Insights and commentary from our University experts, thought leaders, and graduate students on pharmaceutical, science, healthcare, and educational topics.


What is Big Data and How Will it Revolutionize the Health Industry? - PART I

Big Data is one of those new terms that has been getting a lot of media coverage. If you’re like me, you have been confused by what it even means. The short answer is that Big Data is a new approach for organizing and analyzing the massive amounts of data being generated each day. Big Data allows for insights that were practically impossible under traditional approaches. We are at the doorstep of a revolution, yet we still haven’t maximized our potential with old techniques and approaches. Before we dive into the future of Big Data, it helps to first realize...

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Lowering Drug Costs and the 340b Drug Pricing Program

In order to protect patients from high drug costs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offers several plans qualifying patients can sign up for (more information available here). There are patients however, who are in need of federal assistance on drug costs but do not qualify for one of these plans. In order to reach some of these patients, the congress created a policy under section 340B of the Public Health Services Act. This policy is managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and is known today simply as the 340b drug pricing program. This program...

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Policies to Help Stabilize Rising Drug Costs

In the last blog I reviewed drug pricing terminology between the wholesaler and pharmacies. In this blog I will review how this process can lead to increasing drug costs. I will also two discuss public policies that have been implemented to try to stabilize that trend. As mentioned previously, pharmacies are reimbursed at a discounted Average Wholesale Price (AWP). Pharmacies can seek deals with wholesalers to buy drugs at the Wholesale Acquisition Cost, WAC, or Average Manufacturer Price, AMP. Pharmacies will then make a profit by selling at around AWP. In other words, a pharmacy’s profit can be represented as...

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Usciences Research Gains Traction in Men's Health

USciences’ motto is “proven everywhere.” One reason why the “proven everywhere” motto makes sense for USciences is because we teach students, and professors themselves use scientific research as the basis for teaching and scholarship. One such area is the Health Policy Program at Mayes College of Healthcare Business & Policy. Health policy is the investigation of problems in health (not just healthcare and its delivery) in its broadest sense using scientific methods of study to develop evidence-based recommendations for changes and innovations in policy. One challenge is that policymakers sometimes eschew data and evidence when making policy; rather, they are...

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“Why” Go to the APhA Conference? Students’ Experiences Answer the Question

Submitted by APhA-ASP Students “Live your Why” was the theme for the American Pharmacist’s Association, Academy of Student Pharmacists this past year. A record of 40 students from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences attended the annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland from March 4-7, 2016. The weekend kicked off with the opening ceremony, acknowledging the work done by student pharmacists across the nation, and a “superhero” social that included line dancing, great music, and students dressed up as their favorite superheroes. We all had a great time and even had two students win awards for their costumes!...

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Drug pricing - The Basics

Whether a pharmacist practices in retail, hospital or industry, buying and dispensing medication to patients will be important. Both processes are transactions which involves drug pricing. Drug pricing is therefore important, because without its consideration, patients may not be able to afford their medication and pharmacies may close. In order to stay profitable, pharmacy managers must pay special attention to several methods of drug pricing. Herein, I will walk through the three main methods of drug pricing – the AWP, WAC and AMP. First, the Average Wholesale Price (AWP), represents a benchmark price wholesalers charge to pharmacies. AWP is also...

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USciences Student from PCP to Serve on APhA-ASP Committee

By Princy John PharmD’17, a third-year professional pharmacy student I have always found the American Pharmacists Association to be an inspirational organization. At the chapter level, APhA-ASP provides multiple ways for student pharmacists to get involved. There are opportunities at health fairs, blood pressure, glucose monitoring training, policy campaigning to help promote the profession. For the past two years, I attended APhA's annual conference where I got the chance to meet student pharmacists from other institutions and alumni from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. Attending the annual conference has always been an exciting opportunity for students to recharge our batteries and...

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Stress Fracture Case Study Wins Honors at APTA Sports Section Ceremony

Michael Voight, editor, and Barb Hoogenboom, associate editor, of the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (far left) present the 2015 International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy Best Case Study award to former assistant professor Dr. Karin Grävare Silbernagel (second from left) and associate professor of physical therapy Dr. Lisa Hoglund (right) at the Sports Section Awards Ceremony of the 2016 Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association in Anaheim, Calif. on February 18, 2016. More and more diagnostic ultrasound imaging is being used by physical therapists to guide rehabilitation. Case in point: a 52-year-old female runner with...

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From Açaí Berries to Zucchini: New Dictionary Guide Takes the Mystery Out of Our Foods

The A-Z Guide to Food as Medicine Provides an Easy Reference for Healthcare Professionals What do people really know about the foods that they consume? The A–Z Guide to Food as Medicine aims to take the mystery out of some 250 different foods and phytochemicals in an easy to read, dictionary-style reference intended for use by healthcare professionals as they answer questions and advise their patients. Ara DerMarderosian, PhD, emeritus professor of pharmacognosy and medicinal chemistry at University of the Sciences, and Diane Woznicki Kraft, MS, RDN, LDN, a clinical nutritionist and a biology instructor at Alvernia University, collaborated to...

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Biomedical Writing Alumni Lead Upcoming Conferences

Alumni from the Biomedical Writing Program at University of the Sciences will are taking active roles in two upcoming March events. On Saturday, March 12, the biomedical writing program is sponsoring the keynote address at the American Medical Writers Association Delaware Valley Chapter’s 14th Annual Freelance Workshop. The keynote address will be presented by Debra Gordon MS’09, who is an alumna of the biomedical writing program. Her topic will cover “Reaching Six Figures in Freelancing: 10 Steps to Freelance Success.” Jennifer Minarcik MS’14 is a conference co-chair. Alumni will also take part in the DIA Medical Affairs and Scientific Communications...

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