Pharmacy leader enhances lives with humor, dedication and innovation
by Angela Koenig
Four billion prescriptions a year land in U.S. medicine cabinets marked with warning labels that have probably prevented millions of medical mishaps and saved many lives, due to the caring and inventive genius of alumnus and professor emeritus of pharmacy J. Richard “Dick” Wuest.
In the 1970s, Wuest was instrumental in developing and copyrighting the system of using brightly colored auxiliary labels on prescription bottles — alerts and reminders like “Shake well” or “Do not drink alcoholic beverages with this medication.”
The system, Wuest says, started with a simple list on paper that became a universal system still used today. To educate retail pharmacists, Wuest and his team of pharmacists created charts to explain which types of labels went on which drugs. He also co-authored “The Family Guide to Prescription Drugs.”
During his UC career, Wuest, Pharm ’58, M (Pharm ’68), PharmD ’71, supervised the education of more than 2,600 pharmacy students and championed the development of a national licensure exam, for which the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy awarded him the Distinguished Service Award.
He also won the 2011 William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement, UC’s highest alumni honor, which recognizes career accomplishments in the honoree’s chosen field.