Magazine article Drug Topics

Eugene White Remains a Pharmacist Ahead of His Time

Magazine article Drug Topics

Eugene White Remains a Pharmacist Ahead of His Time

Article excerpt

It's taken thirtysomething years for Eugene V. White to feel vindicated for his pioneering advocacy of patient-oriented professional pharmacy practice, but the Berryville, Va., pharmacist still marches to a drumbeat many hear only faintly, if at all.

There will come a day when pharmacists no longer practice in drugstores and pharmacies, predicted White, who said he was ridiculed for years after he pioneered the patient drug profile and office-based practice in 1960. He thinks too many in pharmacy mistakenly assume that "Wal-Mart will be around for the next 10 centuries" or that pharmacy cannot exist without the front end.

"We have to reprofessionalize the profession," said White, 69. "We have to join the medical team as the pharmacotherapist. Physicians can't do it all. Nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants can't do it. None of them are qualified to prescribe. We have to get pharmacists out of the store environment. Pharmacists, as pharmacotherapists, must be independent practitioners. They must form close, cooperative relationships with physicians as part of a team but without being under their thumbs."

Chain drugstores and pharmaceutical care just don't go together, as far as White is concerned. "If you have three pharmacists dispensing 600 prescriptions a day, how can they do their job properly?" he asked rhetorically. They can't. People don't realize that the new breed of pharmacist will step up to this new role. People used to tell optometrists that they would never get out of the jewelry store. Academia hasn't bought the idea that the pharmacist will eventually be out of the drugstore. Once patients see what we can do, and that is a key, pharmacists in the chain environment won't be able to continue to succeed. There won't be a drugstore. I won't live to see it happen, but others will."

If pharmacists are to move beyond the commercialized drugstore with its beauty aids and "Barbie dolls," they must seize absolute control over the tools of their profession, namely the drugs, White insisted. …

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