Magazine article Drug Topics

Net Gains

Magazine article Drug Topics

Net Gains

Article excerpt

Implementing a plan that's been on the drawing board for years, a Texas pharmacist is building a network of fellow R.Ph.s to man the telephone and counsel the consumer willing to pay $2.99 a minute or more for their expertise.

The Pharmacists' Network Exchange (PNE) is designed to give pharmacists, regardless of their work setting, a chance to generate additional income on their own time by providing pharmaceutical care services as contract consultants, said Joel Adame, president/founder of the Houston-based enterprise. The on-line service, Pharmacy Virtual Information Network Exchange (PharmVINE), is predicated on telephone counseling, supported by separate Web sites for R.Ph.s and consumers. Network R.Ph.s earn 50% of the $2.99 per minute charged through the 1-(900) CALLPNE number and 20- or 30-minute prepaid phone cards. Members who provide face-to-face counseling are paid 75% of the $120 hourly fee charged the consumer.

Each PNE pharmacist has an identifcation number and a dedicated phone line to handle consumer calls exclusively. When the pharmacist is ready to take calls, he or she logs on by phone into the computer program, which stores relevant information about network members. Consumer calls are routed, where possible, by the computer to a member in the consumer's home state or practice specialty.

With the Pharm.D. poised to become the profession's standard and the traditional dispensing role fading, Adame feels PNE offers B.S. pharmacists a chance to build their own businesses. "Someone can make the transition to providing cognitive services directly to the consumer, for a fee, on their own," he said. "Or they can join PNE, thus spreading their risks and maximizing their chances to succeed-not to mention the nominal start-up costs as compared with setting up your own business. As contract consultants, not employees of PNE, they are free to build up their own client bases and really market themselves. …

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