Two pharmacists, including a Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy professor, put their ingenuity to work to make their own hand sanitizer for frontline health care workers and patients.
As anxiety about COVID-19 grew, Atlantis Pharmacy started selling a lot of sanitizer. When the pharmacy sold out and couldn’t get another delivery for two weeks, Pharmacy Manager Dr. Damien Simmons and professor Dr. Erin Dorval were inventive.
Dorval, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice, tested out a few formulas until she settled on one. She made one batch, and then another. And another. All told, she made an estimated 300-350, 3-ounce bottles. The pharmacy gave the bottles to doctors’ offices, hospitals and health care workers. It sold the rest to patients at a discount, Simmons said.
“Our goal here at Atlantis Pharmacy is to be a staple in the community and serve the community, and there’s a big need,” Simmons said.
The hand sanitizer comes in 3-ounce bottles with the Atlantis Pharmacy and Gregory School of Pharmacy labels.GSOP community pharmacy resident Jallena Roberts was a test subject for the sanitizer and helped Dorval make some of the first batches, Dorval said.
The majority of experiences in the University’s post-graduate community pharmacy residency take place at Atlantis Pharmacy, where Dorval practices. Additionally, Simmons endowed the Atlantis Pharmacy Scholarship for driven, passionate students. He is a member of the Gregory Leadership Council.
Simmons was adamant tthe sanitizer be a gel, not a spray. One of the pharmacy’s patients described the spray formulas as “soupy alcohol water.” The pharmacy serves clients who know what they want, Simmons said.
“The best thing you can do as an entrepreneur is to give the people what they want.” Simmons said. “You can’t compromise that.”
Simmons had all the hand sanitizer ingredients stashed away, after buying another pharmacy’s raw materials at a discount. That pharmacy moved out of town a couple of years ago. Dorval looked in Simmons’ cabinets and found everything she needed.
She enjoyed the challenge.
“It was super cool,” Dorval said. “It was probably the nerdy pharmacist-professor coming out in me. To know that somebody needed it, and I was able to make it, that was the fun part.”