PHARMACY

WSJ: Heat comes down on Valeant

BY DSN STAFF

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PHARMACY

New UI Pharm.D. curriculum emphasizes team learning over lectures

BY Michael Johnsen

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy on Wednesday launched a new curriculum that prepares students for today's healthcare arena, building skills to be effective decision makers, team players and communicators. The idea is to prepare students to provide care that is multi-disciplinary, patient-centered and team-based, the College reported. 
 
The new Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum — dubbed the Learning and Living Curriculum — began this fall with first-year Pharm.D. students and will roll out over the next three academic years.
 
Mike Kelly, associate dean for professional education at the UI’s College of Pharmacy, says the new curriculum is more about a “change of delivery” than a transformation of content. More courses are team-taught, and students work in groups more often than they do individually.
 
“We created a curriculum with a student-centered approach to teaching,” Kelly said. “There is also a greater emphasis on professionalism and discovery through research. … There’s less sage-on-the-stage and more faculty working alongside students, facilitating the learning.” 
 
Unique elements of the Learning and Living Curriculum include: 
 
  • Professional Engagement: A two-week, one-credit course for first-year Pharm.D. students that begins one week before the fall semester. Sessions include an orientation, professional and self-development classes, patient-screening training, a day of service and mentoring and networking events;
  • Aligned Component Course series: Classes will now be organized by disease state and will be team-taught. Having stand-alone courses, such as Pathology (disease causes and their behaviors) and Pharmacology (the uses, effects, and modes of actions of drugs) with one instructor, a particular disease state will be used as the theme to tie former stand-alone subjects together;
  • Active learning strategies: Students will be given pre-class assignments that teach them concepts, while in class, they delve more deeply into the material, often in small groups. Students will apply, analyze and evaluate the material with the help of the teacher and their peers;
  • Inter-professional education: Pharmacy students will collaborate with fellow health sciences students to learn about other professions and high-functioning health-care teams; and
  • Greater ability to specialize —  The new program will allow more flexibility for students seeking dual degrees and additional specializations.
 
Donald Letendre, dean of the UI College of Pharmacy, believes health care professionals are inherently lifelong students; so, it’s important that any pharmacy curriculum is conducive to change.“Our avant-garde curriculum is forward-thinking, student-centric and fully adaptable to addressing students’ interests and needs,” he said.
 
Another key feature of the new curriculum is called “Professional Discovery,” which includes team-based, long-term research projects that help students develop their collaborative, leadership and research skills.
 
“Fewer than 25 percent of pharmacy schools include a Professional Discovery component in their curriculum, but there is clear evidence that it improves student success,” noted Professor Emerita Hazel Seaba.
 
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Study: Mo. dispensing costs rise to $13 per prescription

BY David Salazar

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A new study by the University of Missouri-Kansas City and St. Louis College of Pharmacy is finding that dispensing costs at community pharmacies averaged $12.99 per prescription in 2014 — a number that’s far higher than the Mo. Medicaid reimbursement of $4.09 per prescription.

“This is vital data to both pharmacists and policymakers as the future of Medicaid is debated,” said lead author Scott K. Griggs, an assistant professor of pharmacy administration at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “As important decisions are being made about costs and reimbursement, it is necessary to have an accurate assessment of the pharmacies’ actual cost to provide services to Medicaid patients.”

The $12.99 figure is lower than the cost of dispensing for rural pharmacies ($14.50), but slightly higher than that of urban pharmacies ($12.67). It cost independent pharmacies on average more ($13.16) than the average chain pharmacy, whose cost was $12.93. The lower cost for chain pharmacies, according to Griggs, reflects the economy of scale in pharmacies with higher volume. But the average still points to the difficulties all community pharmacies face in recouping the cost of dispensing.

“The study demonstrates that Missouri pharmacies need an average gross margin of $12.99 to break even on prescription sales,”  Ken Schafermeyer, professor of pharmacy administration at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, said. “If the dispensing fee is designed to cover all overhead costs plus a reasonable net profit of 3 percent of the average prescription price, it would need to be about $14.91 per prescription. This is based on costs as of October 2014; a dispensing fee set at some time in the future should take any future inflationary pressures into account.”

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