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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact:Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

URI College of Pharmacy helps state prison system
realize healthy savings in pharmacy operation

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 15, 2003 -- In just six months, the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy has helped the state Department of Corrections save $187,000.

Scott Allen, the medical program director of the Department of Corrections, expects even greater savings, as the work under a three-year, $454,000 contract with URI’s Health Care Utilization Management Center is fully under way.

The University’s College of Pharmacy provides staff and students to manage the medications for a prison system with a $2.9 million pharmacy budget. The system’s five facilities house 17,000 inmates in the course of a year. URI also manages the prison system’s medication contract with Contract Pharmacy Services of Hatboro, Pa.

"It already has turned into a win-win situation for us," Allen said. "If some of these steps were simple we would have taken them on our own, but the College of Pharmacy’s contacts, and understanding of the industry and regulations have helped us make much more rapid progress."
The contract includes clinical rotations for pharmacy students.

"We’ve always had student rotations at the prison, medical students and residents, nursing students, and now we will benefit from pharmacy students," Allen said.

"We will be studying our impact over time to see if we improve health and reduce the number of hospital visits," said E. Paul Larrat, URI professor of pharmacoepidemiology who developed the proposal that led to the contract. "We expect there will be less waste, less need to destroy expired medicines and lower emergency prescription costs."

Jason Beaubien, a URI clinical assistant professor of pharmacy, is based at the corrections department to serve as a liaison between corrections staff and the private prescription company.

Each semester as part of his duties, Beaubien will supervise, during rotations, three undergraduates pursuing their doctor of pharmacy degrees. The students will rewrite drug protocols and conduct studies on how to improve health and cost effectiveness. The students will be asked to develop educational presentations and brochures on diseases, prevention and other topics for the staff and inmates.

Beaubien said that is important to run the pharmacy program efficiently because a majority of the inmates are on medication, including drugs for mental health, hepatitis C and HIV. "The populations on the hepatitis and AIDS drugs are relatively small, but those medications are very expensive," he said.

"Dr. Allen and I consult with him on almost a daily basis," said Joseph Marocco, associate director of health care services at the corrections department, noting that URI’s program has helped his department eliminate medication waste by developing a process that allows the state prison system to return medicine for credit.

For Further Information: Paul Larrat 501-874-5011

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Page last revised Monday, September 22, 2003 .