grp shot

Team of PharmD Students Named Winners in AMCP Local Pharmacy & Therapeutics Competition, Guided by Dr. Nazia Rashid

A team of students in Keck Graduate Institute (KGI)’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program were recently named as winners for the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Local Pharmacy & Therapeutics (P&T) Competition. These students are Vivian Mao, Bailey Tang, Harrison Luu, Rizza Anabelle De Luna, and Skai Fu.  

Dr. Nazia Rashid, Associate Professor of Administrative Sciences for KGI’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, guided the team to success as faculty competition coordinator and co-AMCP advisor. 

The purpose of the competition is to provide an immersive experience in the skills necessary for effective formulary review and management. Participants are given a drug to evaluate and must create an oral PowerPoint presentation providing comprehensive clinical, humanistic, and pharmacoeconomic evidence supporting the drug’s inclusion in an insurance plan. 

Additionally, participants must submit a written monograph evaluating the competition study drug, with recommendations for formulary placement and any associated utilization management strategies. Entries were evaluated by a panel of judges from Kaiser and Veterans Affairs, along with various pharmacists working in the managed care field.  

For this year’s competition, participants evaluated Adbry, a drug recently approved for atopic dermatitis. 

“Because it’s such a new drug, it was difficult to find clinical trials and other materials beyond the dossier and the materials they provided us,” said Vivian Mao, PharmD ’24, student coordinator for the local competition. 

Mao worked with Rashid to set up a timeline. The team had from mid-November until January 9 to submit all the required materials to the judges, presenting on January 11. 

They did the majority of their work virtually, with Mao assigning roles and deadlines to different team members.  

“We wanted to utilize everyone’s strengths,” Mao said. “Bailey is really good with pharmacokinetics. Harrison is great with analytical skills. Skai helped us to fill in the gaps because she’s a year younger than the rest of us and could provide information we’d forgotten from P1 and P2. Rizza really helped us with the comprehensive overview of the disease. I worked on the pharmacoeconomics part. But we were all unified by a common goal: to win this competition!”

Beyond helping with pharmacokinetics research, Bailey Tang also proved to be a strong source of emotional support for the group. 

“While Vivian was working to coordinate everyone and keep everything on track, I helped her to stay sane,” Tang, PharmD ’24, said. “There was actually one point during the competition where all of us were unsure if we wanted to continue. But I said, ‘No, we can do it. We’re almost there. Let’s just finish it.'” 

In addition to the challenging aspects of the competition itself, the students were drained from completing a heavy course load that semester. 

“As we went into winter break, we needed to rejuvenate from that semester, but we also had to focus on the competition, as we had less than a month to finish everything,” Mao said. “The biggest challenge was getting everyone to finish on time and keeping everyone motivated.” 

Overall, though, the competition was a great learning experience for everyone. Both Mao and Tang had participated as P1 students, but competing this time around gave them an opportunity to utilize the skills they’d gained over the past two years. 

“We already knew how to perform research, but now we had a better idea of what to look for, like more clinical trials, meta-analyses, and other things we knew could support our conclusion,” Mao said.

“Our other team members were new to this competition, but I think this was a great opportunity for them to learn how a P&T works, how a monograph works, and about research in general.” 

They are grateful to Rashid for her support throughout the competition. 

“Dr. Rashid did a great job teaching us in her pharmacoeconomics class so that we weren’t totally lost,” Tang said. “She also helped us a lot with the actual competition, getting people to judge the local competition and giving us a lot of feedback. Even though she was in a different state for a conference, she still took the time to look at our monograph and PowerPoint and suggest changes.” 

Rashid has enjoyed collaborating with the students throughout the process. 

“I’m very proud of the students and so happy that KGI is making a splash in pharmacy and specifically in managed care,” Rashid said.