Drug Topics Voices 04-10-2014


Letters, e-mails, comments, and posts from Drug Topics readers

Fan the flames

Re: “Tobacco sales in pharmacies: What will it take to quit for good?” [Dispensed as Written, March 2014]:

We applaud CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling cigarettes at its 7,600 stores by October 1.

Let us call on Walgreens, Rite Aid, and other chain pharmacies and retail outlets to follow CVS’ lead.

We must also advocate strongly for legislation at the local, state, and national levels to ban tobacco sales at pharmacies.

Also, let us urge chain pharmacies and retailers not to sell electronic cigarettes, and let us advocate for legislation to ban their sales at such outlets.

Now more than ever, pharmacists have a significant role to play in making the goal of eliminating pharmacy tobacco sales a reality nationwide.

Anh Lê
Frederick S. Mayer, RPh, MPH

San Francisco, Calif.

Editor’s note: This letter is an extract from an extended commentary on pharmacy tobacco sales posted at the DT Blog. To read the latest posts, go to www.DrugTopics.com.


Consider the source

Re: “Rx drug abuse: An overview” (Paul Nguyen, Student Corner, March 2014):

Paul, before you let the DEA mislead you, you need to know that most of the rest of the world uses codeine and
dihydrocodeine, not hydrocodone. So the statistic suggesting that the United States uses a large percentage of the world’s production is true, but quite skewed when taken out of context.

And before you put too much confidence in these PMP programs, search the web for “how to make a fake driver’s license” and see how many results you get. The only people you can catch with a PMP are those who are too cheap, stupid, or lazy to get a fake ID.

Those whose primary objective is to divert drugs or purchase large quantities of PSE have this figured out. There has been a major upswing in medical identity theft. Here’s an example of one guy who got caught with 76 fake IDs: http://bit.ly/fraudID.

In my opinion, the DEA has an agenda, and being totally truthful is not necessarily part of that agenda.

Steven R. Ariens, PD
New Albany, Ind.

Second verse

Placing HCD combos on Sched II will only drive abusers elsewhere. Drug abuse is like sex: You ain’t gonna get rid of it, baby! Our war on drugs is a joke, and any thinking person knows it.

Good luck, DEA. You have been nothing but a laugh a minute for the 52 years I have practiced pharmacy.

Kenneth Burrows, RPh
Las Vegas, Nev.


Follow the money

Rutgers University plans on offering a 10-year program, culminating in a PharmD/MD degree. To me the only motive for such a program must be to add money to Rutgers and debt to the student. The reality is that you are going to practice one profession or the other.

Years ago there were podiatrists who went to pharmacy school and pharmacists who went to podiatry school. I know of no one who had both degrees and practiced each profession full time.

Since most students would favor medicine under such a scheme, they would take the traditional route of a four-year undergraduate program and four years of medical school, saving two additional years.

Since most of the chains are adding clinics, a more sensible degree would be a PharmD-PA (Physician Assistant) degree, where the drug expert would have the ability to prescribe.

My question to Rutgers is: If pharmacy students enter this program, are they guaranteed automatic acceptance to medical school? And what is the program’s anticipated cost to students?

Robert S. Katz, PharmD
Stamford, Conn.

Correction: In the article “Med synchronization through community pharmacies brings greater adherence” [Up Front in Depth, March 2014; ], the legend is incorrect in the graph headed “Impact of Medication Synchronization on Adherence (Measured as PDC) by Therapy.” The gold column should read “Synchronized Medications” and the red column “Non-Synchronized Medications.” Drug Topics regrets the error.


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