Professional News

UK College of Pharmacy's Foster to Receive USP Beal Award

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2009) Thomas S. Foster, professor of pharmacy at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, has been announced as recipient of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Beal Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, the organization’s highest honor. 

The award, bestowed every five years, recognizes a person who has made outstanding contributions to public health while serving as a USP volunteer. USP, a non-governmental, not-for-profit public health organization, is the public standards–setting authority for all prescription and over–the–counter medicines and other health care products manufactured or sold in the United States. USP is comprised of more than 400 volunteers serving on 42 expert committees who set the standards of quality that the FDA enforces. Increasingly, the organization is becoming a global entity. Countries including Brazil, China, India and Switzerland have adopted USP standards and international representatives participate on nearly every committee.

Foster, currently the chair of the Biopharmaceutics Expert Committee, will be officially honored at the USP Convention's Membership Meeting in April 2010 in Washington, D.C., where he will receive a crystal sculpture representing USP's spirit of voluntarism, be named a lifetime USP Honorary Member, and receive a $10,000 cash award granted to an institution of his choice to support work that will contribute to higher quality and more appropriate use of medicines, dietary supplements, or food ingredients. In honor of his mentor, Foster has chosen to make the contribution to the UK College of Pharmacy’s Paul Parker Endowment Fund for Residency Training and Research. “Paul Parker originally introduced me to the USP and I would like to honor him by having the award directed to the fund for training the next generation of clinical scientists that may choose to volunteer for USP work,” he said.

According to USP chief executive officer, Dr. Roger L. Williams, USP volunteers are a “breed apart” and work with unrivaled dedication to further USP’s mission and vision.  Williams recognized Foster as one of those volunteers whose contributions stand above the rest.  In making its choice, the Beal Award Selection Committee underscored Foster’s volunteer accomplishments and highlighted the leadership characteristics that singled him out. 

These activities include advocating strongly for USP standards in his professional interactions, improving the dialogue with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ensuring that industry perspectives were part of Expert Committee discussions, and promoting innovation and technology  by “going green” long before it was popular by presiding over USP’s first “paperless” Expert Committee meeting. In addition, Foster is recognized for encouraging transparency in standards setting by posting Expert Committee meeting minutes on the USP Web site, contributing his considerable scientific and clinical expertise while serving on the Medicare Model Guidelines Expert Committee for the Part D Prescription Drug Benefit, and authoring high impact articles on USP standards for peer reviewed journals.

Foster’s involvement with USP spans nearly two decades.  From 1990 to 1995, he served on the FDA-USP Joint Committee on Bioequivalence and the Subcommittee on Bioavailability, Bioequivalence, and Dissolution (DBA).  Foster was elected chairman of the DBA in 1995 and he continues to chair the committee, which was re-named the Biopharmaceutics Expert Committee in 2000.  From 2000 to 2005, he also served on the Reference Standards Expert Committee, the General Policies and Requirements Executive Committee, and the Medicare Model Guidelines Expert Committee.  He has been a member of the Nomenclature and Labeling Expert Committee since 2000. 

Foster has been instrumental in the development and revision of many USP general chapters on topics including bioequivalence, dissolution, and drug dosage forms.  He has championed the science and public standard setting processes related to in-vitro and in-vivo drug performance and he was instrumental in developing a compendial taxonomy for pharmaceutical dosage forms.  In addition to his scientific and clinical committee work, he has served as vice chair of three separate nominating committees for the Council of Experts from 2000 to 2010. 

Since 1973, Foster has practiced pharmacy at UK clinics and hospitals and taught professional program and graduate program courses in advanced pharmacotherapy, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, as well as bioethics and research integrity. He also has joint appointments in the UK colleges of Medicine and Public Health. He has led programs in multidisciplinary clinical pharmacology research involving investigational drugs and drug delivery systems.  He pioneered the opening and served as director for both a multidisciplinary Drug Product Evaluation Unit at the UK Medical Center and the Center of Excellence in Pharmaceutical Science and Technology at UK, which was the first academic center-based, FDA cGMP-qualified facility for pilot parenteral drug manufacturing in the U.S. 

Foster’s pioneer work in translational science facilitated the development of numerous human pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products and drug delivery systems.  He currently serves as director of the Regulatory Support and Research Integrity program of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science and has been the executive chairman of the university’s Medical Institutional Review Boards (IRB) since 1987.  He is also a consultant to the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Human Research Protections. 

“I’ve served on many boards and worked with many organizations through the years, but being part of USP and being able to see the lasting impact that your work has on assuring medicines are top-notch, is one of my most valued and important roles I’ve had as a pharmacist,” said Foster.