Drug Information and Statistics
PHAR 455
Spring 2015

Course Description

This 4 credit-hour course is designed to provide pharmacy students with an overview of drug information resources and clinical trial design and statistics used in healthcare research. Students will learn the advantages and disadvantages of primary, secondary, and tertiary literature and will also gain experience extracting information from these types of literature. Students will learn how to evaluate the biomedical literature using a systematic approach and will assess the statistical analyses reported to determine whether the interpretation and conclusions are valid. Students will also be expected to select appropriate statistical procedures to analyze data and perform calculations. The focus of the statistics portion will be on the clinical application of the statistical tests to the primary literature. The recitation sections of this class are designed to provide the students with hands-on practice of the concepts taught during the lecture.

Course Objectives

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the tertiary, secondary, and primary literature.
  • Conduct a systematic search of the tertiary, secondary, and primary literature in order to answer a drug information request.
  • Differentiate when to apply various statistical tests and be able to perform the appropriate calculations.
  • Critically evaluate all aspects of a clinical trial in verbal and written format.

UIC-COP Outcome Competencies:

I. Integrate critical and scientific thinking

B. Use mathematics and logic to solve problems.

  1. Make basic calculations applicable to contemporary pharmacy practice.
  2. Create and interpret scientific graphs and plots that arise in the practice of pharmacy.
  3. Apply basic statistical tools to the analysis of data sets.
    1. Recognize and apply the basic statistical concepts of normal and other distributions, sampling and sample size, and distribution moments.
    2. Recognize and apply statistical concepts particularly useful for pharmacists such as absolute and relative risk, number to treat, confidence intervals.

IV. Manage Medication Use Systems

C. Describe the processes involved in formulary management.

  1. Explain the process of considering a drug’s status in a formulary.
  2. Manage the formulary system at specific practice sites.

D. Apply elements of continuous quality improvement in the delivery of pharmaceutical care.

  1. Identify the elements of comprehensive quality assurance program(s).
  2. Define and document quality assurance activities consistent with regulatory requirements and professional standards.
  3. Define and evaluate measures of humanistic outcomes (e.g., health-related Quality of Life (QOL), patient satisfaction) in pharmaceutical care services.

V. Promote Health, Wellness and Disease Prevention

C. Provide appropriate emergency care when indicated.

  1. Provide appropriate poison resources and referrals to consumers or health care professionals.

VI. Provide Drug Information and Education

A. Evaluate drug information literature and other pharmacy related literature.

  1. Define and apply basic concepts of biostatistics including types of data, data distribution, descriptive and inferential statistics, and measures of variability.
  2. Evaluate research designs within research studies.
  3. Apply the evaluation skills and the result to decision-making.
  4. Incorporate literature evaluation and results into an oral or written format in language appropriate for the target audience.

B. Provide drug and health-related information to meet the specific needs of healthcare professionals and the general public.

  1. Use effective communication skills to determine the nature and specific aspects of the drug information request.
  2. Retrieve appropriate information to satisfy a drug information request.
  3. Provide a timely, comprehensive response to requests using appropriate and content-specific vocabulary and format.

C. Design, develop, present and evaluate informational and educational materials tailored to the needs and educational level of a given audience.

  1. Assess the educational needs and background of the intended audience related to drugs, drug use, or health promotion.
  2. Design and deliver educational programs about drugs, drug use, drug abuse and/or other health-related topics.
  3. Use appropriate teaching methods to reach intended audience.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of healthcare programs.

D. Maintain professional proficiency that may affect the ongoing evaluation and analysis of drug literature.


The lecture will meet from 8:30 to 9:20 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Lecture will be held in rooms 134-1 (Monday and Wednesday) and 134-3 (Friday) at the Chicago campus and in room E218 at the Rockford campus. The required recitation sections will meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:30 to 4:20 pm in Chicago (see recitation room calendar for specific room assignments at the Chicago campus) and on Monday in room E218 at the Rockford campus. There are weeks when recitation will meet in other locations for both campuses; these exceptions will be announced and posted on Blackboard.


