MPA | Pharmacy News

Feb. 27, 2015
Contact: Leah Ball, director of communications
(517) 377-0232

James Stevenson of Northville will receive the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) Excellence in Innovation Award during the Association’s Annual Convention & Exposition, held Feb. 27-March 1 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

To be deserving of this award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., a pharmacist or team of pharmacists must demonstrate an innovative pharmacy practice program that results in improved patient care. This award highlights the work and efforts of pharmacy pioneers who are re-engineering our profession to meet the health care needs of tomorrow’s patients.

For the past several years, Stevenson has served as the project lead on a statewide initiative to standardize the compounding of oral liquid medications for pediatrics. The project has received national recognition, including a Cheers Award in 2014 from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. This initiative, conducted in collaboration with MPA and funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), involved surveying pharmacists across Michigan to gain a better understanding of the variability in compounding practices for oral liquids throughout the state. In Michigan, more than half of the compounded drugs had at least three different concentrations being compounded by various pharmacies, with some concentration levels up to thirtyfold higher than others, according to information collected from more than 200 participating pharmacies.

After surveying pharmacists, the project workgroup collaborated with health care providers to determine standard concentrations for a range of medications through the assessment of concentrations that pharmacies were compounding and determination of whether the concentration would meet the needs of the majority of patients. The workgroup also required that there was published literature to support the formulation. Formulations were then assessed for shelf stability and feasibility (ease of obtaining ingredients and compounding). Proposed standard concentrations were endorsed by task forces involving prescribers and pharmacists. The third phase of the initiative was to create a Web site and other communication tools to disseminate information on the standard concentrations. The site, available at, should be consulted as a source document for standardized concentrations and to obtain a formulation sheet for each of the medications that requires compounding. Before this initiative, there was no standardization of the concentrations of these oral liquids, allowing for significant variation in concentrations compounded and volumes of products to be administered, leading to potentially serious medication errors.

Stevenson received his undergraduate and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Wayne State University (WSU). For the past 15 years, he served as chief pharmacy officer at the University of Michigan (U-M) Health System and associate dean for clinical sciences. He also served as the chair of the Department of Clinical, Social and Administrative Sciences in the U-M College of Pharmacy from 2011-2014. Stevenson recently assumed the position as president, Hospital and Health System Services for Visante, a medicines management consulting company.

Stevenson is a Fellow of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and has been recognized as Pharmacist of the Year by both the Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP) and MPA. He has also been honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the WSU Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Joseph A. Oddis Leadership Award by MSHP. In addition, Stevenson served on the Board of Directors for ASHP and is currently the treasurer of the Hospital Pharmacy Section of the International Pharmaceutical Federation.

Michigan Pharmacists Association, representing the nearly 9,000 pharmacists and 15,000 pharmacy technicians in Michigan, strives to serve members by providing support, advocacy and resources that ultimately improve patient care, safety, health and the practice of pharmacy. For more information, visit

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