Magazine article Drug Topics

Superpharmacists Finding Cash Rewards in Nontraditional Practice

Magazine article Drug Topics

Superpharmacists Finding Cash Rewards in Nontraditional Practice

Article excerpt

Wanted: Pharm.D., 10 to 15 years of clinical experience, top communications skills, able to work with physicians and nonmedical decisionmakers. Salary range $150,000 to ???

Sound too good to be true? Not according to pharmacist and managed care consultant Perry Cohen. Pharmacists who are willing to venture outside the bounds of traditional practice can reap the kind of financial and psychological rewards that most retail and hospital practitioners only dream about.

Cohen has developed a thriving consulting business in Connecticut-- The Pharmacy Group, LLC-around his experience as a managed care pharmacist. Among other superpharmacists, Robert LeWinter took early retirement as pharmacy director at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center nearly a decade ago. After a stint developing new programs for a specialist physician group, he's marketing a new outpatient Rx delivery system for Automated Drug Distribution Systems.

University of Texas and Health Sciences University pharmacy and psychology professor Larry Ereshefsky wears multiple hats. He dispenses expert advice to health-system pharmacy and therapeutics committees, consults with physicians on individual patients, and answers product design questions for drug manufacturers-- all on top of his academic duties.

"The opportunities are there, you just have to grab them," said Lucinda Maine, senior vp. for professional affairs at the American Pharmaceutical Association. "No one else in health care has the insights into medicines that pharmacists have, or has a comparable body of knowledge. People are willing to pay for that expertise, and pay well."

Maine has seen firsthand just how well. Her husband, a hospital pharmacist, left the inpatient world for a pharmacy-related business. He matched his hospital salary the first year, she said, and has steadily climbed the income scale every year since. "It's hard to stay on the front line taking care of patients," Maine added. "It's a tough life, like teachers or nurses. And the [traditional] compensation pales compared with what is available in nontraditional roles."

Short of starting their own company, RPh.s will find that drug manufacturers offer some of the most lucrative nontraditional roles for them. Industry brings in outside pharmacists to advise on all stages of drug development, Ereshefsky said. "My time is well compensated for working with drug development, typically from the very earliest stages. These can be very long-term commitments."

Pharmacists also have a growing role in drug marketing. …

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