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National Pharmacy Council (NPC)

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Following the mission of the Indian Health Service (IHS), to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level, the goal of the National Pharmacy Council (NPC) is to facilitate teamwork within the IHS pharmacy program. The NPC provides advice and consultation to the Principal Pharmacy Consultant of the IHS, and all IHS, Tribal, and Urban (I/T/U) pharmacy programs on issues related to developing and maintaining a pharmacy program that meets the IHS mission. NPC Committee members and chairpersons are selected to represent a broad cross section of management and subject-matter experts as resources to the IHS Pharmacy system. The NPC is expected to respond to and resolve issues related to pharmacy practices within the IHS and shall use strategic planning processes to formulate deliverables of the appropriate scope and depth needed to provide solutions while carrying out the IHS mission.



The purpose of this committee is to advance pharmacy practice within the IHS. This will be accomplished through pharmacy mentorship, resource guides, and advanced clinical certificate programs.


The Antimicrobial Stewardship (ASP) Committee works to improve and measure appropriate use of antimicrobials within IHS by promoting the selection of the optimal antimicrobial regimen, dose, duration of therapy, and route of administration that results in best outcomes with the least amount of toxicity and resistance. The ASP Committee also utilizes current published data and information to develop annual IHS Guidance documents for the Empiric Selection of Antimicrobial Therapy for Inpatient and Ambulatory Care Infections.


The purpose of the Communications Committee is to facilitate and enhance communication among NPC members as well as between NPC and other groups, councils, and IHS pharmacists. The subcommittee currently manages a LISTSERV, intranet website, IHS Pharmacy Program website, and ( Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving ) IHS Pharmacy portal site, and is continuously works to improve and augment the lines of communication. The Communications Committee also publishes the monthly NPC Innovations Newsletter highlighting creative and forward-thinking pharmacists and programs throughout IHS.


The IHS Compliance Committee was developed to provide oversight and to ensure full implementation of the Indian Health Manual, Part 3, Chapter 7, throughout federal IHS facilities. This committee uses subject matter expert team leads and team members to annually review all IHS facilities.


The mission of the Inventory Management Committee (IMC) is to review and maintain up-to-date recommendations and best practices for IHS' current inventory management. These practices ensure that IHS/Tribal/Urban (I/T/U) facilities have the information needed to comply with all applicable Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), US Government Accountability Office (GAO), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regulations and IHS policy.


The purpose of the Pharmacy Collections Committee (PCC) is to identify, define, prioritize and advocate for best practices in billing for IHS pharmacists at all I/T/U facilities. The committee consists of pharmacists and technicians across all 12 areas of IHS. Members provide advice, consultation, and training for all matters pertaining to insurance, billing, and collections.


The National Supply Service Center (NSSC) supports the continued deployment of the Veterans Administration's Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy Service (CMOP) at all IHS and tribal sites through the training of pharmacy personnel and the use of quality improvement measures to evaluate and report the impact of CMOP on IHS Pharmacies. The NSSC Coordinator also supports the Pharmaceutical Prime Vendor (PPV) Program addressing any PPV issues that may impact the Agency and participating Tribal Facilities, and reviewing utilization of the PPV program. In conjunction with the National Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, the coordinator assists with ongoing implementation and monitoring of approved formulary management protocols and programs. The coordinator also establishes, and maintains effective working relationships with clinics, facilities, pharmacies, and other health organizations and implements strategies to maximize cost avoidance for the Agency.

  • Pharmaceutical Prime Vendor Program
  • Reverse Distribution
  • Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) System


The Pharmacy Professional Specialty Group (PSG) works to improve the health status of the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people by identifying, defining, prioritizing and advocating for the information resource management and technology needs of pharmacists in I/T/U facilities. This group centralizes and coordinates these efforts across all aspects of the pharmacy computer software including: ambulatory, hospital, national drug file, allergy tracking, automation, interfacing and training.


The Pharmacy Technician Practice Advisory Committee provides training resources and best practices to ensure a competent workforce to advance technician services and ultimately improve patient outcomes through clinical services. As the traditional pharmacist role transitions to a patient-centered practice model, the pharmacy technician's role must also evolve to support clinical patient care and enhanced services. The Committee works to ensure that pharmacy technicians receive appropriate training in technical duties to compliment the evolving role of pharmacists as providers.


