Authored by Alyssa Bowling, PharmD, Medical Information/Medical Affairs Fellow 2016-18, MCPHS University. The views and opinions represented below are those of the author alone, and should not be attributed to any organization with which the author is employed or affiliated.

A decade ago, the idea of “patient-centricity” in pharmaceutical industry was brand new; however, it has quickly become commonplace in nearly every company. It seems that conversations take place daily to evaluate how companies can shift focus from viewing patients as merely customers to instead seeing them as the group that drives and directs company initiatives. Rather than communicating solely with healthcare professionals to discuss products, the industry is moving toward engaging patients to better understand their personal experiences and to uncover unmet needs.

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We are pleased to formally introduce our 2017-18 National Student Officers (NSOs). The competition for these prestigious leadership positions gets higher every year as the number of pharmacy schools with approved IPhO Chapters has now reached 50!

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IPhO is pleased to announce the addition of two new student chapters, and our growing national network has now reached 50 schools of pharmacy!

In just the fifth year of operation, IPhO represents the fastest growing student pharmacist chapter network in the United States.

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As the 2016-17 Fellowship year officially comes to an end, several IPhO National Fellows Council (NFC) members have successfully completed their industry fellowships/residencies and accepted their first full time industry positions. We recognize and congratulate them, and all the outgoing fellows, on this significant accomplishment!

Outgoing NFC Leaders

  • Alex Wei, PharmD
  • Matthew Schmidt, PharmD
  • Joyce Cao, PharmD
  • Vatche Demirjian, PharmD
  • Nicholas Heath, PharmD
  • Gediminas Pliura, PharmD
  • Alisha Couto, PharmD
  • Phil Armendi, PharmD
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The 2016-17 term has been an extremely exciting and productive period for our National Student Officers. We want to take this moment to acknowledge each of them and some of their numerous accomplishments. IPhO increased its national student leadership from three to six members this past year to support the continuing growth of our organization. During their tenure, the number of IPhO Student Chapters grew to 48! This growth would not have been possible without the tremendous commitment and quality of these student pharmacist leaders.

In addition, we are pleased to congratulate each of them on their acceptance to an industry fellowship program.

2016-17 IPhO National Student Officers

unnamed (1)

Bridgette Tran, PharmD
MCPHS Worcester
NSO, Chapter Management
Fellow, Daiichi- Sankyo Medical Affairs

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On April 19, 2017 the MCPHS-Boston IPhO Chapter hosted its 4th Annual “Emerging World of the Industry Pharmacist” event on the MCPHS-Boston campus. The focus of this year's event was, "The Rise of Rare Diseases and its Growing Impact on Healthcare."

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100+ Industry experts, pharmacists, fellows, and students gathered to gain more insight on the growing impact of rare diseases in the pharmaceutical industry. The evening began with a networking session followed by dinner and presentations from three industry experts who work with rare diseases on a daily basis.

Dr. James Alexander, CEO and Founder of IPhO, moderated the event and spoke of the importance of rare diseases in the pharmaceutical industry and the unique role it has within all departments.

Jonathan Picker, MD, PhD from Boston Children's hospital shared his personal experience of launching Fragile X and Global Gene Corp, two multinational biotech companies that deliver genomics data platform solutions for various patients, including those with rare diseases. Will Richmond, MBA, Senior Director of Market Access Sanofi Genzyme, spoke about his individual experience of engaging with various specialists and finding patients from the rare disease population. Concluding the presentation was Georgina Lee, PharmD, Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs with Biogen. Dr. Lee discussed the fast track approval for rare disease drugs, granted by the FDA and how these medications receive a faster response in regards to the submission of their advertising and promotional material.

Bernie Tyrell, RPh, MBA, Associate Dean and Chair of the Pharmaceutical Business and Administrative Sciences Department at MCPHS University, delivered closing remarks for the evening and emphasized the importance that pharmacists have in this unique, up and coming field.

Many thanks to the MCPHS-Boston IPhO Student Chapter, including student leaders Vannary Chhay, Christine Marotta, Amy Trottier, Divyani Patel, Sarah Caisse, Judi Abboud, and James Geiser.

Authored by Adam Quicquaro, 2018 PharmD Candidate, 2016-17 MCPHS-Boston IPhO Chapter President

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During the Annual IPhO National Student Meeting On March 25, 2017 in San Francisco, CA, student pharmacists from Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) approached the stage in front of 200 fellow student IPhO members from across the United States to receive an award for their creativity and knowledge of the drug development process. The IPhO KGI chapter had just been awarded first place in the 1st Annual VIP (Value of Industry Pharmacists) Case Competition, designed to test their pharmaceutical industry knowledge and skills through an industry-based case scenario—the first of its kind in the industry.

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Many of the 48 chapters in the IPhO National Student Chapter Network participated in this unique challenge right from their very own campuses — how to create a comprehensive development plan for a new molecular entity, from initial concept all the way through to approval and marketing of the product. The case provided a brief description of a hypothetical new drug entity from which each participating chapter started this competition, and their commitment to identifying and applying their knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry commercialization process took the steering wheel from there. Each participating IPhO student chapter, with the support of PharmD Industry Fellows from the IPhO National Fellows Community, worked diligently over four months to develop a video presentation detailing their drug development plan. Importantly, each presentation included a description of the important role that pharmacists play in the new drug development process.

