Drug Topics Voices 07-10-2015

July 10, 2015

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

Inactive ≠ harmless

Re: “Pharmacists must guard vulnerable patients against inactive ingredients in medications” [Joel Claycomb, Up Front in Depth, June 10]:

Thank you, Joel. I appreciate your article.

My daughter is very sensitive to yellow #5, and while we were alerted to its potential for allergies and problems even 30 years ago while we were in pharmacy school, it can still be found in a lot of products. Ibuprofen tablets, for example, are a source, with yellow #5 as one of the colors used to make the ubiquitous ‘rust’ tablets.

It is not easy to discern such ingredients. When we have asked, pharmacists have and have not responded nicely to a request of “will you check to see whether this contains yellow #5?”

Inactive does not always mean inactive. Why dyes that are known to cause issues are not replaced or removed seems crazy to me.

Thanks for shedding light on a topic we don’t see discussed much.

Dr. Jvantyle
Posted at drugtopics.com

Misread the red flag

Re: “Treat, don’t indict” [Robert Mabee, In My View, June 10]:

For several years we had a middle-aged patient who was the typical “red-flag” consumer of hydrocodone. Wanted it six days early, lost his bottle, dog ate it, neighbor stole it, multiple pharmacies, etc. We did not refuse his prescriptions, but never filled them early. We counseled him on several occasions about his increased usage, possible acetaminophen toxicity, etc. He admitted he used “too many,” so the doctor prescribed Fentanyl patches.

Two weeks later, his father told us he was on life support. Seems he had advanced lung cancer but never knew it, and had been treating pain that must have been intolerable. Three days after he went on life support, they pulled the plug.

We truly thought the guy was an abuser. The guilt associated with finding out we judged wrongly weighs on our conscience.

Posted at drugtopics.com


Just do it

Re: “Pharmacists of America: Which side are you on?” [Eddie Morales, June 16, drugtopics.com]:

Pharmacists have a right to form a union. We should do it, and take our profession back.

Posted at drugtopics.com

Pharmacists only

We need parity in laws across the country, tech ratio, overtime, meal periods, etc. All pharmacists, including managers, should by law be allowed to join a National Union - one union of pharmacists only. Then real change will happen.

Posted at drugtopics.com

Go guild

Instead of generic union membership, how about a national pharmacists’ guild? With the threat of nationwide walkouts, even the most clueless politician or corporate wonk would have to pay attention.

Posted at drugtopics.com

California reamin’

Pharmacy “unions” were decimated in California. Shot down by groups like Sav-On (now defunct), Kaiser, CPhA (at that time an owners-only group), the BOP, and SEIU [Service Employees International Union].

In San Francisco, all pharmacists were in the SEIU. The pharmacists who joined the “union” were all fired, and the courts in California gave no support to individual pharmacists - only to the big groups, which  had the money to sway the legislature and courts.

Dr. MToole
Posted at drugtopics.com

Apples and oranges

Don’t be afraid of unions. A good union is nothing more than an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of the trade, improving safety standards, increasing the number of employees an employer assigns to a task, and better working conditions. This may also include the negotiation of wages, rules governing hiring, firing, and promotion of workers, and benefits.

When I was a union carpenter, it was forbidden to take advantage of workers by forcing them to work in or contribute to unsafe conditions, or to work without extra compensation for performing extra work. It was forbidden to delegate our work to nonmembers. In my union experience, no employer was ever able to injure my physical and mental health, livelihood, job security, dignity, or self-respect in pursuit of their own greed.

The only thing I regret is that 23 years ago, when I thought I was taking a step up in the world, I walked away from respect, vesting, seniority, pension contributions, a carpentry job I loved, and the union protections of an-all-for-one-and-one-for-all brotherhood. I’d be retired with a pension by now if I had stayed in the carpenters’ union. Instead, I gave up all that and invested in a pharmacy education and career that has left me feeling nothing but expendable, intimidated, under-recognized, and unappreciated, working in circumstances that include painfully long hours on my feet, diminishing benefits, screaming customers, screaming managers, threats of termination in every corporate communication or mandate, etc.

As Eddie Morales asks, which do you think is worse, a rotten corporation or a rotten union?

Posted at drugtopics.com


It’ll cost ya

Re: “California pharmacists soon able to prescribe birth control” [Mark Lowery, June 23, drugtopics.com]:

You can bet you’ll be kissing your inexpensive professional liability insurance rates good-bye if you go down this path. What do obstetricians pay for their coverage, over $100K/year? This is a huge departure from simple “morning-after” pill sales.

Posted at drugtopics.com

The sharks are circling

Any woman who would consult a pharmacist for birth control is nuts. The lawyers must be lining up for this one.

Posted at drugtopics.com

Hmmm ...

How can the profession grow strong internally when so many letters in Drug Topics are signed Anonymous?

Ira Chasen
Gilbert, Ariz.