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Creighton pharmacy professor fills need for hand sanitizer

Pharmacy Professor Alekha DashWhen he saw hand sanitizer vanish from store shelves because of soaring demand, and when the price of that product soared into the stratosphere, Alekha Dash, RPh, PhD, felt his moment.

“As you know, this is a difficult time for humanity, especially the United States of America, with all this tumult and challenge after challenge,” he says. “When demand jumps 300% above normal, 470%, no matter what you do, you cannot make a supply chain that meets the demand.

“I saw hand sanitizer that went from a normal price of $2.50 or $3 to $90. That was a turning point for me. I decided that this is my call. Can I, with my knowledge and compound skills that the Lord has given me, can I help? Can I help myself? Can I help my colleagues?

“I decided to make hand sanitizer.”

Dash, chair of Creighton’s Department of Pharmacy Sciences and associate dean for research at the Creighton School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, put the word out to various leadership committees and the enthusiasm came pouring in.

“Every day I would get an email or a call from colleagues, friends, that they need hand sanitizer,” he says. “I told them if there is anything I can do to help you guys, I was more than willing to do it. Everybody was happy. They said it was an expression of the true Creighton spirit.”

Dash says the cost of the ingredients for the hand sanitizer, which he says can be considerable, is being covered through the School of Pharmacy budget. He is able to make batches of 2.5 liters and has made 12 liters so far. If Creighton administrators need him to increase production when students return to campus, he said he can do so.

“My students are trained to do this, my technician is trained to do it, and even my dean told me he’s willing to help with his compounding skills,” Dash says. “If necessary, we can ramp up production. It’s a very simple procedure to make it, although it takes a lot of caution because we are dealing with highly viscous materials.”

Certainly, he says, increased production will require more funding, but the cost of buying hand sanitizer on the open market is likely to be far higher.

“We have raw materials on back order, but we have enough at our disposal so should it become necessary in the fall semester, I will have no problem ramping up production.”

Dash said individuals interested in acquiring hand sanitizer should contact the Department of Pharmacy Sciences at

On campus requests for hand sanitizer should be arranged through Eric Gilmore, senior director of procurement, at Additional hand sanitizer stations also are being placed at entrances to campus buildings.


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