Compounding is the art and science of combining appropriate ingredients to fit the unique needs of a patient. Rather than ingesting a drug in the traditional form of a pill, pharmacists can use innovative methods to help patients take their medicine. This includes creating medicine in the form of lollipops or gummy bears, a more palatable compound for young children, or making drugs more accessible through creams or gels for patients who have difficulty ingesting medicine. For pharmacy students, compounding is one of the vital skills that they learn during their four years in pharmacy school, and where WSU student pharmacists have excelled nationally in the last few years.
This year, WSU student pharmacists have been invited again to participate in the national Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition (SPCC) for their innovation in pharmaceutical compounding. Three Pharm.D. students from the college’s Yakima extension won the regional competition, qualifying them to move on to nationals.
“Our students have consistently demonstrated their ability to be innovative, creative and technical in their compounding abilities,” said Damianne Brand-Eubanks, Clinical Assistant Professor at the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who advises the team of students along with Dr. Emily Darst, Research Associate at WSU CPPS. “Our students prepare for this competition in their own time. In other words, this is not a required course, but something they are truly passionate about.”
The student group won the national championship title two years ago and placed third last year. This year the team of students have been invited again to participate in national championships which will take place in March in Hollywood, Florida.
“I hope to always carry this knowledge with me going forward to become a critical thinking pharmacist. Mostly, I hope to help patients in the future given the knowledge I’ve gained,” said Maria Bernal, a first year student who is part of the winning compounding team, along with two other WSU students, Lermey Uong and Casey Johnston. “It was quite the experience competing, I feel like I learned a lot about myself working as a team and under pressure.”
SPCC estimates that up to 25 teams across the nation will compete nationally in Florida. WSU is the only university in Washington with compounding teams. Other universities in the state have consulted with WSU student pharmacists on creating their own teams for regional competitions.