Letters to the editor

May 15, 2005

Reality check

Aperfect analogy of pharmacy today is heard in the plea of Oliver Twist's "Can I have a little more?"

A pharmacist is a professional. A pharmacist owner of a pharmacy is a retail merchant. You buy a product (average inventory of $250,000) and sell it at a profit. Unlike with doctors, lawyers, and accountants, nobody (with rare exceptions) pays you two cents for your professional expertise. You are dealing with the most profitable commodity known and your share is zilch.

Wake up! Nobody can sell legend drugs except a licensed pharmacist. It amounts to a virtual monopoly. Why not take advantage of it?

Mort Leitner, R.Ph.
Torrance, Calif.
mortl@earthlink.net

Desiccants discombobulate Jim Plagakis' April 4 article on desiccants was great. Here's one more on the same subject.

A customer called us two days after getting her Rx filled for Lipitor. There was a desiccant inside with the written warning "DO NOT EAT." The customer asked us when should she eat-she has remained hungry for two days! Go figure...

Prashant Patel, R.Ph.prx315@yahoo.com

Remember patients' rights My jaw dropped when I read your April 4 article, "Pharmacist faces discipline for refusal to transfer script."

I am in complete agreement with the Wisconsin legislators: This pharmacist got off easy. In my opinion, his license should be suspended indefinitely, and, if I had my way, those supporting his actions would also have their licenses suspended. As a profession, we need to take a stand on this issue now, because if we don't, where will it end? Will pharmacists be permitted to refuse to fill prescriptions based on race? On sexual preference? Or maybe because they just don't like the patient? The line needs to be drawn.

As human beings, we all have the God-given right to our own personal beliefs, but at the same time we do NOT have the right to force our personal beliefs and values on someone who may not share those beliefs. It seems that, in this situation, the pharmacist, as well as his supporters, forgot that the patient also has rights. She had the right to have that prescription filled, and the pharmacist had the duty either to fill the prescription or see that it was filled by someone who respects this right.

It says right in the APhA Code of Ethics, "A pharmacist respects the autonomy and the dignity of each patient." It goes on to say, "A pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients." In this case, the patient's right to the prescription was completely ignored.

So I say to all of you pharmacists out there, it's great to support our rights, and please continue to do so-but not at the expense of our patients. Let us never forget that our main purpose is to serve our patients, not ourselves.

Erik Clausen
Pharm.D./MBA candidate
eclausen1168@yahoo.com

Women driving up wages? I could not agree more with Jim Plagakis regarding his thoughts on women in pharmacy (March 21). I'm a manager at an independent pharmacy, and we have two locations in which we employ five pharmacists-one a woman. She is a terrific pharmacist and does her job as well as I do, if not better. However, she works only two to three days a week because she has two small children. I don't blame her for this, but how do you justify graduating from pharmacy school with over $100,000 in debt and then working limited hours or not at all?