The IPhO VIP Case Competition enabled students to delve into multiple disciplines within the pharmaceutical industry including, but not limited to: Clinical Development, Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, and Commercial functions. Each phase of the hypothetical drug’s lifecycle presented a unique challenge and enabled students to think outside the box and put their pharmaceutical industry skills to the test.

Why is this competition so valuable and unique? Since there are relatively few industry internships and APPE rotations available, many student pharmacists do not have the opportunity to learn about the career paths available to and well-suited for pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry. This competition helps address the lack of experiential opportunities - by bringing the internship directly to them! It engages students to proactively seek knowledge about the industry and apply it to a real-life model of a drug in development.

The competition was very successful in its first year thanks to Dr. Matthew Schmidt, a Genentech Regulatory Affairs Fellow, and his innovative team of industry fellows listed below.

IPhO Student Development Committee Members

  • Chair, Matthew Schmidt, Genentech Fellow
  • Co-Chair, Sean Harrison, Regeneron Fellow
  • Philip Armendi, Allergan Fellow
  • Maria Cusano, Novartis Fellow
  • Arielle Gabarda, ECIR Medical Communications Fellow
  • Francisco Hernandorena, Janssen Fellow
  • Phyllis Lee, GlaxoSmithKline Fellow
  • Joe Naggar, Biogen Fellow
  • Tae Oh, Allergan Fellow
  • Gunjan Patel, Novartis Fellow
  • Tej Patel, GlaxoSmithKline Fellow
  • Monica Timmerman, Fresenius Fellow
  • Shivani Vora, Eli Lilly Visiting Scientist Fellow

The IPhO Student Development Committee plays an integral role in growing and influencing the development of the next generation of industry pharmacists. They are responsible for advising, collaborating, and managing the activities of the IPhO National Student Chapter Network. While setting objectives and goals for the year, the Student Development Committee highlighted the need to revamp the Case Competition’s predecessor, the VIP Advocacy Challenge. Student feedback received clearly indicated a desire to learn more about the functional roles and dynamics within a pharmaceutical company while integrating the value that industry pharmacists bring to each of these roles. Under the strong guidance of IPhO’s national leadership, the idea for the Value of Industry Pharmacists (VIP) Case Competition was born.

According to IPhO Student Development Committee Chair Matthew Schmidt, “we wanted to challenge ourselves to develop an opportunity that not only encouraged spirited, collegial competition but also gave student pharmacists another avenue to actively learn more about industry career paths. What better way to do this than presenting students with a challenge that empowers them to understand how a pharmaceutical company operates? The competition was created to foster an understanding of the cross-functional process of developing and bringing a new drug to market, while considering the value that industry pharmacists bring to each functional area at each stage of development. Every chapter faced the same goal: design the best comprehensive development plan for a hypothetical molecule, with respect to its clinical development plan as well as regulatory, medical, and commercial strategies. What we saw was truly impressive! Interest in this competition by pharmacy schools across the country was widespread. More than 25 IPhO student chapters expressed interest in entering the competition, and 18 chapters officially submitting their drug development plan for consideration. We quickly witnessed the competition’s ability to inspire pharmacy students with little to no knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, to conduct extensive research and to expand their professional network by reaching out to industry professionals. Student chapters without adequate industry resources now had an additional reason to participate in IPhO blogs/forums and engage in industry-focused conversations. The VIP Case Competition has already and will continue to enable the promotion of careers in the pharmaceutical industry and advocate for pharmacists in ALL industry functions.”

IPhO CEO James Alexander, who helped oversee the creation and execution of the 1st Annual Case Competition, said "we are very grateful to Matt, his team, and the IPhO National Fellows Council for creating such an amazingly successful competition,” said Dr. Alexander. “I have no doubt that the IPhO VIP Case Competition will thrive and become one of our organization's centerpiece offerings for many years to come. It is clearly in line with our mission for our IPhO student pharmacist members, which is to help prepare them for a career in the pharmaceutical industry.” Dr. Alexander also added that, “we will seek to engage one or more pharmaceutical companies to support the 2017-18 competition and help student pharmacists learn more about the important role that pharmacists play in the drug development process.”

Building upon the great success of the 2016-17 competition, the IPhO National Fellows Council and the Student Development Committee are working to make the competition even better next year. The goal is to provide an even greater opportunity for pharmacy students nationwide to understand and experience the pharmaceutical industry, and to develop the next generation of student and industry pharmacist leaders.

Authored by Vineeth Nair, PharmD, Pfizer Post-Doctoral Fellow and Co-Chief, IPhO National Fellows Council

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On Saturday, March 25, 2017, 200 students from around the country assembled in San Francisco for IPhO's 4th Annual National Student Event, hosted by University of the Pacific's IPhO chapter.

Student leaders from many of IPhO’s 48 student chapters attended the E-board National Assembly, featuring an update on the exciting future plans IPhO has for the growing national network of student chapters.

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