Samford University's McWhorter School of Pharmacy has received a $10,000 International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists Foundation grant to support research in compounded pain formulations.

Pharmacy professors Dr. John Arnold and Dr. Gregory S. Gorman will use the funds to evaluate aspects of a compounded product's assigned beyond-use date (BUD), sometimes a problematic call for a dispensing pharmacist.

When compounding pharmacists prepare specialty formulations that are not commercially available, they assign a BUD to represent how long the mixture is believed to be potent.  Because a compound may contain multiple active ingredients from various drug classes, assigning an accurate BUD can be challenging.

"Generally, these dates are assigned by using best practices and U.S. Pharmacopeia guidelines," said Gorman. "The basis of the project is to put some science behind these dates."

The researchers will measure the potency of several of the most commonly compounded topical pain creams over a specified time period. In addition to generating BUD data, the experiments will determine efficacy based on how much of the active ingredients penetrates skin.

"We want to make sure that we, as pharmacists, give appropriate expiration dates so that patients aren't using medications that are no longer potent," said Arnold.

The grant is designated for a 12-month time span, which began July 1.  The research will take place in faculty laboratories in Samford pharmacy school's Ingalls Hall.

The two professors bring complementary but different strengths to the project: Gorman as an analytical chemist with experience in drug discovery and development, and Arnold as a pharmacist with expertise in compounding in practice.

Gorman, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, is director of research at Samford's Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Institute. Before joining the Samford faculty, he spent 14 years developing, preparing and testing for safety and efficacy new and existing drugs in both clinical and non-clinical settings.

Arnold, who holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a Ph.D. in pharmacology, teaches techniques of pharmacy compounding to Samford pharmacy students. His background in pediatric pharmacy often involved compounding to ensure that small patients be able to utilize their medications.

The professors underscore that millions of individuals of all ages suffer from acute or chronic pain on a daily basis due to a vast range of injuries and disease.  The treatment of pain accounts for a large portion of health care costs in the U.S., and has a direct impact on industry productivity.  Compounding pharmacists, they note, play an integral role in the treatment of pain via the preparation of compounded formulations intended to relieve pain.

The IACP Foundation supports the positive impacts of compounding pharmacy in part through the funding of innovative programs and research initiatives that enhance the quality, safety, responsiveness and credibility of compounding pharmacy.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.