Student achievement at national competition brings home prize that will benefit others

Three student pharmacists from the Washington State University College of Pharmacy competed in the national Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition (SPCC) March 18-19 in Aventura, Florida.

“We decided to participate in the SPCC regional competition because all three of us work at Sixth Avenue Pharmacy and have not only a strong background in compounding, but also a desire to develop these skills for our future practice as pharmacists,” said Shauna Legget.

WSU student pharmacists Kimberly Paulson, class of 2017, Shauna Leggett, class of 2018, and Megan Baker, class of 2020, made up one of 18 teams from pharmacy programs across the country.

In addition to placing fourth overall in the competition, the team participated in a separate research project proposal contest and won. As a prize, the WSU College of Pharmacy will receive a piece of compounding lab equipment from Medisca known as a Mazerustar, a type of specialized electronic mixer valued at $17,000.

“The Mazerusta allows for great mixing that no other hand tools in the school compounding lab allows. It uses planetary motion to completely mix without adding air or bubbles to your final product,” said Kimberly Paulson. “There are no other pharmacies in the Spokane area that have this type of equipment that I’m aware of.”

Drug companies produce medicine in standard doses. Compounding is when pharmacists customize prescriptions to better fit the individual. This can involve converting a medicine from a tablet to a liquid form, or adjusting the dosage or dosage form. For example, many drugs are not produced in dosages appropriate for children. Pediatric medicine is something that is often compounded by a pharmacist.

Not all pharmacies provide compounding services, which makes it an ideal niche for pharmacy entrepreneurs interested in owning their own stores.

To enter the contest, they had to submit a video about how they would use the equipment to complete a research project. They proposed collaborating with Sixth Avenue Pharmacy in Spokane to complete studies regarding time and cost savings. The Mazerustar will be housed at Sixth Avenue Pharmacy where the compounding team will have the opportunity to complete the research they proposed in the contest.

This is one example of how the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program provides a transformative student experience. In this case, the achievement of the compounding team will allow other students to gain experience working with a piece of equipment they otherwise wouldn’t in pharmacy school. The collaboration with the local pharmacy will allow students the opportunity to gain experience in both specialty pharmacy and research, and give the Spokane community access to high quality services not regularly offered at a standard retail pharmacy.

[Lori J. Maricle] 6/30/17