Pharmacy Students Shine in National Competition

IPhO winners standing outside for a group picture
April 20, 2020

Demonstrating their advanced pharmaceutical industry knowledge, as well as their collaborative skills, a team of 26 St. John’s students recently took home top honors in the national Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO)’s Value of Industry Pharmacists (VIP) Case Competition

Now in its fifth year, the annual VIP Case Competition is a signature IPhO program that provides participating chapters with an opportunity to develop a cohesive plan to bring a theoretical new molecular entity from “bench to bedside.” 

In winning the competition, students from St. John’s chapter of IPhO developed a hypothetical drug while delving into multiple industry disciplines, such as clinical development, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, and commercial functions.

“Everyone involved on our team worked very hard on this competition,” said Somnath Pal, Ph.D., Professor, Pharmacy Administration and Public Health. Dr. Pal serves as Faculty Advisor for the St. John’s student chapter of IPhO. “Our students have demonstrated that they are exceptionally talented and can excel in intellectual competition.” 

This year, 59 IPhO student chapters registered to participate in the competition. On April 23, IPhO hosts a series of one-hour seminars focusing on VIP Case Competition best practices from the 2019–20 award-winning chapters, including St. John’s. 

“Year after year, I have the pleasure to see our chapter’s executive body bring its own vision by adding new dimensions to leadership,” added Dr. Pal. “I applaud such vigor and thoughtfulness.”

“I am beyond proud of my IPhO team and this incredible accomplishment,” said Vienica Funtanilla, a fifth-year Pharmacy student from Sacramento, CA. Vienica is President of St. John’s IPhO chapter. “I have had the privilege of watching our organization grow for the past four years, and it makes me really happy to bring this win back home to St. John’s.”