Magazine article Drug Topics


Magazine article Drug Topics


Article excerpt

PBMs steering specialty Rxs to mail order

Regarding your online question in January about whether specialty pharmacy is a field still open to community pharmacies, I believe that pharmacies with the traffic, such as ours in an oncology facility, should become specialty pharmacies and be allowed to participate by the payors. As far as I can tell, the title of "specialty pharmacy" is being used by pharmacy benefit managers to route prescriptions that cost more to their own mail-order pharmacies. If a community pharmacy sees the patient population, the pharmacists certainly can do a better job at counseling patients face-to-face than a mail-order pharmacy can over the phone. I have had patients come to my pharmacy to learn how to take chemotherapy agents dispensed by a mail-order pharmacy. Their insurance company required them to use the mail-order pharmacy. This can be life threatening when oral chemotherapy agents are involved, not to speak of the inappropriate use of healthcare dollars if these agents aren't taken at optimal doses and times.

Nancy Blumer

Let's get rid of drug samples

I wholeheartedly support Russ Lazzaro's position, published in your Jan. 14 issue. His letter advocated the use of vouchers to replace drug samples. The reasons he mentioned are absolutely accurate. However, I have a few more. I am the administrative director of a small chain of hospital-owned retail pharmacies. Our business office is located on the first floor of a medical building. My office window faces a parking area adjacent to the building. Several days a week, pharmaceutical representatives unload samples for distribution to the building physicians. Of course, they can't carry them, there are far too many so they use two-wheeled carts. On many occasions, patients from the physician's offices pass by our pharmacy with samples in hand. To add insult to injury, they stop in our pharmacy and ask for a bag to carry their samples. Talk about a slap in the face!

Of course, if these patients were indigent, then I might not be so deeply offended. However, the luxury cars they get into (which I can also observe) lead me to believe that poverty is not an issue with these patients. The physicians or the office staffs of the physicians become the good guys by giving out the free samples. …

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