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Brittany Jennings
November 27, 2020

Alice Cheng, Pharm.D. 2021 candidate.

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Foundation hosted its most recent Best Poster Competition at AMCP Nexus 2020 Virtual on Oct. 21. With the support of CVS Health, student pharmacists, residents, and fellows virtually presented innovative research to nearly 2,000 leaders and professionals in the managed care setting.

Best Poster by a Student Pharmacist went to Alice Cheng, Pharm.D. 2021 candidate at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Cheng was recognized for her work, “The Clinical and Financial Impact of Modifying Saxenda (liraglitude) Utilization Management.”

Saxenda – a weight loss medication – was the second most expensive drug to the Network Health Plan (NHP), consistently increasing plan paid drug costs $25,000 per quarter. NHP’s prior policy for Saxenda coverage did not include a bariatric specialist visit, or documentation of non-pharmacotherapy patient status (i.e. activity, diet, smoking, etc.).

To better align with clinical guidelines for the management of obesity, these requirements were added to the revised policy in January 2019. In Cheng’s study, NHP observed no statistical difference in weight loss between patients covered by the historic versus revised policies. Subsequently, NHP reduced the estimated annual plan paid expense by $1.2 million.

“I feel honored to have received this award, but much of the credit goes to my mentors in the UNC Pharmacy Benefits Team and the training I received as a managed care pharmacy intern with the UNC Health Department of Pharmacy’s Managed Pharmacy Solutions,” Cheng said. “When I submitted to AMCP Nexus, my goal was to convey to the rest of the managed care pharmacy world our findings around Saxenda, a costly weight loss therapy, and hoped that what we learned would be useful to others in their coverage determinations.”

Since its inception in 2002, AMCP Foundation’s Best Poster Competition has provided an opportunity for student pharmacists and new practitioners to demonstrate analytic expertise, poster development, and technical skills. Best Poster Award winners receive $500 and a one-year AMCP membership. AMCP Foundation also periodically invites established researchers to compete for topical Best Poster Awards.

“Congratulations to all who presented cutting-edge research in this Virtual Best Poster Competition,” said Paula J. Eichenbrenner, MBA, CAE, AMCP Foundation Executive Director. “The real-world evidence showcased by junior investigators truly underscores our mission of investing in future-oriented research.”

About her future in pharmacy, Cheng said her goals include, “completing a PGY-1 managed care pharmacy residency and joining the pharmacy team in a managed care organization that prioritizes improving health outcomes through patient and provider engagement strategies.”

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