Drug Topics Voices 04-10-2015

April 10, 2015

Letters, e-mails, and posts to Drug Topics.

Call your local pharm

Re: “Too many pharmacists? Pharmacy school glut?” [March 18, drugtopics.com]:

See also: Not too many pharmacy schools? Your responses to one dean's assertion

Please do not buy into the pharmacy school propaganda. The sad truth is that 80% to 90% of these grads will end up employed with a big-box retailer (if they’re lucky). You can tell your district manager about all those great up-and-coming opportunities for pharmacists as he/she writes you up for not ringing the cash register fast enough.

If you are considering going to pharmacy school, do the sensible thing and call an actual working pharmacist to ask their opinion.

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

Brainwashed?

Ms. Jones writes, “My education will help me improve the health and quality of life of my future patients, provide me with opportunities beyond drug information and dispensing, and allow me to add value to our healthcare system.”

She’s only a student, so I don’t hold her personally responsible for believing in the “tooth fairy.” However, the people who shaped her vision of our profession need to be held responsible for any of her outstanding student loans.

As a pharmacist and pharmacy owner who also runs two telepharmacies, I can assure Ms. Jones that her perception of the practice of pharmacy and the underlying business fundamentals of our profession are going to make for one painful day of reckoning for her in the not too distant professional future.

Brian Petrucci
posted at drugtopics.com

 

Only you can take back pharmacy

The bottom line is we all work for the large PBMs. Whoever you work for in retail pharmacy depends on those ridiculous contracts from the PBMs. How do you negotiate for higher reimbursement when you give away free antibiotics or diabetic drugs, or charge $4 for everything? Some PBM contracts now have a dispensing fee of 35 cents!

Stand up for yourselves and stay strong and united. The PBMs and your corporate management couldn’t care less about you. Only you can take back the profession. You have more power than you think if you stand united.

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

We are the 99 percenters

Re: “Provider status is fine and dandy, but pharmacists need to get paid” [March 25; drugtopics.com]:

Thank you for this article. I think you speak for 99% of us working folks.

It is a shame that prospective pharmacy students and future graduates cling to the hope that provider status will magically bring about jobs that just  don’t exist.

Our bread and butter will always be dispensing and verification, and we need to make sure that automation and technology do not replace us in the near future. I am not confident in this, however, as these organizations that are supposed to represent pharmacy are too busy feeding lies to vulnerable students.

Alexis James
posted at drugtopics.com

It’s about standing together

Re: “The future of community pharmacy” [Mark Jacobs, March 2015]:

While MarK Jacobs identifies many issues surrounding how we can better define our profession, there are two additional points that need mention.

The first is that as a profession we are very different from other professions. The example Mark uses mentions chiropractic, optometry, and dentistry. Those professions are practiced the same in any healthcare setting. However, in the case of pharmacy, if we were to compare, for example, a hospital, institution, or community pharmacy, the practice of pharmacy would be far different in each.

See also: Is community pharmacy a dying profession?

The second point is that as pharmacists, we have never stood together on reimbursement. I have been in practice since 1984. Even then, independents and chain drugstores battled each other over copays. To attract customers, chains chose not to charge copays, and the independents did. These days it is much worse. Profit margins have diminished to a fraction of what we used to get paid. At times we are paid less than our cost.

Do we band together, state in one voice that we will not accept this anymore, and refuse to fill prescriptions from the PBMs? It has never occurred on the community level, although it has with some chain pharmacies. If we cannot even show solidarity over reimbursement on a community level, how can we possibly consider charging patients for extended consultations? If we try, the patient would simply go to another pharmacy that does not charge for such services.

Jonathan Shaatal, MS, RPh
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Correction: In the January CE article, “MTM opportunities in caring for the patient with CVD,” there was an error in Table 3, under the lipid-lowering effects of Epanova (omega-3 carboxylic acids, 2014). According to the package insert, the percent change from baseline in triglycerides for Epanova 4g/day is 31%, not 45%. The corrected table has been updated online. Also, at the time the article was written, FDA-approved products - Epanova and Omtryg (omega-3-acid ethyl esters A) - were not available on the market. Drug Topics regrets the errors.