American Pharmacists Association’s Academy of Student Pharmacists names top school dean
STOCKTON, Calif. — The American Pharmacists Association’s Academy of Student Pharmacists has named Phillip R. Oppenheimer, who has led University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for almost two decades, as the 2014 Outstanding Dean.
The award recognizes Oppenheimer for promoting the education of student pharmacists through community service, leadership and professional activities.
Oppenheimer will receive the award during the American Pharmacists Association annual meeting in Orlando on March 28.
“Dean Oppenheimer is widely respected for his vision and innovation in pharmacy education, and for preparing pharmacists who will give back to their communities,” stated University of the Pacific president Pamela A. Eibeck. “He richly deserves this national honor.”
Under Oppenheimer’s leadership, the school has become a leading provider of care for underserved communities. Pharmacy students, working with faculty and preceptors, last year provided more than 100 free healthcare programs and served thousands of patients throughout Northern California, offering health screenings, immunizations and Medicare Part D clinics to help the elderly lower their annual prescription drug costs.
One-out-of-three pharmacists practicing in California has a degree from Pacific’s school of pharmacy. Graduates of the school, established in 1955, have included the CEO of the American Pharmacists Association and the presidents of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy and American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Graduates attain among the nation’s highest passage rates on the Pharmacy Licensure examination.
Pharmacist Michael Patrick, past president of the California Pharmacists Association, noted Oppenheimer’s leadership in pharmacy education. He cited such curricular innovations as Pacific’s combined Pharm.D./Ph.D. and Pharm.D./MBA degree programs; its AmerisourceBergen Good Neighbor Pharmacy Entrepreneurial Pharmacy Practice Program, the first of its kind in pharmacy education; and its incorporation of traditional basic sciences coursework into an integrated approach to pharmaceutical care and disease state management.
Oppenheimer also established opportunities for students to gain early clinical practice in community and long-term care practice settings, well before such experiences became a requirement of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
The son of a community pharmacist, Oppenheimer received his doctor of pharmacy degree from UCSF in 1972 and completed a clinical pharmacy residency, also at UCSF, in 1973. He joined Pacific as dean of the pharmacy school in 1997, following a 24-year career as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Southern California.
University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences also encompasses speech-language pathology and physical therapy degree programs, and operates an audiology patient clinic. The school will open an additional audiology clinic at Pacific’s new San Francisco campus this summer, and next fall will introduce Northern California’s first doctor of audiology degree program.
Mallinckrodt receives FDA approval for Xartemis XR
DUBLIN — Mallinckrodt Plc last week announced that the Food and Drug Administration approved Xartemis XR (oxycodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen) Extended-Release Tablets (CII), for the management of acute pain severe enough that it requires opioid treatment.
The drug also is indicated for patients for whom alternative treatments have shown to be ineffective. Xartemis XR, previously known as MNK-795, is the first and only extended-release oral combination of two clinically proven pain medications — oxycodone and acetaminophen.
Pain that is left uncontrolled or unmanaged results in significant costs to U.S. business in terms of lost productivity, according to the company. Data from the Institute of Medicine showed that in 2011, 80% of patients undergoing surgery experienced postoperative pain. Eighty-eight percent reported the pain to be moderate, severe or extreme.
“Acute pain doesn’t last for only four to six hours, and neither should its treatment. With the extended-release profile of XARTEMIS XR, patients may not need to wake in the night to take a dose,” said Nathaniel Katz, MD, MS, adjunct assistant professor of anesthesia at Tufts University School of Medicine. “A long-acting combination analgesic that can effectively deliver oxycodone and acetaminophen for acute pain patients experiencing pain throughout the day and night is a welcome addition to the treatment landscape.”
New study challenges benefits of fish oil
CAMBRIDGE, England — A new study published in the March 18 journal Annals of Internal Medicine raises questions about current guidelines which generally restrict the consumption of saturated fats and encourage consumption of polyunsaturated fats, or fish oils, to prevent heart disease.
"These are interesting results that potentially stimulate new lines of scientific inquiry and encourage careful reappraisal of our current nutritional guidelines," suggested Rajiv Chowdhury, lead author of the research at the University of Cambridge.
"This systematic review and meta-analysis raises an interesting viewpoint, but an unfortunate, and potentially irresponsible one, for consumers who will once again be subject to nutritional guidance whiplash," countered Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. “There are thousands of studies and decades of recommendations from government, academic, nutritional and medical organizations and experts supporting the important heart health benefits associated with diets high in polyunsaturated fats, low in saturated fats and avoidance of trans fats."
An international research collaboration led by the University of Cambridge analyzed existing cohort studies and randomized trials on coronary risk and fatty acid intake. They showed that current evidence does not support guidelines which restrict the consumption of saturated fats in order to prevent heart disease. The researchers also found insufficient support for guidelines that advocate the high consumption of polyunsaturated fats, such as omega 3 and omega 6, to reduce the risk of coronary disease.
For the meta-analysis, the researchers analyzed data from 72 unique studies with more than 600,000 participants from 18 nations. The investigators found that total saturated fatty acid, whether measured in the diet or in the bloodstream as a biomarker, was not associated with coronary disease risk in the observational studies. Similarly, when analysing the studies that involved assessments of the consumption of total monounsaturated fatty acids, long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, there were no significant associations between consumption and cardiovascular risk.
"Their conclusions, if taken to heart, leave consumers to rely on genetics and fate to avoid coronary heart disease, an unacceptable situation given the fact that the scientific literature contains so many studies that point to benefit for omega-3 fatty acids," MacKay said.
The investigators did find that different subtypes of circulating long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids had different associations with coronary risk, with some evidence that circulating levels of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (i.e., two main types of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids), and arachidonic acid (i.e, an omega-6 fat) are each associated with lower coronary risk.
"This analysis of existing data suggests there isn’t enough evidence to say that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats but low in saturated fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease," noted Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which helped fund the study. "But large scale clinical studies are needed, as these researchers recommend, before making a conclusive judgement."