Magazine article Drug Topics

M.D.S, R.Ph.S: Cooperate or Collapse

Magazine article Drug Topics

M.D.S, R.Ph.S: Cooperate or Collapse

Article excerpt

In the Oct. 6, 1997, issue of Drug Topics, my good friend Albert Wertheimer, Ph.D., director of outcomes research and management for Merck & Co., was quoted from a vital and important speech he gave at the Congress of International Pharmacy Federation (FIP) in Vancouver, B.C. "Pharmacists and physicians have more reasons to work together than to battle each other," Wertheimer said. "The two professions can either join forces against the excesses of managed care or find their individual scopes of practice increasingly limited in the name of cost-containment."

I couldn't agree with him more.

Ever wonder how pharmacy has come to accept the managed care philosophy? Managed care-or at least a large segment of it-is run by nonmedically trained people who are bent on seeing their organizationsstockholders, themselves-thrive on the backs of pharmacy and medicine. For what it's trying to do-keep costs under control--managed care is fine, but it's wrong if it seeks to accomplish its goals at the expense of the professions and professional judgment.

Pharmacists and physicians have had their differences. Many physicians are arrogant, spoiled, and not as well versed in medications as they should be. Despite this, they are well educated about diagnosis, and the majority act as professionals. Most think of themselves as the head of the healthcare team. That's fine; let themsomeone needs to assume that role. For some reason, except for some faint attempts, pharmacists have never really approached physicians as allies in the fight against managed care. It may or may not be too late. While managed care is a reality, you don't have to stand by as nonphysicians and nonpharmacists determine the direction of your practice. Medicine and pharmacy, the two groups that, under the law, decide which medications will be prescribed and provided to patients, need to get a better grip on the economics of their professions. …

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