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  • Global Drug Information Center

    The Samford University Global Drug Information Service (SUGDIS) is a fee-for-service operation housed in the McWhorter School of Pharmacy in Birmingham, Alabama that focuses on three core activities: service, education, and research. This unique center provides comprehensive drug information services to over 17 clients within a variety of health care settings (e.g., hospitals, nursing home).

    Since Samford University is not directly affiliated with a hospital, SUGDIS was started as a subscription service to meet the drug information needs of health care professionals within Alabama and surrounding states. For a very reasonable annual fee, each subscriber has access to comprehensive drug information services. Access to pharmacy faculty specialists and medical experts as consultants to SUGDIS expand the expertise available to answer questions and solve problems for the Center's subscribers.

    Because the SUGDIS personnel are active consultants for many different hospitals and other health care entities in addition to participating in national organizations, their extended perspectives benefit the subscribers. Responding to drug information requests occupies approximately 35% of daily activities while a portion of the remaining time is involved at the drug policy level with P&T, IRB, CQI, and Infection Control Committee support. Formulary evaluation is another crucial responsibility for SUGDIS as is continuing education for medical, pharmacy, and nursing personnel.


    The overall services provided include, but are not limited to, drug information consults, committee support (Pharmacy and Therapeutics [P&T], Institutional Review Board [IRB], Infection Control), formulary management, policy and procedure development, drug therapy practice guidelines generation, drug formulary list generation, an Antibiotic Management Program, Drug Usage Evaluation (DUE) and Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) programs, outcome analyses, medical writing, and nursing home consulting. Teaching programs include didactic courses in Drug Information Systems and Drug Literature Evaluation and the experiential based precepting of Pharm.D. students completing the Drug Information Advanced Practice Experience (i.e., clerkship rotation). Information services are provided to health care professionals of the subscribing institutions and Samford faculty by a staff of drug information specialists and residents, McWhorter School of Pharmacy librarian and clerical support. SUGDIS has an extensive resource collection of both print and online databases.

    SUGDIS strives to successfully accomplish the following commitments and responsibilities. Specific activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    Respond to Drug Information Requests from Health-care Professionals in the Following Areas:

    • Drug Therapy/Pharmacotherapy
    • Medication Dosing
    • Drug Interactions
    • Product Availability
    • Drug-Induced Adverse Effects
    • Product Identification
    • Generic Drug Bioequivalence
    • Pharmacokinetics
    • Government and Industry Activities
    • Pharmacodynamics
    • Pregnancy/Lactation
    • Compounding
    • IV Compatibility
    • Regulatory Affairs
    • Prepare Drug Literature Evaluations/Formulary Class Reviews
    SUGDIS can assist the Subscriber in determining which medications should be recommended for formulary status by developing drug literature evaluations (DLEs) and/or formulary class reviews.

    Develop and Print Computerized Formulary

    An individualized formulary can be developed from the center's database of more than 7,000 products and tailored to the subscriber’s needs. Thus, 50 bed hospitals may have a first class, updated cross-referenced formulary comparable to those of 500+ bed institutions.

    Publish Weekly Newsletters

    Two news services, Current Literature and Information for Pharmacists (CLIPs) and New Drug Fax Sheet, (to login click here) have been developed to further meet the information needs of subscriber. CLIPs was created to notify pharmacists and other health care professionals of recently published pharmacy/biomedical literature. The New Drug FAX Sheet was developed to inform health care professionals of current medication information/news. Each Monday morning, one of these two newsletters is published for subscribers. Additional newsletter editions are published throughout the month to notify subscribers of breaking news or other pertinent information.

    Publish the Quarterly Newsletter

    Subscribers receive a publication at least quarterly titled Pharmacy Pre’cis that addresses either new drug reviews, drug class reviews, new breakthroughs in medicine or current topics of interest to all health-care professionals. One issue per year depicts the SUGDIS Quality Assurance Survey (see DI Center Publications) which the results are utilized to ensure that the SUGDIS objectives are being accomplished as well as fulfilling the needs and expectations of our clients.

    Publish On-Demand Newsletters

    Rx Tips--Specific newsletter designed to cater to individual issues pertaining to each subscribing institution. This newsletter is used to relay P & T decisions to health-system staff.

    Development of Disease Treatment Recommendations

    SUGDIS can develop or assist subscribers in the development of medical practice guidelines that incorporate current, relevant and comprehensive information to provide appropriate drug therapy for patients.

    Prepare Policy and Procedures

    SUGDIS has the capabilities and resources to prepare policy and procedures for various pharmacy activities that include: medication use, administration, storage and/or disposal techniques; disease state therapeutic options; and personnel issues.

    Develop DUE/MUE Criteria and Analysis

    A DUE/MUE program can be developed as a quality assurance and management tool by incorporating outcome variables into audits.

    Provide Committee Support (P&T, IRB, QA)

    SUGDIS will participate as an ex-officio member of the above committees upon request.

    Assist with the Antibiotic Management Program

    SUGDIS can assist the subscribers in the implementation of a concurrent and/or prospective antibiotic management program that addresses the prevention of resistance and provides quality patient care.

    Provide Pharmacy Practice Materials

    SUGDIS can provide information to assist in the daily activities of pharmacy practice. This includes formulations for extemporaneous compounding, patient drug information and/or disease information sheets, and information for compliance with OBRA regulations.

    Computer Modeling for Cost Containment

    Spreadsheet computer modeling allows SUGDIS to evaluate drug usage patterns and therapy costs to determine the best solution for a subscriber. Results are developed into educational programs and possible policies to help improve rational drug use and decrease costs without compromising the quality of patient care.

