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The UHCOP IPhO Chapter's Value in Pharmacy Case Competition team leaders included, from left, Michelle Phan, Yinhsun (Kitty) Huang, Michelle Nguyen and Yashvi Patel.

Value in Pharmacy Case Competition

UHCOP Team Secures Bronze in Industry Pharmacists Organization Competition for Drug Development Plan

April 12 — In its second third-place finish in three years, a team representing the UH College of Pharmacy chapter of the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO) took home the bronze medal for its innovative development in the Value of Industry Pharmacists (VIP) Case Competition.

The six-month long project required participants to create a drug development plan to bring a theoretical new bladder cancer medicine to the market. From looking at real-world data and medications, the competitors are tasked with creating a plan that could be executable in daily life.

The UHCOP team consisted of 40 Pharm.D. students who were split amongst four functional areas: Clinical Development, led by Kitty Huang; Regulatory, led by Michelle Phan and Jennifer Hoang; Medical Affairs, led by Yashvi Patel and Ramiro Jose Rangel; and Marketing, led by Michelle Nguyen and Daniel Listiyo.

The Clinical Development team used aspects of current on-market drugs when creating its product, along with making sure patients were included and heard throughout each step of the process through the clinical trials.

"I think the main talent is communication, how to communicate well with each of the team leaders, and also the team leaders have to communicate their thoughts to the team members," Huang said.

The Regulatory group discussed how to best implement the drug development plan and the most efficient way to present the finalized information to the judges.

"It is a very challenging process, but I think the whole aspect of this project is to help other pharmacy students learn about what industry pharmacy is, what industry pharmacists can do and what aspect of pharmacy can go into each plan," Phan said.

When looking at the various on-market drugs, Medical Affairs used real-world data to help determine how to best mimic them. Aside from relying on current IPhO members for help, the team also turned to UHCOP faculty members, other professionals working in the pharmaceutical industry, and former IPhO members.

"Through my past experience with the VIP case competition as well as recent internship opportunities, I have built a network to which I was able to reach out to and seek guidance from," Patel said.

To better advertise their product, the Marketing team suggested collaborating with artists or celebrities with the disease and creating an app to remind patients to take their medication.

"For this drug specifically compared to other ones, they really wanted to focus on the impact of patients and improving their quality of life instead of just having a drug that has all the side effects," Nguyen said.

This win is just one of many for the chapter, which was recognized among the top five in the nation after its first year of operation in 2018, followed by a second-place national ranking the next year.

— Logan Linder