Magazine article Drug Topics

Cancer Patients Want TLC from Pharmacists

Magazine article Drug Topics

Cancer Patients Want TLC from Pharmacists

Article excerpt

Pharmacists can't do much about the location of their store or the cost of drugs, but they can provide the personal caring that cancer patients also look for when choosing a pharmacy, reports a recent study.

When it comes to choosing a pharmacy, cancer patients aren't much different from other consumers, said Curtis Black, Merck professor of clinical pharmacy, University of Toledo College of Pharmacy. A study of 81 cancer patients that he conducted with pharmacy student Eric Spangler found that a convenient location tops their wish list, followed by low prices. But the R.Ph. is also a factor, especially among patients taking a lot of medications.

"Patients want to know that their pharmacist knows who they are, that he or she has their best interest in mind and will take time with them," said Black. "They want a sense of caring and understanding. Spending time, not a lot of time, with patients is going to be the key to patient loyalty."

The idea of getting a follow-up, how-ya'-doin' phone call from the pharmacist got a big thumbs-up from the patients who were presented with a list of pharmacy services they'd like to see. "It's that sense of caring," said Black. "A phone call has some intimacy in that the pharmacist is talking specifically to them to see how they're doing or ask about any reactions to the medication or to answer questions. The patients felt that would be an important factor to build loyalty. We found that having literature or videotapes was likely to influence preference, but the thing that stood out was phone service. …

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