OXFORD, Miss. – Andrew Loeffler, a student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is among a handful of students selected from around the country to work at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., this fall.
The New Jersey native will be working in the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Regulation Development, which oversees over-the-counter, or OTC, products.
Loeffler said that he is interested in this division because nonprescription drugs are the most readily available medications.
“Many people just buy these without a recommendation by a physician or pharmacist, and the only way they are regulated is by the ingredient and labeling requirements set by the FDA,” Loeffler said. “I am interested in learning and experiencing what is done to ensure that their benefits outweigh their risks.”
Loeffler, who is enrolled in the third year of the professional program at Ole Miss, was selected for the FDA rotation from applicants across the country.
“It is available to all students attending accredited pharmacy schools, so it is very competitive,” he said. “This is why I was ecstatic when I found out that I had been chosen.”
Loeffler has already completed internships at Walmart pharmacies in Pearl and Batesville, community pharmacy rotations at Walgreens and Kroger in Oxford, institutional pharmacy rotations at Baptist Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford and Grenada Lake Medical Center in Grenada, and an ambulatory care rotation at a UM Medical Center clinic in Jackson.
He is the second Ole Miss pharmacy student to learn this spring that he had been selected to complete an FDA rotation this fall. The first was Laurin Dixon of Germantown, Tenn., who was selected to complete a rotation in the FDA’s Office of Orphan Drug Products, which oversees development and evaluation of products with promise for diagnosing, treating or preventing rare diseases or disorders.
“I am extremely proud of Andrew and Laurin, and I have no doubt they will represent our school well,” said Kristopher Harrell, UM’s director of professional experience programs and associate professor of pharmacy practice. “Both are outstanding students and are passionate about the pharmacy profession.”
Loeffler has expressed that passion as a volunteer at the Oxford Medical Ministries Clinic, which provides free services to working adults with low incomes.
“I learn something new everywhere I work, and I feel that meeting different people at different pharmacies has a positive influence on me,” he said.
Loeffler, who grew up about 45 minutes from New York City, has attended Ole Miss since graduating from high school.
“The main reason I came to Ole Miss was because I wanted a change of scenery to a warmer location, but when I visited during my senior year, I fell in love with the campus and the culture,” he said.
At this point in his pharmacy career, Loeffler has yet to decide what he will do after receiving his Doctor of Pharmacy degree next spring.
“I really enjoy working at Walmart, and I plan to stay on with them, even if it’s only part time,” he said. “But, depending on how this FDA rotation goes, I could be looking for a job near D.C. as well.”
David D. Allen, dean of the UM pharmacy school, said, “We are thrilled to learn that both Andrew and Laurin were selected for these highly prized FDA rotations. This is a wonderful opportunity for both of them, and what they learn will make a meaningful difference in their lives.”
For more information about the UM School of Pharmacy, call 662-915-7265 or visit http://www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu.