Letters to the editor

August 21, 2006

Regarding your July 10 cover story, "Steering clear of bad apples," I agree that a background check should be required of all technicians, including the pharmacist. Before you start blaming the pharmacy tech, how about an ounce of prevention? Why not place a security camera in an area where you are most likely to find inventory stolen? It deters theft. I work under it every day, and so does the pharmacist.

Another is checking your inventory on a regular basis. I would like to see anyone who is interested in becoming a pharmacy tech go through a degree program-even if it is just an associate degree-and take an exam to be certified at the end. This way you get a more mature and dedicated person working alongside you.

Not everybody can be a pharmacy tech. It requires somebody who can multitask, articulate, be very detailed oriented, and someone who has both math and people skills. I am a certified pharmacy technician with well over 20 years' experience and I view myself as a professional. A lot of the new hires I see are very immature people who view being a technician as a temporary job. Job turnover is high. If the bottom line is saving money, take the time to check out anybody who works in this profession. Treat pharmacy technicians as professionals and hold them accountable for their actions.

While there are many great technicians who support the pharmacists in their duties, there are quite a number of "bad apples" in another sense other than drug diversion. A colleague of mine who works in a large chain worked with a certified technician who did not respect the pharmacist but believed herself to be in charge. She purposely misfilled prescriptions in order to get the pharmacist into trouble. If approached, she would pretend to be sick and leave to go home. I have worked with a technician who stated, "There is no difference between me and you." All technicians, along with our state boards of pharmacy, must realize that pharmacists are in command.

C. Donovan, R.Ph.
South Carolina

Help smokers butt out

My good friend Dan Hussar is once again on target-as he always is. Referring to his Viewpoint in your July 10 issue calling for Chantix to go OTC for smoking cessation, any time pharmacy can step up to the plate and help humanity, let's do it now, not tomorrow. Today's pharmacists are an invaluable source of health care. To our friends at FDA, listen to Dan. Everyone will benefit.

Louis Mitchell, PD
Monroe Township, N.J.

Expect more clashes with doctors

Regarding your July 10 Punch & Judy, entitled "Docs vs. R.Ph.s: A clash of wills," it is inevitable that this clash will continue to escalate. While it is true that doctors are extensively trained to be doctors, it is also true that the pharmacists who have been coming out of schools with their Pharm.D. degrees are not being trained simply to count pills and mix IVs. In fact, we know more about the docs' trade and healing information/practices than they know about our areas of expertise. Expect more and more attacks on pharmacists as the docs begin to realize just how capable today's pharmacists are.

Steve Mitchell, R.Ph.
Longmont, Colo.

In concurrence with your Punch & Judy article, where are these physicians getting their ideas about us? During our education, we've been rounding with docs and med students for at least 25 years. They've had the opportunity to see us in action from a clinical perspective. As for compounding, pharmacists have been doing that since time immemorial. We're not really doing anything new-there are just more of us doing it!