Conrad Thompson

Conrad ThompsonConrad Thompson
Pharmacist Leader in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
April 12, 2012 - Presentation

Conrad Thompson has enjoyed two separate careers in pharmacy. He was involved in various aspects of hospital pharmacy for 30 years, and he also spent 38 years as the Co-Founder and President of Pharmaceutical Specialties, lnc., a dermatological manufacturing company in Rochester, MN. Most of the time spent in these two endeavors occurred simultaneously.

Hospital Pharmacy: 1966 - 1996
His interest in hospital pharmacy began following his freshman year in the College of Pharmacy. He obtained a summer job at Rochester Methodist Hospital (RMH). At that time, the pharmacy department was involved in one of the first studies of the unit-dose system under the direction of Chief Pharmacist, Neal Schwartau. Following graduation in 1962, he had positions in four additional hospital pharmacies, which increased both his knowledge and interest in drug distribution systems and the potential expanded role of pharmacists.

He was offered a position as Research Pharmacist for the new RMH in 1966. He accepted and remained for the next 30 years. His career involved pharmacy practice, research and development activities, and many challenging management responsibilities. The most significant of these responsibilities involved a nearly 20 year process of managing the design, development and implementation of a computer-based information system which provided the support for a hospital-wide I.V. fluid and unit-dose drug distribution system. This was a multidisciplinary project involving the departments of pharmacy, nursing and information systems. He was subsequently responsible for the implementation of the system at St. Luke's hospital in Jacksonville, Florida and St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester.

He retired from hospital pharmacy practice in 1996.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: 1974 - Present
One of his operational responsibilities at RMH was to manage the production operation for about a two year period. Mayo Clinic dermatology patients requiring inpatient care were hospitalized there. A specialized, 45 bed dermatology nursing unit was included in the new hospital. Hundreds of pounds of ointments and creams were prepared by the pharmacy each month to support this nursing unit. While managing this area, he had the opportunity to spend time on the dermatology unit and to go on rounds with the dermatologists. He was able to develop a good working relationship with several of the dermatologists and nurses.

About a year after leaving the production area, Thompson received a call from a former dermatology resident who had set up practice in Illinois. He said, "Since I have started my own practice, I can't find any good products like you made for us in the hospital. Why don't you start a company to make products without all the junk ingredients in them?" Thinking this had interesting possibilities, Thompson decided to talk with a colleague, Ed Mansfield, RPh, about joining him in this venture. Ed had assumed management of the production area. He agreed to investigate this possibility with Thompson, and they eventually became partners in the business.

Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc. (PSI®) was founded on December 4, 1974. It grew gradually over the years, and it is now in its fifth building and employs 75 people. PSI® specializes in the development, manufacture, distribution and marketing of dermatological products for people with sensitive skin. Trademarks include: Vanicream®, Free and Clear®, RoBathol®, Vltec®, and Vaniply®. The products are promoted to dermatologists and allergists and are sold throughout the United States, primarily, through pharmacies and medical supply dealers. PSI® also sells through distributors in several foreign countries.