Pharmacy expands walls, goals

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences hosted its 27th Annual Clinical Pharmacy Symposium and celebrated the grand opening of the new pharmacy building.

On Friday, officials from the school opened the weekend with health care and drug therapy for elders. The first day’s events closed with the opening of the building, a tour and a reception.

“The facility is 67,000 square feet,” said COPPS Dean Henry Lewis. He said that the College of Pharmacy is already planning to add a wing to the new building, which will be another 60,000 feet.

The building includes a locker room for students, a 100-station computer lab, a simulated prescription lab and a “sterile environment for IVs.”

“We have a state-of-the-art facility,” Lewis said. “We are one of 37 colleges with Internet 2 (a co-op co exclusively by 200 universities for advancing technology) nationwide access. What is at Harvard and MIT is at FAMU.”

On Saturday, the symposium continued with a town hall forum about the new Medicaid bill affecting elders and the poor.

“(When) making drugs affordable to Medicare beneficiaries, competition is a great factor,” said Robert Kane, the Minnesota chair in long-term care and aging at the University of Minnesota.

Kane explained the breakdown of deductibles and coinsurance for the new plan. Those in attendance reached a consensus that the Medicaid bill is not perfect and that a lobbyist for the pharmacists is needed.

Problems, such as the Medicaid bill, are the reason the school hosts the symposium each year.

“It is the equivalent to homecoming,” Lewis said. “In fact, it is an academic homecoming. We have alumni come back; they see problems like the bill and find potential solutions.”

Apart from the various speakers, the symposium attracted different vendors such as COR International, Inc.

COR is a pharmaceutical company founded by Orazo Whited.

“We are partnered with FAMU,” Whited said. “We want to commercialize FAMU’s pharmacy program.”

Whited said that COR is timely because Tallahassee Mayor John Marks III wanted to begin to make the city a competitive pharmaceutical entity.

“The mayor has vowed his support,” Whited said. “We have also had overwhelming support from the chamber of commerce.”

The symposium ended Sunday with seminars on painkillers for cancer patients and medications for HIV and AIDS patients.

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