Magazine article Drug Topics

N.J. Pharmacists See the Future at Town Hall Meeting

Magazine article Drug Topics

N.J. Pharmacists See the Future at Town Hall Meeting

Article excerpt

New Jersey pharmacists attending a town hall meeting got a dose of what the profession of pharmacy will look like as it moves deeper into the 21st century.

The meeting, which promises to be the first of many in the state, was organized by the New Jersey Pharmacists Association's Pharmaceutical Industry Relations Committee and was attended by pharmacists from all parts of the Garden State.

Kicking off the meeting headlined "Practicing Pharmacy in the 21st Century," Tony Graziano, RT, past president of the NJPhA and owner of an independent pharmacy, set the meeting's tone.

"This meeting will explore the cutting edge of our profession's surfaces," he said. "It will show what our profession could potentially do, is doing, and hopefully what will occur in New Jersey as it is occurring in other states." He explained the meeting was put together to "provide insight into our profession's direction so that we can survive in today's marketplace." Topics covered during the two-hour meeting ranged from the proposed Pharmacy Practices Act in New Jersey to the proper utilization of pharmacy technicians.

The evening's highlight was keynote speaker Daniel G. Garrett, M.S., FASHP, senior director, Medication Adherence Programs, APhA Foundation, who spoke on the challenges facing the practice of pharmacy in the 21st century and how pharmacists can best meet those challenges. To illustrate those challenges, he talked about his participation in the Asheville Project, a successful North Carolina community-based pharmaceutical care services program launched six years ago during his tenure as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

"The No. 1 problem in drug therapy in the United States today is that 50% of all prescriptions written are either not filled or not taken," Garrett told the audience. "We have a complex process of prescribing, administering, dispensing, and using drugs.

We're spending more on the problems created by people not taking their drugs, or taking them incorrectly, than we are for the drugs themselves. Ultimately, it's the patients who manage their drug therapy."

Citing the Asheville Project as an example of putting the responsibility for drug therapy in the hands of the patient, Garrett reminded the attentive audience the importance of getting state pharmacy groups involved. He said the Asheville Project was made possible by the combined effort of many state professional associations in North Carolina, including "the North Carolina hospital group, the North Carolina Pharmaceutical Association, and the pharmacy schools."

Garrett explained that the project was developed as a way for the city of Asheville to reduce its rising healthcare costs. …

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