    Provide Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health-care Organization Accreditation [JCAHO] Assistance

    SUGDIS will assist the Pharmacy Department and P&T Committee in meeting Joint Commission requirements by developing adverse drug reaction, drug interaction, quality assurance, and DUE monitoring and reporting programs. In addition, SUGDIS will help prepare for the Joint Commission survey and will be present during the interview upon request.

    Provide Site Survey Support

    SUGDIS will assist LTCF consultants with the answering of pharmacy practice questions directed from site surveys.

    Pharmacoeconomic and Pharmacoepidemiology Analysis/Research

    SUGDIS has access to the above information to assist the subscribers in decision-making processes.
    Note: Due to copyright restrictions, SUGDIS does not provide publish articles from the open literature regardless of the type of service a client may request.

    Hours & Staff+


    Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm (Closed Saturdays and Sundays)


    The center is closed on the following holidays:
    • New Year's Day
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    • Easter Monday
    • Memorial Day
    • Independence Day
    • Labor Day
    • Thanksgiving Day
    • Friday after Thanksgiving
    • Christmas break


    Maisha Kelly Freeman, Pharm.D., MS, BCPS

    Associate Professor and Director, Drug Information Center

    Rachel M. Slaton, Pharm.D., BCPS

    Assistant Professor and Drug Information Specialist

    Rachel Thomas, Pharm.D.

    Assistant Professor and Drug Information Specialist

    Richard Wakefield, Pharm.D.

    Drug Information Center Resident

    Sandra Boyken, BS

    Drug Information Center Coordinator

    Drug Information Skills & Education+

    Need for Drug Information Skills

    Pharmacists are integral members of the health-care team and provide objective, comprehensive, unbiased information for health-care decisions and problem solving. In addition, pharmacists are assuming greater non-dispensing roles that include providing direct patient care counseling, evaluating medications for formulary status, developing drug therapy protocols, conducting MUE and DUEs, maintaining ADR programs and conducting pharmacoeconomics analysis.

    In addition, the advancements in technology and health sciences have made a profound effect on the manner in which pharmacy and medicine are practiced today. The quantity of information and methods of access (e.g., wireless) are increasing at an extraordinary rate.

    Pharmacists must be able to systematically locate, analyze, and deliver the information in an efficient manner to meet the needs of the requester and/or institution. However, pharmacists must be cautious of researched materials and/or other information presented to them. Misleading information is present among the publications; therefore, all health-care professionals needs to have the ability to evaluate and interpret biomedical literature to appropriately apply in practice.

    Drug Information Education Activities

    The primary goal of the following required drug information courses is to prepare the individual to serve as an effective provider of drug information. An effective provider perceives, assesses, and evaluates drug information needs; and retrieves, evaluates, communicates, and applies data from the published literature and other sources as an integral component of pharmaceutical care. The Drug Information faculty follow the “Consensus-Derived Objectives for Drug Information Education” developed during the 1991 Drug Information Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    • Information Systems PHRX 307 (Required 1 semester hour class during 1st professional year)
    • Drug Literature Evaluation PHRD 527 (Required 3 semester hour class during 3rd professional year)
    • Drug Information Clerkship PHRD 606 (Required 4 semester hour advanced practice experience)
    • Pedagogics PHRD 660 (Elective, 4 semester hour advanced practice experience)
    • Advanced Drug Information Clerkship (Elective, 4 semester hour advanced practice experience)


    The SUGDIS (Samford University Global Drug Information Service) website (the “Site”) functions as a resource for pharmacy students and faculty and is maintained by faculty and staff at Samford University. (See other main objectives on SUGDIS Home page.)

    Neither Samford University nor its trustees, employees, volunteers or affiliates (“Samford”) is dispensing medical advice or pharmacy consultation services through SUGDIS. The information provided throughout the Site is not intended to be a replacement for appropriate medical and/or pharmacy care. Any information regarding drug usage, medical interpretation, and/or drug literature analysis strictly represents the opinions of the faculty and staff providing such information.

    Users of the Site do so at their own risk. While faculty and staff make every effort to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information contained on the Site, there is no guaranty that the information provided is accurate, current or applicable to any specific individual. Accordingly, Samford shall not be responsible for the continued currency of the information, discrepancies, or errors appearing on the Site and shall in no event be liable for injuries (including death) to any party which may occur as a result of reliance upon any materials provided on the Site, the misinterpretation thereof or adverse drug reactions that may occur.

    SUGDIS funding is provided by the McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Samford University, and contractural clients. (See the DI Services Web Page for detailed information regarding types of services available.) There are no known conflicts of interest associated with SUGDIS receiving funding from these sources.

    All drug information requests are handled in a manner that is consistent with state and federal requirements for the confidentiality of medical information.

    Advertising via the Site is prohibited and no visitor tracking mechanisms are utilized.

    The Site may include links to third-party web sites; however, Samford does not endorse the content of such websites. Samford is not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites, or third-party advertisements, and does not make any representations regarding their content or accuracy. Use of third-party websites is at the user’s own risk and subject to the terms and conditions of use for such sites. Samford does not endorse any product, service, or treatment appearing on the Site.

    Name and contact information is collected from the requestors in order to respond to drug information requests. This information is not passed on to a third party; however, we may contact them at another time to obtain feedback about their experience with the DI center as a continuous quality improvement exercise. Other than drug information requests, no information (emails or otherwise) regarding any visitor information to any of these Web pages are keep, stored or recorded in any matter.