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We Need More Pharmacists Outside of Pharmacy

John Michael O’Brien

Those who follow the national health policy dialogue have likely heard of John Michael O’Brien. “JMOB,” as he is sometimes known, is a pharmacist who has long been on a mission to improve the healthcare system and advance patient care. His pharmacy career has followed a nontraditional path that led him to highly influential positions in the health insurance industry, academia, associations, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where he served as then Secretary Alex Azar’s expert on pharmaceutical pricing policy. If you had met John right out of pharmacy school, his impressive career would have been no surprise to you; it was clear from the beginning he was destined to do important work in healthcare.

An avid sports fan and licensed pilot, John is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Pharmaceutical Council, a health policy research organization dedicated to the advancement of good evidence and science, and to fostering an environment in the United States that supports medical innovation. His letter provides insight for those young pharmacists who might wish to pursue a nontraditional pharmacy journey while still advancing the profession. Emphasizing the importance of building and nurturing relationships, he explains that you don’t have to work in pharmacy to advance the profession.