Prime/MRx resident wins AMCP Foundation Best Poster Award

Ai Quynh Nguyen, PharmD, was recently recognized for her research on opioid-prescribing patterns and outcomes

April 24, 2024

Prime/MRx resident, Ai Quynh Nguyen, stands by her poster at AMCP 2024.What was the highlight of Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)’s Annual Meeting 2024? It may depend on who you ask, but most in attendance would agree that the opportunity to connect with and guide the next generation of managed care pharmacists would rank near the top. 

“A lot of students are not aware that the managed care space hires pharmacists, so the residency experience is what truly opened the door for me to go into managed care pharmacy — hence my passion to give back to the community,” said YuQian Liu, PharmD, senior director of clinical account services at Prime Therapeutics/Magellan Rx Management (Prime/MRx), who also serves as Prime/MRx residency director. 

One Prime/MRx resident, Ai Quynh Nguyen, PharmD, could easily say that her AMCP experience was one she won’t soon forget. Her research poster, Retrospective Claims Analysis of Opioid Prescribing Patterns: Single and Combination Agents for Acute Pain and Subsequent Conversion to Chronic Opioid Usage Among Commercial Members, won the AMCP Foundation Best Poster Award at the AMCP Annual Meeting 2024. As noted by AMCP, “The Competition hosted authors presenting cutting-edge research where Best Poster judges evaluated their research based on scientific merit, evidence of innovation and practicality, strength and clarity of conclusions, and visual interpretation of data.” 

I spoke with Ai Quynh to hear more about the research and her residency experience. 

Alex Cook: Can you tell us about your poster? 
Ai Quynh Nguyen: My poster evaluated opioid-prescribing patterns and outcomes through a retrospective analysis of paid pharmacy claims within a commercial health plan. Specifically, I was assessing the impact of initiation for combination agents (CA), like oxycodone-acetaminophen, or single agents (SA), like oxycodone, to see if they had a predictive role in opioid-naïve members who subsequently convert to opioid dependence. 

The combination of a non-opioid with an opioid can produce additive analgesia by activating multiple pain-inhibitory pathways to provide relief for a broader spectrum of pain and reduced adverse effects. For opioid-naïve patients, physical dependence can occur in as little as four to eight weeks. Therefore, the most impactful intervention will likely be those that target opioid-naïve members to prevent chronic misuse.  

By seeing if starting with a CA or SA plays a role in conversion to chronic use, this can potentially be a beneficial guidepost for pharmacists to target interventions and outreach in opioid-related clinical programs.  

I really enjoyed the opportunity to travel to a new city and share that experience, trying new foods and activities with people I admire and enjoy working with. This will definitely be a fond memory I’ll always look back on! —Ai Quynh Nguyen, Prime/MRx resident

What drew you to researching such a timely topic like opioids? What surprised you?
Following the passage of the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Opioid Guidelines, and the increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, the number of states with laws that impose enforceable limitations on opioid prescriptions for pain treatment have increased rapidly from 10 in 2016 to 39 by the end of 2019.

This topic has played such a big role in America, and I feel like most people are able to relate or have loved ones who have been impacted by the opioid crisis. I pursued this topic as I wanted to see what the real-world utilization of these opioids looked like and if things were improving following the current legislations and guidelines.  

My results surprised me, as out of the entire 18,660-member population that fit my inclusion criteria, only 33 members converted to continuous opioid users. I concluded that these opioid laws and CDC guidelines likely played a tremendous role in the low number of continuous users as it helped regulate prescriptions for opioid-naïve patients, as seen from the low-day supply and morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) on the index claim in my cohorts.  

What did you enjoy about the AMCP conference this year? 
This was my second AMCP conference of my residency. Since we work remotely, conferences are a unique time to connect with my peers and mentors in a different environment and build our relationships.  

I really enjoyed the opportunity to travel to a new city and share that experience, trying new foods and activities with people I admire and enjoy working with. This will definitely be a fond memory I’ll always look back on! 

What would you say about your residency experience to other students who may be looking at our program?
This award would not have been possible without the tremendous support of our incredible Clinical Outcomes Analytics and Research (COAR) team. Through my experience with this residency program, I have been able to expand my coding skills in SAS and SQL, which allowed me to pull and analyze my own data for this research. This is such a unique opportunity that other programs may not offer, and I will be able to come out of residency with tangible skills that will differentiate me from others.   

Want to learn more about the Magellan Rx + Prime Residency Program? Listen to the latest episode of the Pharmacy Friends podcast, where YuQian Liu shares her residency experience and talks more about giving back to the next generation of managed care pharmacists. 

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