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Garis Memorial Scholarship Awarded to Creighton Pharmacy Student

Garis Memorial Scholarship Awarded to Creighton Pharmacy Student

Brett Jones of Ankeny, Iowa, a third-year pharmacy student in the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, has been named the first recipient of the Robert I. Garis Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship is named after Robert Garis, Creighton associate professor of pharmacy sciences, who died of cancer in November 2009. At the time of his death, Garis had spent much of the past decade exposing costly and often questionable practices among pharmacy benefit management companies (PBMs).

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a third-year Doctor of Pharmacy student for the following year of study. The amount of the 2010 inaugural award is $30,000.

Preference was given to applicants who were enrolled in Creighton’s PharmD/MBA dual-degree program or had already completed a master’s degree in business administration, demonstrated an interest in pharmacy-benefits management issues, and met rigorous academic requirements.

Garis joined the Creighton School of Pharmacy and Health Professions faculty in 1999. He and his Creighton colleagues were the first to question and perform research on drug-pricing policies; excessive mark-ups; inefficiencies and questionable practices within the PBM industry, which serves as an intermediary between many employer-sponsored prescription drug-benefit programs; pharmaceutical manufacturers and retail pharmacies.

His work helped rein in the PBM industry and educate employer groups and governmental agencies about the pitfalls of PBMs and how to negotiate better contracts with them. Garis served as an expert consultant in a number of investigations of legal improprieties in the PBM industry.

In 2005, the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions awarded Garis its Distinguished Service Award. The scholarship in his memory was made possible through a donation from members of Pharmaceutical Technologies, Inc. of Omaha.