skip to main content columnskip to left navigationskip to horizontal navigation

Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy

East Tennessee State University

Bart Lino Completes Rotation at CDC

bart linoBart Lino, Class of 2018, completed a month-long Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.  He was chosen for the APPE rotation through a nationally competitive application process. Under the direction of his preceptor, Michael Green, PhD, the majority of Lino’s time at the CDC lab involved calibration, testing and discussion about the counterfeit medication identifier currently being developed by Dr. Green.  When asked about his experience, Bart shared the following about the nature of the device and the clinical need for it. 

Vast portions of Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia qualify as malaria endemic regions, making medications to combat this illness of critical importance.  Several combination products (both quinine and non-quinine based) have been developed, with many of the new products achieving 90% or more cure rates.  These medications are made available to these countries at substantially discounted prices thanks to western subsidization and international procurement avenues.  Tragically, there are some truly terrible actors in these parts of the world counterfeiting these drugs and selling them to these nations. Current means to identify these counterfeit medications are proving insufficient, as some of these products are beginning to circulate to major hospitals in several of these countries. Some of these counterfeits also possess small amounts of active ingredients which can open the door to drug resistance.  Widespread resistance to any one agent will diminish efficacy and require added years of research and untold millions of dollars for development to replace an otherwise excellent agent.  Many thousands of lives will be needlessly lost in the rush to discover new malaria-fighting agents.

The problem primarily lies in the means by which these products are tested for purity.  Large labs established by international agencies and the CDC do not remain adequately staffed and provisioned. Dr. Green personally witnessed the shortfall as an international inspector on numerous missions.  He decided the best course of action was to develop a rapid means for Quality Assurance without the vast expense of establishing state-of-the-art chemical laboratories in these countries. 

The primary focus of this research APPE experience was on developing a handheld counterfeit drug identifier utilizing light energy to instantly provide preliminary quality results. The race is on and it's an exciting thought to know that even as a student, the developing world can immensely benefit from this work and experience.

icon for left menu icon for right menu