Magazine article Drug Topics

Should Only Pharmacists Make the Offer to Counsel?

Magazine article Drug Topics

Should Only Pharmacists Make the Offer to Counsel?

Article excerpt

Should only pharmacists make the offer to counsel?

Pharmacists around the country should take note that some state pharmacy boards are mulling over a New York State mandate that only a pharmacist or pharmacy intern can make the offer to counsel patients.

Beginning on June 18, New York pharmacists or pharmacy interns must make the offer to counsel prior to dispensing the prescription, according to a new regulation adopted by the state pharmacy board. In order to help free up some time for the pharmacist to offer the counseling, the pharmacy board now allows one pharmacist to supervise two technicians, up from the old one-to-one ratio, said Lawrence Mokhiber, pharmacy board executive secretary. The new regulations also permit electronic prescriptions and refill script transfers between pharmacists, and more tasks for technicians.

"We've gotten a pretty positive response, more than we expected," said Mokhiber. "People realize that this is what pharmacists are trained to do. It's a commonsense package. Every group worked constructively with the board, and there was room for compromise. We're proud of what New York did. We do have a chance to reduce interruptions to pharmacists and to impact medication errors."

New York pharmacists should congratulate their board for enacting the new counseling regulation, said Charles Young, executive director, Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy. "With responsible backup, I believe pharmacists should be required to make the offer and to provide the enhanced patient care services they are properly trained and educated to deliver," he said. "I applaud the New York board for taking a giant leap forward in shifting the paradigm of pharmaceutical care. The responsibility for decision-making in patient counseling now rests with the registered pharmacist rather than the company."

The Massachusetts pharmacy board voted in January to make the offer to counsel mandatory for the pharmacist or intern working under supervision, Young said. But implementation of the change was postponed until technicians could be properly trained and registered. "As more boards of pharmacy, including Massachusetts, consider ways of regulating for improved outcomes, this is a great first step in walking the walk, rather than talking the talk," he added. …

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