Letters to the editor: February 19, 2007

February 19, 2007

The PBMs' argument that payment of clean claims within 30 days is industry standard for providers may be valid if pharmacies are still processing paper claims. Today, with the advent of computers and instant adjudication of pharmacy claims by PBMs, a better business model would be the processing of credit cards found in most retail pharmacies. Once a pharmacy accepts a credit card, the bank processing the claim usually deposits the adjudicated payment within a couple of business days into the pharmacy's bank account.

How many businessmen do you think will continue to support the PBMs' stance if they have to wait 30 days for their credit card payment instead of a few days? The majority of the independent pharmacies are forced to give PBMs interest-free loans while paying significant interest on lines of credit to cover the gap between paying their vendors and payment by PBMs. It is time to end this abuse by PBMs.

John R. Stephens, owner
Canales Pharmacy
Rochester, N.Y.
JohnRSRPh@aol.com

Your Jan. 8 issue featured a letter written by Charles Downs, who mentioned that in India and Pakistan, students go directly from high school to pharmacy school. I would like to point out that in Pakistan, and probably in India, too, high school takes 10 years. After completing high school, students go to college for two years-called intermediate college-where they take pre-med, pre-engineering, liberal arts, or commerce courses and then apply to undergraduate school for whatever career they decide to pursue.

But I agree with the author that pharmacy schooling should not be lengthened in the United States. I will go one step further and say that there should be one licensing board of pharmacy in this country. Once you pass the licensure exam, you should be able to practice pharmacy in the state of your choice-of course, after taking the law exam in that state. This would eliminate extra financial burdens on the students who like to move around, and it may help solve the pharmacist shortage in some areas of the country.

Tanveer Hussain
Newburgh, N.Y.
tanveerrx@gmail.com

Wal-Mart program hurts pharmacy

I am writing in response to Tom De Pue's letter in your Jan. 22 issue. If all Wal-Mart thinks of pharmacists and their expertise is that $4 covers its cost of drug and the cost of a pharmacy tech and a licensed pharmacist, then you better worry about your salary or hope your company makes a killing from all of its cheap imports to prop up your pharmacy business, because the profits from this program are nonexistent.

I do know Wal-Mart pharmacists who are experienced and professional in their duties, and I respect them. But I do not think Wal-Mart's $4 program is in the best interest of our profession.

Jack P. Padgett Jr.
Pharmacist
Bamberg, S.C.
gamecockrxman@msn.com

Tom De Pue must live in a really nice town with really patient people, seeing that wait times have increased significantly since Wal-Mart's $4 generic program went into effect. Maybe he enjoys being a loss leader for the rest of the store.

Lee Robinson, R.Ph.
Hartwell, Ga.
leeanddebby@yahoo.com

For the record: There was an incorrect dosing cited in the article of the Jan. 8 issue. At the top of the third column, it is 80 mg of controlled-release oxycodone twice daily, not 8 mg, that would be equivalent to 120 mg of morphine.