Auburn’s School of Pharmacy uses mock trial as teaching tool

AUBURN – The annual mock trial for Auburn University’s first-year pharmacy students is a fictional civil suit with real-life lessons.

A study by the Institute of Medicine found that approximately 1.5 million people are harmed by medication errors each year, including 7,000 deaths. On Friday, Aug. 12, first-year students from the Auburn and Mobile campuses of the Harrison School of Pharmacy will witness pharmacists’ professional responsibility tested in an imaginary, multimillion dollar civil case against a pharmacist, whose mistake allegedly resulted in the death of a young woman. The trial will begin at 1 p.m. in the tiered auditorium of the Walker Building on campus.

The event marks the end of the school’s weeklong Foundations of Pharmacy orientation course, which introduces incoming students to Auburn’s Doctor of Pharmacy program and the professional responsibility of pharmacists.

Students will officially be welcomed into pharmacy school during a White Coat Ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Julie and Hal Moore Center for Excellence at Auburn High School. Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 17.

This particular case may be the same as previous years, but it is a memorable way of making students consider their responsibilities to their patients throughout their careers, said Lee Evans, the Harrison School of Pharmacy dean.

Members of the pharmacy school faculty will portray the victim’s family, the pharmacist and witnesses. Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese will reprise his role as the plaintiff’s attorney, while Clanton attorney Mark Conradi, an Auburn School of Pharmacy alumnus who teaches pharmacy law at Auburn, returns as defense counsel. Jim Main, an Auburn School of Pharmacy alumnus and current Alabama Supreme Court Justice, will again preside over the trial.

The role of the jury will be played by a number of third- and fourth-year students. While a jury would normally convene in private to deliberate a case, Main said this jury will instead be permitted to openly discuss the case in the auditorium.

“The deliberations will be the most important part,” he said. “An open discussion will allow the (first-year) students to understand the jury’s reasoning behind its decision.”

(Written by Amy Weaver.)

Contact: Bob Smith, (334) 844-4039 (smithre@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)