David Smith, PD, owner of Smith Family Pharmacy in Conway was presented with the 2018 Pharmacist of the Year Award by the Arkansas Pharmacists Association at a luncheon during the 136th Arkansas Pharmacists Association Annual Convention held at the Northwest Arkansas Embassy Suites in Rogers earlier this month.

“Pharmacy has always been my calling. I’ve put my heart and soul into it. There are so many worthy pharmacists for this award, why I should be picked over others blows my mind,” Smith said. “Being validated by my peers goes so far beyond what I can describe and it’s something I’m going to cherish.”

All past recipients of the award have one main thing in common: their passion to improve pharmacy in Arkansas for both pharmacists and patients.

Smith funneled that passion and emotion into a letter that spread throughout the country and helped fan the flames of an intense battle against lowered reimbursement rates by pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), the middlemen that process claims between pharmacies and insurance companies.

The 1200-word letter to the editor, titled “The Monster in the Closet,” sought to explain to Arkansans the crisis that had impacted so many pharmacies in the state and why patient access would be affected if the issue was not addressed.

What began as a way to educate his community became a tool that was spread to US Senators, other state pharmacy associations, and news services across the country.

The letter ultimately resulted in a law passed in Arkansas to help relieve some of the impact that had affected pharmacists.

Smith was chosen as the 2018 APA Pharmacists of the year for his part in shining a national spotlight on Arkansas’s fight against PBMs.

Smith has stayed proactive within the field of pharmacy by serving as a former APA President and a member of the National Community Pharmacists Association and the American Pharmacists Association.

Smith has also served for 10 years on the Board of Life Word Broadcast Ministries, three years on the Board of Conway Regional Health Foundation and is a member of the Arkansas Pharmacy Foundation Board.

Smith and his wife Shirley, a pharmacy technician he works alongside, have three kids and five grandchildren.

The Arkansas Pharmacists Association is the statewide professional association representing approximately 2,200 pharmacists in Arkansas.

APA strives to further the professional advancement of pharmacists, advocate the value of pharmacy, and safeguard the health and well-being of every Arkansan.

Its mission is to advance a professional and business environment for Arkansas pharmacists to be successful and fulfilled in serving patients.