“I get this phone call asking me if I would have a moment to speak to Doctor Nigel Key, and that was the moment that changed my life pretty significantly. To this day I remember feeling the hair on the back of my neck stand up because I’m thinking, ‘surely they’re not, you’re kidding me,’” Dan Dalton, MS, RPh, said.
It was a conversation that led to Dan’s 15-year career as the pharmacist and program manager for the UNC Hemophilia Treatment Center Pharmacy. A program he started in 2007, in an 800 square foot room, with himself as the only employee.
“He has literally done every job in the pharmacy, and I mean that quite literally, to the point of taking out the trash and shredding papers,” Nigel Key, MB, ChB, FRCP, director of the Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center said.
Dan built the structure for the UNC Hemophilia Treatment Center Pharmacy, a 340B Drug Pricing Program which allows Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs) to purchase clotting factor at a discount for their outpatients. Income from the 340B discount must be used by the HTCs to maintain or expand their services to patients. Part of his vision was to also add outpatient, at home, nursing support.
“For newly diagnosed patients, the family can be caught off guard, overwhelmed with the diagnosis and not know how to administer that drug, which has to be given intravenously” Dan said. “So, I set up that nursing coordination statewide.”
He grew UNC’s in-house Hemophilia Pharmacy into a contract pharmacy provider for the Hemophilia Treatment Centers of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. The UNC program now has a team of 12 people and provides lifesaving drugs to patients across North Carolina.
“Dan is the kind of guy that if there’s a snowstorm and a patient is waiting for clotting factor in the eastern part of the state, he’ll drive out there with the needed factor,” Dr. Key said. “Dan is passionate about his work and achieving excellence, whenever possible. He can get excitable at times but it’s all in the correct context and for the right reasons.”
Dan is retiring at the end of August. Throughout his career, work relationships, customer service and the mission to ‘pay it forward’ have been at the forefront.
“Being a first-generation college kid, I knew I wanted to do something with my life,” Dan said. “So, to be able to come to UNC and get my education and then be called upon by UNC, which is something I had never dreamt of, was a very humbling experience. The challenges we faced were worth everything because of the importance it had to people and to a program like this.”
Dan will spend the first weeks of his retirement in Spain to celebrate his son’s wedding and his 42nd wedding anniversary. He also plans to pick up his guitar again and enjoy the outdoors.
“For me, the most important thing is to spend quality time with family and to expose myself to new adventures,” he said.