Michelle Bryson, PharmD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 413-8364
Heather Ipema, PharmD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 355-0651
Ryan Rodriguez, PharmD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone: 312-413-8363
Carissa Mancuso, PharmD
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 996-3769
Michael Gabay, PharmD, JD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 413-3977
Joan Stachnik, MEd, PharmD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 413-7699
Rita Soni, PharmD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 996-7045
Mary Lynn Moody, BSPharm
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 996-2351
Courtney Krueger, PharmD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 413-7341
Lara Ellinger, PharmD, BCPS
Office: B12
Phone:  (312) 413-3804
Samantha Spencer, PharmD
Drug Information Resident
Phone: (312) 355-4049
Office: B12
Carol Poskay, PharmD
Drug Information Resident
Office: B12
Phone: (312) 413-8432
Nicole Mueller, PharmD
Drug Information Resident
Phone: (312) 355-3296
Office: B12

Guest Lecturers

Jamie L. Paek, PharmD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Coordinator, Medication Use Policy
Carol DesLauriers, PharmD, DABAT
Operations Director
Illinois Poison Center
Gregory S. Calip, PharmD, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes, and Policy
Margaret Byun, PharmD
Office: 345 CSB

Rockford Class Coordinator

Brad Bartels

Teaching Assistants

Yu-Ting Hung
Dolly Sharma

TA office hours will be available by appointment.

Office Hours

Coordinator office hours are 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When necessary, appointments may be made outside of these times; to request a meeting, contact a coordinator or faculty member via email (addresses provided above). For information specific to a lecture, it is best to contact the specific faculty member who provided the lecture for which you need further clarification.



Dawson B, Trapp RG. Basic & Clinical Biostatistics. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2004. The primary focus is on statistics including mathematical calculations and clinical applications. This reference is available on-line, via the UIC Library of the Health Sciences’ AccessPharmacy database (

Malone PM, Kier KL, Stanovich JE. Drug information: A Guide for Pharmacists. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012. The book provides an overview of drug information including clinical trial design and statistics. This reference is available on-line, via the UIC Library of the Health Sciences(

Iverson C, Christiansen S, Flanagin A, et al. AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 10th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007. A guide to rules of style for medical writing. This reference is available on-line via the UIC Library of the Health Sciences (


Exams 1 and 2 are 50 minutes in length and are administered during normal class time. The final exam is 2 hours in length. See dates and times in the calendar below. Seats may be assigned to all students in a random fashion for examination purposes. Students must complete and turn in scantron sheets within the allotted exam time. No additional time can be given after the exam has ended for a student to complete the scantron sheet. Faculty will not complete scantron sheets for students. Students cannot request to change the date of an exam.

Recitations & Assignments
Recitation assignments are due at the end of the recitation session unless otherwise noted. There are assignments that will be done and submitted outside of recitation. The due dates for these assignments are given in the calendar at the end of this syllabus.

For all assignments, students are responsible for turning in their own assignments on the due date.See the section “Late assignments” for information on penalties for late assignments.

Assignment Date assigned/distributed Date due Comments
Summary of a drug and disease state/referencing In recitation during week 1 Due week 3 on the day of recitation at the beginning (1:30 pm)
Summary and critique of an article In recitation during week 8 Due week 9 on the day of recitation at the beginning (1:30 pm)
Journal club lecture assignment In class Wednesday March 19 th Friday April 4th at the beginning of lecture This assignment is due BEFORE the lecture begins. Once lecture begins, no assignments will be accepted (a grade of zero will be given)
Presenting your journal club assignment Distributed 2 weeks prior to the scheduled presentation date To be presented in recitation during weeks 15 or 16 as scheduled A schedule will be posted on Blackboard assigning the dates/groups for journal club presentation
Clinical question paper In class Friday February 21 Thursday April 10 th by 4:00 pm Any consult received after 4:00 pm will be considered late (see penalties below). The Drug Information Center is open on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm and this day will count toward the late penalty. Clinical question papers will be returned to students approximately 3 weeks after the due date and before the beginning of finals week.

