Dr. Robert Crisafi, ʼ56, receives one of UF’s most prestigious alumni honors

Robert Crisafi, ’56, Ph.D., center, pictured with UF President Kent Fuchs and College of Pharmacy Dean, Julie Johnson, Pharm.D.

Robert Crisafi, Ph.D., a 1956 graduate of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy and advocate for improving patient safety in the nation’s hospitals, received the UF Distinguished Alumnus Award during the college’s commencement ceremony on May 1.

UF’s Distinguished Alumnus Award is one of the most prestigious honors UF can bestow on its alumni. The award signifies a graduate’s contributions in his or her chosen field or outstanding service to UF.

Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, Crisafi made major contributions to the reduction of medication error rates in our nation’s hospitals with the development and introduction of a new dosage form for liquid pharmaceuticals. His efforts in this field resulted in Lyne Laboratories being the first company in the United States to introduce liquid pharmaceutical products in unit-dose cups. This new dosage form was capable of being administered directly to patients at the bedside. Prior to the introduction of liquid unit-dose cups, liquid pharmaceuticals had to be dosed from bulk containers by nurses at the bedside. Today, liquid unit-dose pharmaceuticals in cups is a standard modality in all hospitals.

In 1976, Crisafi pioneered an innovative outsourcing pharmaceutical prepackaging service, which operated under current good manufacturing practices. From a pilot program, serving nine greater Boston Hospitals, his company, branded as the RSC, or Regional Service Center, expanded its outsourcing prepackaging service, first regionally, and then nationally.

In 1994, the RSC developed processes to print bar codes directly on the package of unit-dosed drugs. Today, bar coding is a standard practice and is the required packaging platform for bedside-point-of-care programs in hospitals.

Crisafi is truly an entrepreneur. He has founded 12 successful health care companies, including Crisafi Pharmacy, Lyne Laboratories, Regional Service Center, Pharmalab, Advanced Home Healthcare and Careway Wellness Center.

Crisafi’s ever-present passion for assisting students who want to attend the University of Florida has fueled his desire to establish and support the College of Pharmacy’s successful fundraiser known as the Crisafi Challenge. He and his wife, Barbara, have long been generous supporters of the college. In 1997, they made their first major gift to the college, when they gave $250,000 to fund construction of a research laboratory in the department of medicinal chemistry. The Crisafis made another major gift of $1 million in 2011, to establish the Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy in the College of Pharmacy, which is held by a researcher who studies medication safety in hospitals.