Most pharmacists are conversant with drug interactions, but have you ever reflected on the history?

In 1987, when I joined the APhA staff the first time, I met remarkable gentleman and longtime staffer Ed Feldmann, who had retired recently but was still engaging with APhA. As is often the case with new acquaintances, initial conversations were cursory and superficial, and I was pretty overwhelmed with this new world of association management. I was just a young guy who had almost literally walked out of my Medicine Shoppe to join the staff. While I didn’t get to know him well then, I could tell this guy was special! Dr. Feldmann retired from running the Scientific Affairs department at APhA on January 1, 1985, and I didn’t hear much from him for several years, although we would exchange greetings from time to time.

Ed_Feldmann_book.jpgSoon after I took the job as APhA CEO in 2009, I wrote an editorial likening the growth of our knowledge about pharmacogenomics (PGX) to another body of knowledge—drug interactions—and how the two were so similar. I made the point that pharmacists should “own” PGX, much as we have come to own drug interactions. What I didn’t realize until I got a surprise package in the mail from Dr. Feldmann was that as associate executive director for Scientific Affairs, he was the APhA staffer who led the work that resulted in the publication of the first “Evaluations of Drug Interactions, A Pilot Project” in 1971. Ed had read my editorial and sent me a signed copy of his work (see photo)!

As far as I know this was seminal work in the field, as we only knew a dozen or so interactions at the time—but the team that published this work knew there were many more to come. If you Google the term “drug interactions” now, you get lots of references, but this was the first!

Ed Feldmann passed away recently and will be missed. I thought it was noteworthy to once again applaud his leadership and express my gratitude for his friendship. And, I’ll be ever grateful that he was still reading APhA “stuff” in his retirement.