Magazine article Drug Topics

Viewpoint: R.Ph.S: Let's Control Our Own Destiny

Magazine article Drug Topics

Viewpoint: R.Ph.S: Let's Control Our Own Destiny

Article excerpt

In the Judeo-Christian world, B.C. translates to "before the birth of Christ." Modern calendars are based on this event, and time is measured by this event.

In pharmacy, B.C. has come to be known as "before cards." We all remember the days when a patient paid for an Rx, received a bill, and mailed it away for reimbursement.

Many pharmacists look back on the "good old days," when there was time to counsel. Government thinks counseling came into being with OBRA '90; in fact, R.Ph.s have been doing this for centuries. Coming into the computer age, pharmacists developed better technologies to augment their professional skills, and counseling rose to a higher plateau--well before pharmacists were mandated to counsel.

Analyzing why the system works for third parties, we find the unmistakable answer to be: WE LET IT! Community pharmacy abets its own demise. We fill the emergency supply Rx when a patient's mail order is late. We even counsel these patients, even though we don't dispense the Rxs. Why? Because it's what we are. We care. We keep their customers healthy and happy!

Is all this just breast beating to vent the issue and make me feel better? No. I'd like to propose a twofold solution. First, let's create some unhappy customers. When a claim is rejected for lack of a proper ID no., an incorrect group no., a carrier change, and so forth, let the patient call the benefit manager and deal with the frustration. Also, when we are asked to switch medications to the plan's "proper formulary drug" or "the therapeutically equivalent generic drug," let the patient return to the doctor, and let the doctor make all the calls to find out what he is "mandated" to prescribe.

If this sounds harsh, unprofessional, and economically unsound, just stop and think how we are treated. Are we treated as professionals? Are we economically better off? …

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