The federal government has started reviewing applications from individuals seeking to be the next Director of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA), the unit within HRSA that oversees the 340B program. Tuesday, Sept. 14 was the last day to apply. Applicants must be licensed to practice pharmacy in a U.S. state or territory and have a doctoral degree in pharmacy.
The position became vacant in August when U.S. Public Health Service Rear Adm. Krista Pedley, OPA’s director since July 2010, was promoted to run HRSA’s new Office of Special Health Initiatives (OSHI). OSHI comprises OPA plus HRSA’s global health, behavioral health, and oral health programs. It is housed within the HRSA administrator’s office.
Michelle Herzog, Pedley’s long-time second-in-command, is running OPA on an acting basis.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s (HHS) timeline for filling the job is unknown, as is the number of applications it received by the Sept. 14 deadline. A HRSA spokesperson said that HRSA does not disclose such information.
Apexus Senior Vice President Vacancy
The OPA director position isn’t the only national, high-profile job in the 340B sphere that needs to be filled.
On Aug. 23, a week before HHS posted the OPA director’s job, Apexus President Chris Hatwig announced on social media site LinkedIn that the company has an opening for a Senior Vice President, 340B Policy and Compliance.
Apexus, a division of health care group purchasing and services company Vizient, manages the 340B Prime Vendor Program under a contract with HRSA. It separately offers professional training through its Advanced 340B Operations Certificate Program and specialty pharmacy services through its Acentrus unit.
Apexus created the senior vice president job after former long-time Vice President, 340B Compliance Katheryne Richardson left in May to become Bristol-Myers Squibb’s chief 340B program strategist.
Hatwig said in his LinkedIn post the position is part of the Apexus leadership team and is responsible for leading the education, compliance, and call centers teams at Apexus in support of the 340B program. The job description says candidates must have “15 or more year’s relevant experience with a deep technical expertise with 340B program required.”
Veteran 340B stakeholders said that while the person chosen for this post will not shape 340B policy directly, he or she may influence it indirectly, for example, by bringing emerging 340B questions or concerns or twists on old ones to HRSA and OPA’s attention, and by helping convey HRSA and OPA’s answers back to providers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and consultants. An important aspect of the job, these veterans said, is being a neutral two-way conduit of information for the entire 340B community.
Asked to describe the ideal candidate, Hatwig said in an interview that Apexus is “looking for a 340B unicorn”—someone who can make extremely complex subjects easy to understand, who is comfortable with legal affairs, who has a firm grasp of current and emerging trends in 340B practice and policy, who knows all the different 340B stakeholders and their interests, who has 340B pharmacy operational experience and expertise, and who is a problem-solver with strong project management skills.