Jam-packed with news, 2001 had its highs and lows


Pharmacists identify top news events for 2001



Jam-packed with news, 2001 had its highs and lows

It's "always something." That line from Gilda Radner is a good way to describe 2001, which certainly hasn't lacked for drama.

Asked to name the top news story for pharmacy in 2001, community pharmacists chose President Bush's discount card proposal as their No. 1 choice. Next in line was the heavy coverage of the pharmacist shortage, followed by the headline-grabbing incident involving the Kansas City pharmacist who was indicted for diluting cancer drugs. Another event noted by respondents was the introduction of bills in Congress to recognize pharmacists as Medicare providers, which came up next on the list.

It should be noted that since our questionnaire was prepared before anthrax anxiety gripped the country, the clamor for Cipro was therefore not identified as the top cause célèbre for pharmacy this year. Had our questionnaire gone into the field later, the mania over Cipro would probably have ended up as the leading news story, akin to the furor over Viagra, when it was launched several years ago.

Shifting from news events to newsmakers, whom did pharmacists credit with having done the most for pharmacy this past year? This question drew a panoply of answers. Some independent pharmacists named Calvin Anthony, who is relinquishing his post as executive v.p. of the National Community Pharmacists Association at the end of this year. Others listed Texas pharmacist Bob Gude, whose leadership in the discriminatory pricing suit finally bore fruit in the form of settlement checks to community pharmacies. On the chain side, many respondents identified Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, as their chief advocate. Explaining why he had chosen Fuller, one chain executive said the association chief "constantly bird-dogs issues in Congress and has great communications to the field."

Here are some other individuals who got a thumbs-up from pharmacists: U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman, who threw a monkey wrench into President Bush's discount card plan, and Sen. Tim Johnson (D, S.D.), who introduced the Medicare Pharmacists Services Coverage Act, which, if passed, will set up a mechanism to pay pharmacists for medication management.

Overall, are pharmacists satisfied with the way their association leaders have represented their interests this past year? Chain pharmacists gave their representatives the biggest vote of confidence, with 85% of them saying Yes, followed by hospital pharmacists (81%), and then community pharmacists (58%).

Judy Chi


Judy Chi. Jam-packed with news, 2001 had its highs and lows.

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