New specialty pharmacy practice model set for January groundbreaking in Alabama

AUBURN, Ala. Two pharmacy professors from Auburn University and one of the school’s alumni are designing a model pharmacy to help community pharmacy operators prepare, dispense and administer highly specialized drug therapies typically administered only in hospitals.

Leading the effort are Auburn pharmacy professors Kenneth Barker and Betsy Flynn, along with Auburn pharmacy graduate Johnny Bell, founder and owner of Vital Care, an operator and franchisor of clinical pharmacy and home-infusion service providers based in Meridian, Miss.

Groundbreaking on the new center is set for January. When it opens late next year or in early 2009, its pharmacy staff will administer complex drug therapies for patients with special needs, including potent intravenous antibiotics, chemotherapy, cardiac medications and intravenous nutritional formulas. The 13,000-square-foot, two-story center will house a sterile preparation area, compounding area and a specialty pharmacy area for limited-distribution medicines, such as those used in clinical trials. The building will also include four private suites—complete with Internet access, a musical library and TV—for patients who need to receive treatments on site at the center, rather than at home, according to the designers.

“With Auburn’s help, we are building the model facility to show pharmacists how they can provide this much-needed service, especially in rural areas,” said Bell, a 1970 Auburn pharmacy graduate and former president of the school’s Pharmacy Alumni Association. “We combined our knowledge of high-technology therapies and infusion pharmacy operations with the design and ergonomics knowledge of the AU design team.”

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