Koeller's Corner

First, it has been awhile since my last column and I want to apologize for the hiatus. So, you are then probably wondering what possibly could have coaxed me back into writing another column? Well, the mother lode of all controversial topics has risen to the top of the gossip and Internet chatter lists: a too expensive cancer drug!

Everywhere you turn, you spot someone you know. It’s like homecoming or even a class reunion—you see people you know. The only issue is, after not seeing them for at least a year, how much older everybody looks now. I do admit that oncology pharmacy has come a long way since the early days, and that for as many people as I knew at the meeting, there were many, many more younger folks that I didn’t know. With HOPA membership now over 1500 and HOPA meeting attendance in the high hundreds, not knowing a majority of the attendees is understandable.

I will say right up front that I am all in favor of specialty pharmacy training and the subsequent board certification. The real questions are: how much training is enough? how much is too much? and what options are available? I’ve been in the oncology business for over 30 years now and began when there was no real specialty training to speak of. In fact, my introduction into the specialty just happened; it wasn’t planned at all. I wanted to stay in Madison, Wisconsin, when I finished my hospital pharmacy residency, but I was actually more interested in emergency care.

I will admit that I am knowingly and willingly walking into a hornet’s nest by discussing the current drug shortage, but I feel I must. In addition to our (oncology pharmacists’) ruminations about the current drug shortage, the issue has garnered national media attention. Major newspapers, national TV networks, magazines, and numerous websites have jumped on the drug shortage story.

I would like to welcome everyone to the inaugural edition of “Koeller’s Corner.” The intent is for this to be a regular column for The Oncology Pharmacist. For this introductory edition, I would like to introduce myself to the readers and describe the intent of my column as we move forward.

First, my name is Jim Koeller, and I am currently a full professor at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy and an adjoint professor of medicine and oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

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