Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Mass Merchandiser's Role in Enhancing Pharmacy Students' Business Plan Development Skills for Medication Therapy Management Services

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Mass Merchandiser's Role in Enhancing Pharmacy Students' Business Plan Development Skills for Medication Therapy Management Services

Article excerpt


Pharmacy has evolved from a profession that primarily involved dispensing medications to one focused on providing patient care. This is reflected by colleges and schools movement away from the bachelor of science (BS) in pharmacy degree to the more clinically focused doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree as the first professional degree. This change has been recognized by the profession as well as by policymakers. In 2003, Congress enacted the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA), which was implemented in 2006. This was a monumental moment for the pharmacy profession because the Act requires prescription drug plan sponsors to have a medication therapy management (MTM) program designed to assist Medicare Part D enrollees with multiple chronic diseases, multiple medications, and high drug costs. The MMA specifically identified pharmacists as providers who could be compensated for providing these services. (1) This was the first time that pharmacists were recognized as reimbursable providers, offering them an opportunity to be innovative in their delivery of these services, which are designed to assess and evaluate the patient's medication therapy regimen in its entirety rather than focusing on an individual medication product. (2)

Along with the provider status earned by the profession, educational agencies updated the training that PharmD programs are required to provide in the areas of social and administrative sciences. Educational standards require that pharmacy students be trained to manage pharmacy operations. The 2004 Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) Educational Outcomes Supplements suggests that students learn how to "apply the principles of business planning to develop a business plan that supports the implementation and provision of pharmaceutical care services, identifies and acquires necessary resources, and assures financial success of the practice." (3) The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education further recommends that students be trained to "manage a successful patient-centered practice (including establishing marketing, and being compensated for medication therapy management and patient care services rendered)." (4)

Professional organizations in pharmacy also have acknowledged management-related skills as areas for development in training pharmacy students to meet the needs of the profession. In 2000, the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Students of Pharmacy and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Council of Deans Task Force on Professionalism published a White Paper on Pharmacy Student Professionalism. In the publication, a recommendation was made for educational programs to "incorporate disciplinary teamwork, communication, leadership, critical thinking, and listening skills into the curriculum." (5) The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Statement of Professionalism also identifies leadership as a characteristic of a professional. (6)

In response to the educational demands of pharmacists, the American Pharmacists Association now offers a certificate training program entitled "Delivering Medication Therapy Management Services in the Community" to enhance pharmacists' clinical expertise in evaluating complicated medication regimens. One of the program's goals is to increase the number of pharmacists establishing MTM services. (7) The changes in governmental policy, requirements by educational agencies, and recommendations by professional organizations have resulted in faculty members in the area of social and administrative sciences moving with the profession, as evidenced by the development of an elective course on MTM services at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. (8)

During the summer of 2007, a representative from a mass merchandiser (Wal-Mart) pharmacy approached the dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to express interest in participating in the college's pharmacy management course to encourage student participation in entrepreneurship. …

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