Letters to the editor: February 5, 2007

February 5, 2007

Regarding the bill in Congress allowing for Medicare Part D to negotiate drug prices, it's critical that the savings be passed on to the consumer and the pharmacy that provides the medication and not go into the pocket of the PBMs. However, beware. The impact of this measure on the 60% of consumers who are not Medicare Part D members could be catastrophic. If drug companies are forced to reduce prices (and profits) to those in Medicare D (a very large segment of the prescription pie), the only way they can make that up is to charge far more for their product to those who are not in Medicare Part D. Expect drug prices for non-Part D consumers to skyrocket if the bill in Congress passes!

Douglas Heidbreder, R.Ph.
Addison Pharmacy
Onsted, Mich.
rph007@comcast.net

Which pharmacy is oldest?

I couldn't help but wonder, What is the oldest pharmacy still standing and what is the oldest pharmacy still functioning?

I work in a hospital pharmacy, but my professional roots go back to the old mom-and-pop pharmacies.

Thanks for a nice magazine.

Jerry Chezick, R.Ph.
Cheboygan Memorial Hospital
Cheboygan, Mich.
Gerard.Chezick@cheboyganhospital.org

Editor's reply: Glad you asked this question. Drug Topics is preparing a special issue to commemorate our 150th anniversary, which will feature an article on this subject. So be on the lookout for our March 19 issue!

CE versus competency

Your Nov. 6, 2006, CE on professional competence in pharmacy gave me food for thought.

Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence, told the story of a dean of engineering who, in his commencement address, congratulated not only the parents for their successful efforts in getting their sons and daughters through many years of education, but also the graduating students for their hard work and perseverance. The bad news, he said, was that the learning curve is about three years from this point; you must continue your education by investigation, experience, and a constant effort to improve your performance.

Hardly a month goes by that the issue of professional competence, self-assessment, continuous professional development, or some proposed idea to this end is not floated-all for a fee, of course. The problem is that these plans are developed by a member or committee of the "office or academic sector," reflecting his own ideas of how best the working class should embrace this new education plan. Frequently these are of marginal use by working practitioners due to the originators' lack of understanding of a pharmacist's instinctual recognition/alert mechanism and the need for flow of information at the point of use. Most articles (including your Nov. 6 issue on professional competence) disrespect the traditional CE as "purely knowledge-based, of little bearing."

However, in actual practice, the traditional CE allows working pharmacists to add to their working knowledge based on their practice needs. One evening, a man came to the pharmacy with a severe burn on this shoulder; he had leaned into a hot oven where he worked. No, he could not speak English; no, he would not complete a C-4; and no, he would not tell his employer. But yes, he did have $4.60 to purchase whatever was needed. A J&J CE from the past helped with just the minimum basic items needed so he could get back to his source of income.