Pharmacists Want Peers to Seize Cardiovascular High Ground

Article excerpt

Two North Carolina pharmacists who run disease management clinics in physicians' offices are spearheading a drive to mobilize R.Ph.s into cardiovascular disease management before nurses solidify their claim to that drug therapy turf.

Forming a national task force for pharmacists in cardiovascular diseases is the goal of Michelle Bozovich and her husband, Phillip. The young Greensboro, N.C., couple owns Bennett's Pharmacy and Drug Therapy Management Inc., which contracts with physicians' offices to provide disease management services, including diabetes, lipids, and anti-coagulation. They now serve six physician groups, with two more coming on board in May. The four R.Ph.s log about 100 patient visits weekly. The contracts are based on an hourly rate. The community pharmacy, which is set in a large medical building, also gets physician referrals for patient care, such as asthma, diabetes, incontinence, interstitial cystitis, and erectile dysfunction.

The Bozoviches got fired up about creating a pharmacist task force while attending a recent National Nurses Lipid Clinic Task Force meeting in Las Vegas. Bozovich said she and her husband were "astonished at the growing number of nurses who are trying to make drug therapy selections in patients with dyslipidemia." As pharmacists, they also felt decidedly unwelcome in the midst of the nurses. They were joined by the only other pharmacist at the meeting, Cheri Laughlin, assistant clinical professor of pharmacy, Ohio Northern University Raabe College of Pharmacy.

"All the speakers were R.N.s; the information was, at times, completely inaccurate," Bozovich said. "For example, `Glucophage is the safest drug to use in the elderly diabetic patient' and 'Don't worry about myopathies when using combination lipidlowering therapies.' Why not use pharmacists to teach these issues?"

Giving pharmacists practical information on how to set up cardiovascular clinics in physicians' offices is the goal of the task force. …