Drug Topics Voices


Drug Topics readers have their say.


What’s the message?

Regarding Gary Einsidler’s letter to the editor in the August issue of Drug Topics [“Pharmacy tobacco bans don’t work”]:


I agree with him that people who want to purchase tobacco products will go to other vendors if they cannot buy these products in pharmacies.


However, we need to consider one of the founding principles of our profession: We are pledged to act with “conviction of conscience dedicated to the best interests of our patients.”


In light of that premise, how can we justify selling tobacco products on one aisle and medications that treat the consequences of using such products on another? Is that not a conflict of interest? What message are we sending to our patients? Is the financial bottom line more important then our concern for our patients’ health?


One consequence of the Affordable Care Act is that pharmacists are going to be needed to help provide healthcare services to millions of people who will now have healthcare coverage. Our profession is finally acquiring equal status with other healthcare disciplines that already have unquestioned membership on the healthcare team. 


For the healthcare team approach to work, our primary concern must be the welfare of our patients. Otherwise, how can we expect to claim the respect and trust of our partners on the team?


Cancer-producing tobacco products do not belong in our pharmacies. In San Francisco and in Marin County, where I serve as president of the Marin County Pharmacists Association, pharmacy tobacco sales have been outlawed since 2008. If the only way to get tobacco products out of pharmacies in the United States is by government ban, then so be it.

Aglaia Panos, PharmD

Marin, California


Fries with that?

I’m still applauding Jim Plagakis’ [June] column, “Apply sparingly to right ear until nurse stops shouting.” It conjured so many specters of pharmacy’s past that I had to ask, “Where did the healthcare system go wrong?” This question has so many facets and layers of context that it would make anyone’s head spin, but my question specifically refers to the poor treatment other healthcare professionals give to highly educated professionals like pharmacists. 


I have long equated being a pharmacist with being a manager at a fast-food restaurant. I often feel like asking an inconsiderate nurse or a belligerent patient, “Would you like fries with that?” Getting 15 minutes to prepare a medication and check for potentially lethal drug interactions seems to be way too much to ask for these days.


Then there are the “clerical” errors of doctors and nurses. Exactly when did the arrogance that seems to come with having the two letters MD or DO after your name transfer over to nurses, MAs, and receptionists? These menial employees seem to think that because pharmacists are at the end of the medication delivery industry (essentially), they can talk to us like we’re about to serve them their Big Macs. It is a shame that highly trained professionals have to endure such verbal assaults from people who are, in most cases, less educated - yet seemingly more entitled to respect.


I think that the take-home message is that we are ALL busy individuals, all striving for the same outcome: to ensure the health and wellbeing of our patients. 


Do mistakes happen? Yes, of course they do. But there needs to be less “we don’t do things that way” and more “let me see what I can do to help you.”

Ryan Racino, PharmD, AAHIVP



Seen on Facebook/DrugTopics

Commenting on the article “Seniors oppose mandatory mail order, survey finds[Drug Topics, September 6, http://bit.ly/srmailorder], reader Sharon Beust Sanchez writes:


“When we had the pharmacy, one day Dr. O’Bryant’s nurse came in with a vial of injectable gold shot. She thought something was funny about it. I told her it was MAIL ORDER. She asked how could I tell, since she was still holding it. I told her that the vial had cooked in someone’s mailbox. The injectable should have been lemon yellow, but it was peanut-color brown. Now, do you want mail order?” 

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