Recitation Rooms Calendar for Chicago Campus
Week Monday Wednesday Friday
1 134-1 134-1 134-1
2 No recitation
3 134-1 134-1 134-1
4 134-1 134-1 134-1
5 134-1 134-1 134-1
6 134-1 134-1 134-1
7 134-1 134-1 32
8 134-1 204/208 134-1
9 134-1 204/208 204/208
10 134-1 204/208 204/208
11 Spring Break
12 134-1 204/208 204/208
13 134-1 204/208 204/208
14 134-1 204/208 204/208
15 Room TBD Room TBD Room TBD
16 Room TBD Room TBD Room TBD

Weekly Facebook Status Contest for UIC Drug Information Group

The UIC Drug Information Group Facebook page ( provides information on pharmacy-related topics to those who “like” us. A weekly contest will be held for students to identify pharmacy news items that they think should be posted to the site, along with a written “status update” that introduces the article. Any student who wishes to participate in the contest should fill out the form on Blackboard. We will choose a winner each week and post their chosen news item and status update to our page. The winner will receive 1 point to be applied to their total points at the end of the semester. Students may participate as often as they wish, but cannot receive more than 1 point total. If the winner desires, they can be acknowledged by name on our page or the information can be posted anonymously.

Grading Policy

Grades are determined based on scores obtained from the recitation (lab) assignments, other written assignments, the written consult, and the 3 examinations. Final grades are based on points achieved in the course. Grades will be posted on the course website via Blackboard. Students should frequently check Blackboard for their grades and other course announcements. A traditional 10% scale will be applied for grading purposes as follows:

≥90%     = A
80 – 89  = B 
70 – 79  = C 
60 – 69  = D 
<60       = Not a passing grade

There is no curve or rounding up of final grades in PHAR 455.

Students who disagree with a grade assigned on any assignment may submit the assignment in question to the course coordinator for reevaluation within 5 days of the date of return of the graded assignment. The entire assignment will be re-graded, and the resulting score (higher or lower) will be final. Students will not be allowed to have assignments reevaluated at the end of the semester in order to improve a final grade.

Plagiarized assignments (including the clinical question paper assignment) will be given a grade of zero. This includes any assignment where information is “copied and pasted” from electronic resources. Faculty are available to help you in understanding the concept of plagiarism and are more than happy to answer any questions you have related to this topic. A lecture on writing skills/plagiarism will be presented in PHAR 455 to further your understanding of the topic. Please consult the lecture schedule for the date of this lecture.

Although some assignments are done in groups (such as the recitation assignments), each student is responsible for completing and turning in their own assignment, unless otherwise noted.

Writing Skills
The ability to convey information in a written format is an important and valuable skill. The Writing Center, located on the east side of the Chicago campus in 105 Grant Hall, offers free tutors to aid students in developing their writing skills. The phone number for the Writing Center is (312) 413-2206. More information can be obtained by visiting the Writing Center website (

Points Available

Lab (recitation) assignments 100 points* (11 labs/recitation; 10 points each - lowest is dropped)
Writing Assignment 1 40 points
Lecture assignment 10 points
Required attendances 10 points **
Presenting your journal club 20 points
Final Writing Assignment 100 points
Exams #1 and #2 200 points (100 points each)
Final exam 200 points
Total points available 680 points

*There are 11 scheduled recitations, each with an assignment worth 10 points. The lowest graded assignment will be dropped, to make the total possible points 100.
**Required attendances will be announced throughout the semester and attendance will be taken.
Instructions for writing assignments and journal club presentations will be provided individually throughout the semester.

Late Assignments

All recitation assignments must be turned in by hand the day they are due, usually at the end of recitation.

All writing assignments must be submitted as specified in each assignment’s instructions. DO NOT email or fax your assignments to the faculty unless prearrangements have been made with the course coordinators.

Failure to turn in any assignment by the end of recitation or by the date and time assigned (see calendar) will result in loss of points. For each calendar day an assignment is late, 10% of the total earned points will be deducted, as listed below.

Following day: 10% off
2 days late: 20% off
3 days late: 30% off
4 days late: 40% off
5 days late: 50% off
6 to 9 days late: 60% - 90% off

We are aware that some factors are beyond our capability to control and that such factors could make the completion of an assignment by the due date impossible. If such a situation is applicable to you, please contact the course coordinator before the assignment due date and your situation will be considered.

Missed Examination/Recitation

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the course coordinators via email only, no later than the day of, but prior to the start time, of the recitation or exam that the student intends to miss. It is in the best interest of the student to notify the course coordinators as soon as possible. Any absence for which a student has failed to comply with this stated policy will be considered an unexcused absence, and the student will receive a zero for that recitation or exam without the possibility of make-up. Students who comply with this policy may be granted an excused absence, with the possibility of a make-up assignment. The format and time of offering of any make-up exam or assignment will be at the discretion of the instructor and course coordinator.


