to the day that I had my son. I could live that day a hundred times over and never tire of it.