P & T Competition

Hello prospective students, future pharmacy leaders and readers!

Today, I had an amazing experience of participating in the P & T competition. P & T competition, or Pharmacy & Therapeutic Competition, is a competition that decides whether or not a novel drug should be included in the formulary. It is held by the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy annually. In this competition, the winners are awarded $2,500, an opportunity to present their case at the AMCP Annual Meeting & Showcase, and $4,000 stipend to cover for the expenses of travel. The case was released just before the winter break, so luckily, our team had most of the winter break to prepare for the monograph, a 25 minute presentation, and a paper explaining the criteria we considered to arrive at our conclusion. This year’s topic was Yervoy (ipilimumab), a melanoma cancer drug by BMS. To introduce a little bit about Yervoy, Yervoy targets to treat melanoma by binding to a receptor called CTLA-4 on antigen presenting cells, and inducing the upregulation of T-cell activity on tumor cells. Increased immune response, however, also means that there is an increased risk of the adverse reactions. It can include side effects such as colitis, rash, diarrhea, and neuropathy. One of the paper we examined showed that the overall survival of ipilimumab treated patients was the highest when compared with patients who had been treated with ipilimumab and gp 100 (unapproved melanoma vaccine). In the end, we concluded that while ipilimumab shows improvement in the health benefits, we are required to examine further on its efficacy considering possible side effects and compare it to current first line therapies such as PD1 inhibitor and interferons. Therefore, we recommended the ipilimumab to be a second line treatment, meaning it should be used in the patients who had tried other medications (first line agents) but failed to benefit from them.

First, I learned from this competition that a key to success in presenting the case comes from organization and preparedness. From research articles to practicing our presentation, we examined every detail and the possibility of economical, business-related, and clinical benefits and drawbacks.

Second, as with all the pharmacy materials, the information presented to us is phenomenally abundant, and daunting in its length and difficulty. What separates a good paper or presentation from a bad one is how one maneuvers this information to fit their position, and to incorporate one’s thoughts in a narrative, flowing manner that appeals to the judges.

Lastly, we went out to Sala Thai restaurant in Duluth when we were finished with the competition.

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(Picture by Min Sohn)

Pad Thai and vegetable dish were amazing! The owner picks up fresh, local ingredients each week, and does not cook unless they are perfectly in condition (she makes Mango and Rice desert only when the mango she picked up is sweet). She was also very knowledgeable and provided suggestions that left our tastes buds in heaven. What a perfect conclusion to our day.

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