Magazine article Drug Topics


Magazine article Drug Topics


Article excerpt

Is there proof in the pudding?

I enjoyed your article "Is OBRA '90 working?" in the Jan. 5 issue. I ask myself the same question almost daily. As a pharmacist looking to begin a pharmaceutical care consulting practice, I feel that we need to answer the question with actual, factual numbers to support our activities.

There was only slight mention in your article of how consultations actually saved lives. Have you come across figures that show significant decreases in hospitalizations for diabetics, asthmatics, etc., since OBRA started? I read that hospital censuses are down nationwide. Is pharmacy having an effect?

Greg Mood, R.Ph.

Longs Drug Store

Irvine, Calif.

Editor's note: Numerous studies have found that pharmacist interventions have saved patient lives and reduced health-care costs, including hospital stays. Many industry insiders, including some identified in the article, feel that the challenge for pharmacy is to share these results, which are well known to people within the profession, with those outside their field.

Feeling the heat

While the APhA is saying the pharmacy profession doesn't understand unionization ("Hot plate," Jan. 5 Drug Topics), I am certain that most of us understand the basic concept of collective bargaining. What the APhA and most other organizations claiming to represent pharmacists do not understand is that pharmacy today is all about volume and speed. No organization is taking on the tough issues facing the guys and gals in the trenches.

Pharmacists are turning to unions out of a sense of frustration with both the professional organizations and the boards of pharmacy over the lack of concern with current working conditions. I left a regional chain to join a supermarket-based operation at a much lower pay bracket but for a much lower stress level. How can a pharmacist work day after day at 200400 Rxs per day and maintain a professional level of competency? I have in the past had to fill 240 Rxs in a six-hour shift with only one "tech," trained by the company to run the software; I went home and had nightmares about misfills.

I have heard many "pharmacists" in management say something like, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." My answer to them? Maybe they should experience the heat today. I went into pharmacy to help people understand their illnesses and their medications, and I am happy now filling 400-500 Rxs per week.

John Reppert. R.Ph.

OTC deficiencies

I found your recent article by Mr. DePinto of Johnson & Johnson/ Merck Pharmaceutical Co. (Special Report, Drug Topics, Dec. 8) interesting but somewhat misleading. Certainly the goals of Mr. DePinto's program-to encourage OTC counseling-are admirable, and I support them. However, I question whether the situation is as bleak as the author makes it out to be.

The author states that students feel their education prepared them, but he never actually indicates what percentage of students feel very or highly comfortable with their ability to counsel in OTCs. I would be interested in knowing these data, as well as seeing the results of the following subgroups: those who have intern experience, those who are senior students or are in the Pharm.D. program, and those who have more than 500 hours of experience. My guess is that if you evaluated the results of these students who were nearing graduation, had more experience in intern hours, and/or were in the Pharm.D. program, the results would be a lot more positive. …

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