The IHS Recruitment and Retention Committee (RRC) serves as the coordinator, consultant, advisor, and advocate to the IHS Principal Pharmacy Consultant on recruitment and staffing matters and provides oversight of agency-wide pharmacist recruitment, retention, and staffing coverage for all 12 IHS Areas. The RRC actively recruits for the IHS at various national professional pharmacy conferences and is responsible for selection and placement of Junior and Senior Commissioned Officer Student Extern Training Program (JRCOSTEP, SRCOSTEP) and IHS Extern applicants. The committee coordinates the needs of the IHS Residency Program, informing the NPC of upcoming residency events and other issues that affect the program, and identifies and defines the staffing needs of IHS pharmacies and provides best practice guidance related to 24-hour pharmacy, based on standards of pharmacy practice for patient safety and quality of care. The committee works closely with Area Pharmacy Consultants, Human Resources Specialists, Residency Program Directors, and the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Division of Commissioned Personnel Support to assist with advertising, application coordination, and administration of online and web-based IHS Pharmacy Recruitment tools such as the IHS Pharmacy website and vacancy database.

Ad Hoc Subcommittees of NPC


The Pharmacy Standards Committee provides guidance and tools to IHS and Tribally Operated Facilities in the appropriate compounding of medications and the handling of hazardous drugs. The Committee works to ensure that facilities are equipped to safely manage compounded medications and hazardous drugs through the development of best-practice guidelines, policies and procedures, training, and quality assurance monitoring. The Committee focuses heavily on implementation and compliance of national standards and IHS policies to include:


The Pharmacy Quality Metrics committee works to evaluate, develop, and maintain clinical quality measures related to medication management and the practice of pharmacy. The committee is also involved in updating and designing quality measure reporting tools and works cooperatively with other workgroups including the Clinical Reporting System (CRS), and the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA). The goal of the Pharmacy Quality Metrics committee is to provide the NPC with objective information related to quality metrics, measure outcomes, and proposed changes to facilitate decision making for the future direction of medication and pharmacy-based quality measures.

Other National Pharmacy Related Support and/ or Resources


The National Committee on Heroin, Opioids and Pain Efforts (HOPE) works to promote appropriate and effective pain management, reduce overdose deaths from heroin and prescription opioid misuse, and improve access to culturally appropriate treatment. The committee consists of 7 workgroups that aim to foster tribal relationships to:

  • Identify local resources that are available to treat pain and substance use disorders
  • Ensure adequate administrative support to effectively coordinate patient care
  • Encourage IHS facilities to increase clinical capacity and identify viable training and educational resources to support IHS prescribers, practitioners, tribal leadership, and community members
  • Facilitate meaningful discussions surrounding development of comprehensive medication-assisted treatment strategies
  • Expand availability of co-prescribed and first responder access to naloxone for patients at risk for opioid overdose
  • Expand Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome/Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome guidelines to increase screening and referral to treatment for pregnant and parenting mothers, and improve data collection, analysis, and evaluation to target strategies to impact pain management and addiction in tribal populations.


In 1997 the USPHS Chief Pharmacy Officer established the National Clinical Pharmacy Specialist (NCPS) Committee Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  as a means to recognize expanded scopes of Clinical Pharmacy Practice for areas where direct clinical patient care is provided at Federal facilities (ex. IHS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the U.S. Coast Guard (CG). Certification is intended to promote enhanced patient outcomes by uniformly recognizing an advanced scope of pharmacy practice aimed at managing drug therapy for one or more disease states.


The IHS National Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (NPTC) was developed in 2004 to create a national formulary in response to the substantial national cost increases of pharmaceuticals. NPTC is a permanent, chartered IHS Committee consisting of both field members and leadership officers. Field membership includes twelve practicing physicians and pharmacists representing the full spectrum of geographic and practice settings in Indian country. Leadership of the NPTC includes a physician Chairperson and a pharmacist Vice-Chair. The primary responsibility of the NPTC is to ensure that the IHS National Core Formulary (NCF) remains up to date with changes in medical knowledge and practice and provides I/T/U clinicians with the tools to deliver evidence-based and cost-effective pharmaceutical services to improve the quality of and access to care.


The Office of Information Technology (OIT) Pharmacy Consultant oversees and manages the IHS-wide pharmacy software development projects and support. The consultant also provides advice and consultation on pharmacy-related matters to federal leads for various IHS software applications and serves as liaison between IHS pharmacy software end-users and software programming staff.