Magazine article Drug Topics


Magazine article Drug Topics


Article excerpt

New OTC resource

Your April 1 issue contained a Lateline about four programs developed by state pharmacy associations. Subsequently, we have received several calls from around the country with requests for a copy of our program. I thought some additional clarification might be in order.

The project, which is called "Within Reach: Over-the Counter Medication Abuse Awareness," is a PowerPoint presentation intended to be used by pharmacists to educate the public (primarily parents and educators) on the growing trend of over-the-counter medication abuse by children and teenagers. The presentation comes in a binder, which also contains other supplemental materials.

The Michigan Pharmacists Association will be providing a copy of the presentation and supplemental materials to each state pharmacy association. We will have several copies on hand, but they will be available only for loan to members of our association. If individuals from other parts of the country wish to use the presentation, they will need to contact their state pharmacy association. The states should have their copies in May

Andrea Rybicki

Assistant director of communications

Michigan Pharmacists Association

Lansing, Mich.

Calif. exam versus NAPLEX

I'd like to comment on the letter in your April 1 issue about NAPLEX versus the California state board exam. I graduated from the University of Minnesota with both the B.S. Pharmacy and Pharm.D. degrees in 1993. I took NAPLEX (then called NABPLEX) in 1993 and passed it with flying colors. NABPLEX was an easy exam (as I vividly recall, the pass rate was 100% for my Pharm.D. '93 class at the university). I then practiced as a critical care coordinator in a teaching hospital in Champaign, Ill., for three years until I relocated to San Francisco in 1996.

I took the California pharmacy board exam in 1996. The exam consisted of two parts: multiple choice and short essays. It was a two-day exam. I found the exam itself clinically challenging and more patientoriented than the 1993 NABPLEX exam I had taken. I was glad that I passed both sections with a high 80%.

Based on the June 2001 California pharmacist licensure exam results posted on the California pharmacy board's Web site at, we can see the fail rate for California pharmacy graduates was at 21.8% and out-of-state pharmacy graduates' fail rate was at 59.1%. There were 11 Minnesota pharmacy graduates who took the June exam, and the fail rate was at 18%.

The California pharmacy board exam is a difficult exam statistically for California, out-of-state, and foreign candidates. Nevertheless, some out-of-state pharmacy graduates did very well in the exam (e.g., University of Wisconsin's pass rate was 100%, University of Texas' pass rate was 100%, University of Minnesota had a pass rate of 82%). Some out-of-state schools did not fare well at all in the June exam. Some had even 0% pass rates.

Paul Hsiao, Pharm.D.

Pharmacist Specialist

P&T/Ambulatory & Purchasing Services

San Jose, Calif.

We are not thieves

I have noticed several things in our own billing since reading your March 4 article on the rounding up of Rxs, all of which point not to a software problem, per se, but to one of the agents.

We get our prescription information from First DataBank. In the past few weeks, we have encountered generics that do not contain the brand name, causing the patient to take both meds; brands not linked to generics, causing us to have to search elsewhere when a charge discrepancy comes back from the drug card server; and data entry "size" that does not match the bottle I am holding in my hand (mostly liquids, but a few topicals and drops).

We have just gone through a similar scenario here in South Carolina, where one of our medical schools was accused of billing activities for doctors who were out of the country on the date of service. …

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