PHARMACY

KGI School of Pharmacy reprises Shark Tank App Competition

BY David Salazar

CLAREMONT, Calif. — The Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy recently announced the results from its second annual Shark Tank App Competition, held in early December as part of its PHAR 403 course. The competition saw 13 six-person teams pitch their ideas to a panel of five judges, including KGI president Sheldon Schuster, IBM Los Angeles city manager Chuck Skiko, MedTech Innovator Program director Kathryn Zavala and Lab Launch founder and CEO Llewellyn Cox.

The winning team pitched a product called PharmaSpeed, a multifunctional, software-integrated device with capabilities for prescription loading, scanning, transcribing, labeling and storage. Its creators, which included Danielle Tessier, Kristina Joo, Sun Kim, Shilpa Krishnan, Patricia Sedlock, and Stephanie Truong, designed it with the intention of maximizing time, improving pharmacy workflow and enabling the pharmacy using the device to focus on patient-centered care.

“We accomplished the main goal of this learning exercise, which was to look at the current state of pharmacy automation and imagine the technologies of the future,” course instructor Armen Simonian said. “All of the teams were winners. Every student took the challenge to heart, and they all went above and beyond in their effort to create and promote their ideas. As their instructor, I could not be more proud. The students, again this year, made this event exciting, meaningful, and inspirational.”

Among the other pitches were:

  • On the Spot Rx, a clinical services kiosk aimed at enhancing utilization of pharmacy clinical services, developed by Nabeel Asif, Russle Benson, Megan Babakhanian, Tim Grun, Monique Maison and Keith Suehiro
  • Aura, a respiratory rate detection watch for long-term opioid users that could help prevent harm and potential death as a result of respiratory depression due to opioid overdose, developed by Dillon Hui, Ashish Brahmbhatt, Pranav Bhakta, Martha Ramirez, Howraa Alasker and Marcus McClure
  • An application, OTCheck that allows patients to create their own personal health profile — including demographics, allergies, medical conditions and current medications — with the goal of providing convenient access to the OT product most suited to a patient’s symptoms based on their health information, developed by Tsovinar Akopyan, Zainab Hameed, Nairi Mrktchian, Ivy Dino, My Nguyen and Joshua Blackmore;
  • RxBand, a watch for improcing patient adherence through online monitoring by providers and a patient’s family, developed by Mintra Muanraksa, Tanya Lengvilas, Jasmin Kojasaryan, Mark Lua, Karlie Grate, Lida Choe and Aaron Bohlmann;
  • MMMeds, and adherence solution that rewards good patient adherence with discounts for prescriptions, developed by Conor Moldowan, Emet Medina, Sherryl Chico, Trina Nerow, Jae Chang, Anasheh Navasarkian;
  • OTC Touch, a camera scanner that scans the front labels or barcodes of OTC prodicts to offer patients price comparisons and provide a summary of directions, aimed at educating patients while simplifying the comparison and buying process, developed by Daniel Phan, Marina Girgis, Silvia Byram, Sara Sheik, Melony Medina, Vanessa Luong and Dominic Goria;
  • EzScribe, a secure tablet that can produce an e-prescription for a patient or electronically send a prescription to the pharmacy of a patient’s choice, developed by Marjan Askari, Haisun Chu, Georgia Hovsepian, Ngoc Duyen Nguyen, Wasien Phungkusol and Hannah Suh;
  • MedLit, a customizable, personalized electronic medical bracelet that provides automatic updates of patient health information, a medication list and displays refill reminders, developed by Julienne Hattar, Peter Tran, William Pao, Ada Vo, Yumin Jeon, Ilona Kravtsova and James Shin;
  • Guard4U, a reusable at-home unit dose packaging system that dispenses the medication into individual packages for the day, aimed at reducing medication errors and improving adherence by simplifying drug regimen organization, developed by Kofi Atta-Boateng, Neiloofar Jafari, John Kim, Shellen Li, Dane Osmond, and Caroline Yalda;
  • Smartphone application Vax, which provides a record of immunizations received and reminders about upcoming immunizations, developed by Rohit Amarshi, Jessica Tan, Tiffany La, Soufya Zohreh-Kermany, Christopher Cheung and Aram Shim; and
  • Cover Check, an app that lets patients compare the cost and coverage for medication, aimed at bridging a gap for patients so they know if their medication is covered ahead of time, developed by Joselino Cabrera, Tungie Williams, Meera Patel, Janet Kang, Rupangi Patel and Julie Nguyen.

“Being in this school is definitely giving us an edge to see what’s out there and making us very well-rounded pharmacists and individuals,” RxBand team member Mintra Muanraksa said. “This competition also makes us more confident in going out into the working field.”

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PHARMACY

Cold and flu remedy sales on the rise at Meijer pharmacies

BY Brian Berk

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Cold and flu remedies purchased over the counter at Meijer pharmacies have increased 30% over recent weeks, a possible sign consumers bypassed getting their annual flu shot during this winter season.

"Flu viruses commonly peak in January and February. If you and your family have not gotten a flu shot, you can still get one," Meijer VP pharmacy operations Karen Mankowski said. "It's always better to get your flu shot earlier in the season, but there is no expiration date. Getting a vaccination now can only provide a better chance to protect yourself against the flu and help all of us stay healthier."

Under the Affordable Care Act, flu shots are free for consumers in most situations as a preventative service. At Meijer’s 230 pharmacies, customers don’t need to pay co-pay fees for a flu shot under most insurance plans. Walk-in service as available at Meijer locations with no appointment necessary.

In a recently published report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated influenza activity is on the rise and outpatient visits to the doctor are expected to increase in coming weeks. The flu shot is reportedly a good match for predominant circulating H1N1, H3N2 and B flu strains.

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PhRMA names Duato new board chairman

BY David Salazar
WASHINGTON — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America have announced Monday that Joaquin Duato, Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide chairman, pharmaceuticals, would be succeeding George Scangos, the outgoing CEO of Biogen, as the organization’s board chairman. 
 
“I am pleased to welcome Joaquin Duato as PhRMA board chairman and thank George Scangos for his leadership,” PhRMA president and CEO Stephen Ubl said."Through sustained investment in research and development, biopharmaceutical researchers and scientists have gained a better understanding of diseases and a greater ability to harness new scientific advances. Joaquin's focus on our industry's role in transforming lives will be crucial as we work with all stakeholders to make the health care system better and more responsive to the needs of patients."
 
Duato has been in his role at J&J since January 2011 and has been at the company for 28 years, working across its pharmaceutical and medical device business segments, holding regional chairman roles and leading local market businesses in various countries and regions. 
 
"In the words of Dr. Paul Janssen, 'the patients are waiting,’” Duato said. "Medicines are the best  — and only — hope for treating and curing the most devastating diseases. At a time of extraordinary advances in medical discovery, I look forward to leading PhRMA and ensuring patients have access to the treatments of today and the cures of tomorrow."
 

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