Letters: April 14, 2008

April 14, 2008

Students need grounding in chemistry

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy has read with interest and concern the exchange of views on pharmacy education stimulated by Dennis Miller's Nov. 19, 2007, Viewpoint on his education after 30 years in practice. It is not my intent to offer a point-by-point rebuttal to anything he has written. Instead there are some important reflections on the changes in contemporary pharmacy education that should be on the record.

Much has changed in pharmacy education and practice since Pharmacist Miller and I were in school. However, one thing has not changed: to be a medication use expert equipped to deliver patient-centered care that is evidence-based, pharmacy educators must ensure that our graduates have a rock-solid scientific foundation. Indisputably, this includes chemistry from its elemental to sub-cellular applications.

Pharmacists must draw upon their grounding in chemistry and other sciences every day in the care of patients to ensure the safety and optimization of therapy.

The contemporary pharmacy curriculum is analogous to a crew team rowing in unison. If one oar isn't properly placed in the water, the performance of the entire team is affected. AACP will continue to collaborate with ACPE to ensure that nothing compromises students' access to a team of faculty which possesses the knowledge needed to produce quality pharmacists of the future.

Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Executive VP and CEO
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

Viva the unions!

I enjoyed Jim Plagakis' Feb. 11 article, Viva La France! I say, Viva the unions! I joined United Food and Commercial Workers in 1989 when I joined Thrifty Drugs of California (now Rite Aid). In our contract with the pharmacy, it stated we were permitted a 30-minute meal break. It sure is great to take a meal uninterrupted! The technician advises patients that the pharmacist is "out to lunch." If there is a "pick-up" Rx that is new, the patient is advised to return after the pharmacist has returned from his meal. If the "pick-up" is a refill, then the technician can release the medicine. We had a "Sunday clause" in our contract, too. That meant we would be paid during our meal period! Great, eh?

When the non-union pharmacists tried to take a meal break, many were denied this right. They approached the board of pharmacy to create a universal meal policy. After all, this is a safety and standard of practice issue, right? The board denied their request to create a meal policy. So the interested parties went to the Industrial Welfare Commission of California where a meal policy was created and is still in effect today. It is amazing what we had to go through just to grab a bite to eat!

Bill Kean
UFCW Local 1179 (now Local 5)
Pittsburg, Calif.
BillRx01@aol.com

Give wholesaler a break

Regarding your Feb. 11 letter, "How supply chain kinks can affect you," to suspend three Cardinal Health distribution centers and prevent them from selling controlled substances to pharmacies is an enormous task for the wholesaler to overcome. The DEA must have understood that as well. Not to say that Cardinal Health did not use poor judgment. However, the DEA should have worked closely with Cardinal to prevent pharmacies from being affected by the agency's actions.

In 2004 Hurricane Ivan hit Millvale, Pa., and I lost my pharmacy to a flood. It took Cardinal Health less than 24 hours to create my inventory and deliver it. So pharmacists should not forget that the company has the ability to do many good things as well.

Jennifer Cohen
Lincoln Pharmacy
Millvale, Pa.
jlclincoln@aol.com

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