Attendance in lecture is highly encouraged and expected. Not all lectures have PowerPoint slides to be posted on blackboard; however, those that do have slides will be posted on blackboard.

Attendance in recitation is required. Students arriving more than 15 minutes late to a recitation section, leaving before the recitation section ends, or attending a different recitation without prior approval will be treated as an unexcused absence. The student will receive a zero for that recitation, without the possibility of a make-up. It is not acceptable to obtain a copy of the recitation from students who have completed it earlier in the week and attempt to turn in a completed copy at the beginning of the recitation. This will be counted as an unexcused absence and given a grade of zero. Please do not schedule appointments during the required recitation sections; assume all recitations go until 4:20 pm.

Students must attend the recitation section to which they have been assigned. For excused absences only, arrangements will be made with the course co-coordinator prior to recitation, for the student to make up the recitation session.

Lecture Handouts

While PHAR 455 is not a totally green course, lecture handouts will NOT be printed and made available prior to lecture. Students who wish to hand-write notes or have hard copies of slides should print out their slides prior to class. Every effort will be made to make lecture slides available on Blackboard at least 1 week prior to the corresponding lecture.

Pledge of Professionalism

The Pledge of Professionalism was designed to remind students what they should expect of each other in terms of attitudes, ethical behavior, and academic honesty. The coordinator expects that all students enrolled in PHAR 455 will use the Pledge as a guide to behavior within this course and all others. Furthermore, the course coordinator reserves the right to fail any student enrolled in PHAR 455 that demonstrates unprofessional behavior at any time. Professional behavior includes, but is not limited to, timely attendance, sustained presence, active participation, and the maintenance of an appropriate learning environment in the classroom, during recitation exercises, and all other course-related experiences.

Cell Phones

The use of cell phones (including texting) during class and recitation is not only distracting to the instructor, but also to your fellow students. Please silence all cell phones prior to the beginning of class.

Off-campus Meetings

Students who plan to attend off-campus meetings should contact the course coordinator through an organization representative at least 4 weeks prior to the meeting. A list of the students’ names attending the meeting should be given to the course coordinator. The course coordinator will work with the organization representative to resolve how missed assignments, recitations, or exams will be handled. If this procedure is not followed there is no guarantee that a satisfactory solution will be available.

Religious Observance Statement

The faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago/Rockford shall make every effort to avoid scheduling examinations or requiring that student projects be turned in or completed on religious holidays. Students who wish to observe their religious holidays shall notify the faculty member by the 10th day of the semester of the date when they will be absent unless the religious holiday is observed on or before the 10th day of the semester. In such cases, the student shall notify the faculty member at least 5 days in advance of the date when he/she will be absent. The faculty member shall make every reasonable effort to honor the request, not penalize the student for missing the class, and if an examination or project is due during the absence, give the student an exam or assignment equivalent to the one completed by those students in attendance. If the student feels aggrieved, he/she may request remedy through the campus grievance procedures.

Special Needs

To obtain academic accommodations for this course, students with disabilities should contact the Office of Disability Services and the course coordinator as soon as possible after the beginning of the semester. The student will need to contact Disability Services at (312) 413-2183 (voice) or (312) 413-0123 (TTY). For more information, visit the Office of Disability Services website( ).

Privacy Statement

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This impacts you from the standpoint of receiving graded assignments. In order for us to return graded assignments via your student mailboxes, we are required to have your consent. If you do not wish to have your assignments returned in this manner, you will have the option to pick up assignments from the course coordinators.

Class Schedule

The lecture and recitation schedules are attached to this syllabus. The course coordinator reserves the right to make alterations in the lecture and recitation schedules. Furthermore, the course coordinator reserves the right to alter the syllabus as needed.

Syllabus Agreement Form

As a student enrolled in PHAR 455, you must acknowledge your receipt of this syllabus, acceptance of its implications, and agreement to abide by its provisions. Students must document their acknowledgement by providing an electronic signature via the link provided on Blackboard prior to the 3rd class meeting on Friday, January 17th.