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Press Release

John Coster Honored with Zellmer Lecture

John M. Coster, Ph.D., R.Ph., Director, Division of Pharmacy, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will present the sixth annual William A. Zellmer Lecture on September 15, 2015, as part of ASHP’s Policy Week activities. ASHP, which represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings, holds this event each year as part of its policy development and advocacy activities.

Prior to joining CMS, Dr. Coster was Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Community Pharmacists Association; Vice President of Federal Affairs and Public Policy of Rite Aid Corp.; and Vice President, Policy & Programs, for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

He served as a staff member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and was involved in the development of the Medicaid pharmaceutical rebate provisions of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990 and the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992. During that time, he also served as a member of the President’s Task Force on Health Care Reform.

Dr. Coster also worked as a health analyst at the United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment and was a Policy Fellow at the Center on Drugs and Public Policy at the University of Maryland Graduate School in Baltimore.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. John's University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions in New York, and received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in Health Policy from the University of Maryland Graduate School.

Dr. Coster has a special relationship to ASHP: He completed the ASHP Executive Residency in Association Management and served as the Coordinator of Student and Resident Affairs.

“Dr. Coster is a longtime friend of ASHP, and a true leader in pharmacy and healthcare policy,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP. “The work he has done throughout his career has undoubtedly improved healthcare for all Americans, and has helped demonstrate the vital roles pharmacists play as patient care providers.”

ASHP established the William A. Zellmer Lecture in 2010 in collaboration with the ASHP Research and Education Foundation. The Lecture honors Zellmer’s contributions to policy development, advocacy, planning, and communications during his career with ASHP. The lecture is given annually during ASHP Policy Week by a distinguished individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in advancing healthcare-related public policy that has improved the safety and effectiveness of medication use through the engagement of pharmacists.

About ASHP
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s more than 40,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. For over 70 years, ASHP has been on the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website,, or its consumer website,

About the ASHP Foundation
The ASHP Research and Education Foundation was established in 1968 by the ASHP as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. As the philanthropic arm of ASHP, our vision is that patient outcomes improve because of the leadership and clinical skills of pharmacists, as vital members of the healthcare team, accountable for safe and effective medication use. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of patients in health systems through appropriate, safe and effective medication use.

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