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Alumni Patrick Smith, PharmD 2016, is centered in the photo with large text spelling out Alumni Spotlight

CU Pharmacist's Patent-Pending Invention Helps Animals

Class of 2016 alumnus makes impact in veterinary medicine

minute read

Written by Jaron Bryant on June 4, 2024

Dr. Patrick Smith's career journey has included a transition from retail pharmacy to the largest compounding pharmacy for food-producing animals; and his innovative development of a solubilization method for an insoluble NSAID. He looks back on his journey from student to seasoned professional, marked by a growing confidence, a commitment to innovation, and a dedication to showcasing the value of pharmacy. 

Q&A Header

What are you currently doing as a pharmacy professional and how did you progress to where you are today?

Patrick Smith, PharmD, smiles in a professional headshot.

Patrick Smith, PharmD '16

I am currently the Pharmacist-In-Charge at Veterinary Pharmaceutical Solutions. We are the nation’s largest compounding pharmacy for food producing animals (primarily swine). I serve on the company leadership team reporting directly to the CEO and Board of Directors for the company. 

I joined the company as a staff pharmacist in 2020 after having worked in retail pharmacy out of school in my hometown. I was approached by my Mentor/Owner of the company who I had known since I was 12 years old. Fun fact: he was the first person I ever told I was going to be a pharmacist. He asked that I come join their team as they were looking for a new member to join the team. 

Following the owner’s retirement in 2022, I took over in my current position that I hold today. 

What is different about the person you are today compared to the person you were while in school?

I am a more confident person in my interactions with other professionals and knowing that I have a unique knowledge base to bring to this profession.

In my current role I have learned how to interact at the highest level of the company (Board level) as well as how to work in the trenches with my technicians and customers.

What has been a defining moment for you as a seasoned professional?

Arguably, my greatest moment has come from being blessed by God with the patent-pending invention I achieved my first year at my current job. I developed a novel solubilization of a fully insoluble NSAID that allows it to be delivered via the water to whole herds of animals. I have witnessed the invention go from a small 50ml beaker in the lab to one that has treated hundreds of thousands of animals.

It not only showed me the power proper compounding can bring, but also was the springboard for the multiple patent-pending applications that have followed in the intervening years at the company. It is something I never knew I had the capability to do until I was granted the opportunity to take a chance in a new field of expertise.

What inspired you to attend the CU Pharmacy program and what was your experience while in the program?

When I interviewed in 2012, I remember feeling immediately at home at the pharmacy campus. I wanted to be at a place that felt like it was at the forefront of the way pharmacy education was changing. I left my interview that day knowing there was no other place for me to undergo my training as a future pharmacist.

My experience in the program showed my initial feelings in 2012 were well placed. I felt completely prepared for hospital, retail, or any other area of pharmacy I could end up in following graduation.

What is your proudest moment and your favorite thing about working in the pharmacy profession, and how are you making a difference in your career?

For me the proudest moment has been constantly showing in various industries and situations the value a pharmacist can bring. In my time at VPS, I have had many swine veterinarians speak to how they never knew the value compounding and pharmacy could bring to their professional practice.

I feel I am carrying a torch of the lost knowledge or art of compounding. An art that has been practiced by pharmacists in some shape or form for thousands of years.

I have found numerous instances where we have been able to fill a niche area of the animal health market by bringing solutions to veterinarians for product offerings larger companies have no desire to bring forward.

The focus at many animal health companies has been on the companion animal field, so being able to give priority and help to Swine veterinarians has been great.

What sage advice would you pass on to current and future students that was helpful for you in preparing for the job market?

I took every rotation and internship opportunity as a potential job audition for when I graduated. Not because I was looking for a job, but because I wanted to take as much advantage of the knowledge gaining opportunities as possible. For example, my infectious disease rotation at the hospital in P4 year as my last rotation has provided me invaluable knowledge that I have applied in making some of the breakthroughs at my current job.

My main point is make sure to challenge yourself in these opportunities as you will likely not get to experience many of them again.

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