Drug Topics Voices 10-10-2014

October 10, 2014

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

What a waste

Re: “Specialty pharmacy: David does the necessary” [David Stanley, View from the Zoo, September]:

A family member brought a patient’s drugs in for disposal after he passed away. Included in this pile were 15 bottles of 120 Nexavar tablets, a “specialty” drug for several types of cancer that do not respond to conventional therapy. I discovered that each bottle’s acquisition cost is over $10,000. That’s more than $150,000 worth of meds.

A call to the specialty pharmacy produced no information as to how I could get this medication to a needy patient. E-mails to several oncologists who prescribe this drug were never answered.

What a waste of resources! First, no one followed this patient to see why there was noncompliance, and second, they continued to send bottle after bottle to the patient. There should be a way not to waste these products, which still have the seal on each bottle.

Mike Miller, RPh
Duncansville, Penn.

We need another option

Re: “We’re all in this together” [In My View, Jim Rawlings, September].

I am a 2014 grad who is also a career-changer. I want to thank Goose Rawlings for expressing an opinion I hold as well. The current system of training is geared to only certain types of pharmacists who can fit the mold. I went through pharmacy school with a wife and two kids! I cannot go for extended residency training. We need another option.

We need to make ASHP and APhA listen to this message. They will not see another dime out of me!

Matthew D. Balish, PharmD
Salisbury, Md.

Where are the programs?

I graduated 24 years ago with a BS Pharm and would love to further my education and get a PharmD degree. I recently started looking around for a nontraditional PharmD program for practicing pharmacists and was surprised that there are so few to choose from. I found only six nontraditional PharmD programs accredited by ACPE, and the price tag for each one was more than $60,000. Each program requires at least four clinical rotations and about two years of part-time classwork. Some of these programs also require travel a couple times a year to the university where they are offered.

You would think with new pharmacy  schools opening up every year that there would be many nontradional programs available for working pharmacists. Maybe ACPE should require all pharmacy schools to offer a nontraditional PharmD program in order to receive accreditation. That might also bring the price down and give us better quality courses that can teach us new skills and help us pass the BCPS once we complete the program.

Ellen Kozlowski
posted at drugtopics.com

 

22 years and ouch

Re: “Are legacy pharmacists an endangered species?” [Jim Plagakis, JP at Large, September]:

I am one of those legacy pharmacists, loyal, experienced, and hard-working - and let go after 22+ years of service. What do we do about it? Who is our voice?

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

Second verse, same as the first

I thought I was reading my own comment; I experienced the same thing after 22+ years of service. Unfortunately, nothing will ever be done about it. So much for honoring your longtime
employees ...

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

Time for a grassroots movement?

Jim, I think you’ve just created a new column for DT: National Pharmacy Ombudsman. The professional organizations are worthless on this issue, so you’d probably get lots of choice work :)

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

Jump now

Hopefully, some of the younger pharmacists will read the handwriting on the wall before it happens to them. They should jump ship now and work for themselves. Some of us in my generation are looking for young pharmacists to take over for us.

Richard McCoy
posted at drugtopics.com

 

BOP unchained

Re: “Should only pharmacists lead state boards?” [Mark Lowery, Sept. 5, drug-
topics.com]:

Yes! Boards should be made up of pharmacists and a consumer advocate. No board member should be connected to a chain. Ideally, board members would be retired pharmacists current with their registrations and completely familiar with all laws and regulations. This would
ensure a fair decision to any pharmacy involved in violation of the law.

Bob Katz, RPh
posted at drugtopics.com

Depends on the job description

California has had a nonpharmacist executive for many years. The current incumbent has done a terrific job in representing the interests of the public along with that of pharmacy. 

Robert LeWinter
posted at drugtopics.com

Subject to board decisions

The term “leader” may be a misnomer. Is the person actually the “leader” or an
executive director who works for the board and is responsible for the daily operations of the organization, ensuring compliance with board decisions or directions? A full-time executive director may not the board’s “leader” but rather its employee. 

Leo Lawless
posted at drugtopics.com

 

Last line of defense

Re: “Some NYC pharmacists blocking Plan B sales to males” [Mark Lowery, September 12, drugtopics.com]:

I am strongly pro-choice, and I believe that choice belongs 100% to women. I have carried Plan B since it became available and have always been willing to sell it and answer questions about it openly. 

Still, after all these years, it makes me very uncomfortable to sell it to a man. It is not his choice to use this type of birth control. If he wants birth control, he should buy condoms.

I worry that he will force her to take it. I worry that he will give it to her without her knowledge or consent. I worry that he is a rapist or child molester. 

Men buying Plan B should always warrant a little extra scrutiny from the pharmacist. Once again, we are that last line of defense.

Bill Sarraf
posted at drugtopics.com

And what about Cialis?

Bill Sarraf, do you also scrutinize
underage girls purchasing Plan B, who might have been the victims of assault or statutory rape? 

And if Cialis should be approved for OTC availability, will you apply the same scrutiny to females who desire to purchase the drug? Might they not be using it to attack younger males? 

Where exactly do you draw the line in your “line of defense”: social ideology, political ideology, pharmacotherapeutics, drug safety? You appear to be applying social activism to your practice. 

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

Need to see the red flags

In the past I have dispensed Plan B to male customers who were buying it to give to their partners. In these scenarios, I put the customer under the microscope more than I would a woman, but I don’t think I would ever turn the customer away, unless there were obvious red flags or signs of gross misunderstanding. 

Before I was licensed, my wife sent me to the pharmacy a couple of times to pick up Plan B for her. The experience was always positive. In hindsight, I’m not sure how I would have felt if I had been turned away, but it definitely would have added unneeded stress and anxiety to an already sensitive situation. 

The delay in obtaining emergency contraception might have resulted in unwanted pregnancy, which would have changed our life circumstances significantly. As a person, I’m not comfortable putting that on anyone.

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

It’s the law

These pharmacists who are not selling Plan B to adult males need an education in pharmacy law and the rights of U.S. citizens under the Constitution. 

They should also be penalized in some way; otherwise they will learn nothing and will continue to repeat their inappropriate actions.

Tom Simpson
posted at drugtopics.com

 

Supplements and freedom of choice

Re: “Fraud in the pharmacy?” [W. Steven Pray, In My View, September 2014]:

Give people some credit; there is
already a warning on every one of those products that claims of therapeutic value have not been proven. People can try them and stop buying them if they don’t work. You should be asking why people spend their hard-earned money on them for years if, as you suggest, they don’t work. I don’t assume my
patients are all stupid or gullible, and you shouldn’t either.

Anonymous
posted at drugtopics.com

Consider the source

Dr. Pray has written a very informative article. What makes these products so potentially dangerous is that the pharmacy and the consumer have no idea what country has manufactured the product. Most likely it’s China, and that should send shivers up anyone’s spine.

Bob Katz, RPh
posted at drugtopics.com

 

And the contents

You are absolutely correct. Further, they often contain prescription medications and are not labeled as to their real content. 

W. Steven Pray, DPh
posted at drugtopics.com