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Student pharmacists among top in country selected to compete in national contest

While spring break brings rest and a change of pace for many in the Lipscomb community, four third-year student pharmacists will be making final preparations to put their knowledge and skills to the test on the national stage.

Kim Chaudoin  | 

NEws - Pharmacy competition

Third-year student pharmacists, left to right, TJ Canitia, Austin Webb, Nathan Fields and Drew Nadler will put their knowledge to the test as they compete in the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s National Student P&T Competition next week.

TJ Canitia, Nathan Fields, Drew Nadler and Austin Webb comprise Lipscomb’s College of Pharmacy team that submitted an entry to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s National Student P&T Competition. They were chosen as one of eight finalist teams — out of 48 teams in the semi-final round of the contest — that will compete at the national competition in San Diego March 26-28. 

“The faculty and staff at Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy are proud of the hard work that our student pharmacist team put in for this competition,” said Tom Campbell, interim dean of Lipscomb’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. “Being selected as a National Finalist Team is quite an accomplishment. Most importantly it is rewarding seeing our student pharmacists being recognized for knowledge and skills that will ultimately improve the lives of the patients we serve.”  

In addition to Lipscomb, other universities with national finalist teams include Rutgers University, the University of California at San Francisco, the University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota, the University of Southern California, the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The P&T Competition is designed to provide an immersive experience in the skills necessary for effective formulary review and management. Members of P&T Competition teams work together on assignments that include a written evaluation of the competition drug, including recommendations for formulary placement and an oral summary presentation supported by PowerPoint slides. 

The study drug for the 2019 P&T Competition is TYMLOS® (abaloparatide) injection. Tymlos is indicated for the treatment of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture defined as a history of osteoporotic fracture, multiple risk factors for fracture, or patients who have failed or are intolerant to other available osteoporosis therapy. 

“One of the key roles for pharmacists in managed care settings is related to developing drug formularies based on clinical and economic evidence for new and existing products. These decisions are commonly made by Pharmacyt and Therapeutics (P&T) Committees,” said Jeff Lee, associate dean for academic affairs in Lipscomb’s College of Pharmacy.

Lipscomb student pharmacists who enroll in the elective course Formulary Decision-Making and Assessment taught by Lee learn about managed care pharmacy, utilization management tools and evidence assessment applied to formulary decisions. Lee brings in guest lecturers who are local and national practice experts who provide “practical pearls” on how these activities work in practice and offer students an opportunity to network with industry leaders.

“As the health care marketplace continues to evolve, it is critical for our student pharmacists to develop a contemporary skill set that includes developing skills in evaluating clinical and economic evidence to inform drug coverage decisions,” said Lee, who worked in the pharmaceutical industry prior to joining the Lipscomb faculty. “This competition is a great opportunity for our students to practice these skills, and receiving this national recognition serves to reinforce that our students are developing and excelling in this emerging area of pharmacy practice.”

In the final round of competition, teams will make live presentations at the AMCP Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy Annual Meeting. The first, second, and third place teams are announced during a special event at the meeting. Each national finalist team receives a cash award and the first, second and third place teams receive an additional contribution to their pharmacy scholarship fund.

"Being part of this amazing team that has been selected to present at the National P&T Competition is one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my academic career," said third-year student pharmacist Drew Nadler.

This is the sixth year that a Lipscomb team has participated in the competition. Lipscomb had a team place in the top 8 nationally one other time — in 2015. Kam Nola, professor of pharmacy practice, is the faculty advisor for Lipscomb’s AMCP student chapter. Lee, who has been involved in the national competition for more than 15 years having served for several years as a national competition judge prior to coming to Lipscomb, is competition coordinator of Lipscomb’s chapter. 

Founded in 2007, the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and offers a four-year program leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Its graduates place in the top 10 percent of all colleges of pharmacy with their most recent NAPLEX scores at an average of 95.08 percent pass rate. In addition, Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy graduates have a 100 percent job placement rate. For more information, visit

Learn more about Lipscomb University’s College of Pharmacy

Learn more about the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.