Written By: Julia Mahler and Cory Duke, Second-Year Student Pharmacists

This year marks the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Foundation’s 18th annual Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Competition. Hundreds of student pharmacists across the country look forward to participating in this event each year, as it offers a great opportunity for us to hone the skills necessary to pursue careers in managed care pharmacy as well as the pharmaceutical industry.

Testing Our Skills at the Local Level

Before students can compete at the national level, their team must win a local P&T competition. Students who want to participate compete in groups of four to evaluate clinical and economic data for a medication recently released on the market. Students use the data to create and present an evaluation of the drug’s formulary status for a mock P&T Committee Case. This year’s medication was Xultophy (insulin degludec and liraglutide), a combination insulin product produced and manufactured by Novo Nordisk for individuals who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Local competitions were hosted at 47 pharmacy schools across the country. The winning submission from each local competition is submitted to the national competition.

Making Decisions as a Team

In addition to us, our team included second-year student pharmacist Amita Jain and first-year student pharmacist Caroline Titus. At the start of the competition, we focused on individually evaluating the clinical and economic data. We then came together to form a thoroughly supported consensus based on the information that was available to us, as the documents for our final submission, which included a 20-page monograph, needed to support one unified formulary decision. We also created a formal presentation that outlined our formulary decision, with supporting clinical and economic data offered throughout the presentation.

What many people who have never participated in the competition might not know is that the project also included a number of technical components, such as:

  • Building economic models
  • Using a complex method known as the Delfini Validity and Usability Grading Scale for Summarizing the Evidence for Interventions to grade the available evidence
  • Performing literature reviews

Along with fine tuning these skills, our goal as a group was to strengthen our ability to make a comprehensive, well-supported value proposition through teamwork, while leveraging the individual strengths of our team members.

Throughout the competition, there were many valuable resources made available to us. Each team had access to the AMCP eDossier System, which contained pertinent information, including post-marketing studies and budget impact model templates. Additionally, our team was able to utilize the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Tool to evaluate the collected research through a series of consistent analyses. We also applied concepts from our current Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum, including those learned in courses such as Medical Evidence. Furthermore, our group members had some initial formulary management knowledge gained from their time as pharmacy interns at both community and hospital pharmacies. However, even without formal training in formulary management, we were able to harness our passion for improving patient health outcomes in order to create the best possible formulary decision.

In the end, we put together a formulary decision that was specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of the mock health plan and the populations of patients that they served.

Looking Ahead to the National Competition

The local P&T Competition hosted by the AMCP student chapter at the School of Pharmacy featured 34 teams, so we were ecstatic to hear our team announced as the winner for the event, and even more thrilled when — out of the 46 schools of pharmacy that entered the national competition — our entry was recognized as one of the top 16 semifinalists.

We are deeply honored to represent our AMCP student chapter and School at the national competition, which will be held April 23-26 in Boston. We are also looking forward to serving as resources for other students who might be interested in competing and enhancing their knowledge of formulary management in future years. We thank our fellow second-year student pharmacists Tieu-Long Ton-Nu and Zoe Nguyen, who served as our local P&T Competition coordinators; Fadia Shaya, MPH, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and advisor for our AMCP student chapter; and the AMCP Foundation for facilitating this competition.

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