Letters to the editor: July 9, 2007

July 9, 2007

Should pharmacists be required to take a residency program by the year 2020 before they can provide direct patient care? I think that should be left up to the pharmacist, depending on what kind of job he is seeking or eventually desires and/or the amount of responsibility he is willing to assume.

Should pharmacists be required to take a residency program by the year 2020 before they can provide direct patient care? I think that should be left up to the pharmacist, depending on what kind of job he is seeking or eventually desires and/or the amount of responsibility he is willing to assume.

Johnny L. McGill, R.Ph., CFEIjohnnymcgill@msn.com

Is Part D fine as it is?

Part of the issue with drug price negotiation-besides the idea that negotiations representing 40 million people could probably generate lower prices than could those involving, say, two million people-is that the savings/ rebates could self-perpetuate the program, thus lessening the burden on the taxpayer, and improve the benefit (eliminate the donut hole?). Several of the plans have actually increased their premiums even while continuing to receive premium subsidies from Medicare. Newer drugs are available under some of the plans and, in fact, you may have to replace the "newer" drug that you are currently stabilized on for another "newer" drug that the insurance has just received a deal on (this is not quite as simple as it would appear). There was failure to mention that a very large reason the program is under budget is that simply not all those who were eligible (millions of individuals) enrolled in the plans and that the budgeted monies simply were not used.

It is also interesting that the program is "fine as is," when there has been legislation introduced in Congress to address excessive corporate salaries, and many of the companies that have reaped the benefit of the Medicare Part D program are among the guilty. Likewise, there is a report that there continues to be concern over the funding of Medicare and that consideration is being given to slashing the remuneration to providers even while pharmacies continue to close due to the slowness of payments while others continue to have to use lines of credit in order to pay their bills. I guess one's opinion can be directly affected by one's viewpoint.

Norman W. Davismedicalpharmcy@bellsouth.net

TV show wasn't balanced

Just what were they thinking? Faculty at Auburn University, an excellent university, apparently was cajoled into designing a study of chain/community pharmacy practices for the "20/20" ABC television news program that aired on March 30. The program portrayed community pharmacy as error-ridden and unsafe. The faculty at Auburn now claims that the program was a "classic case of journalism telling a story out of context." The faculty also claim they had no control over the information that ABC presented. What in heaven's name did they expect?

These programs are designed to sensationalize everything and anything and do so on Friday evenings in front of millions of viewers. It's called ratings! In addition, the "Good Morning America" program shows teaser excerpts earlier in the day to get viewers to watch the entire program later on in the evening. Though I have the greatest respect for the Auburn University faculty, you and the profession were taken advantage of by ABC. Yes, issues were uncovered-issues that need to be resolved. However, there was not much said about the positive effects that pharmacists have made on the lives of the general public or the lives that have been saved by pharmacist intervention. A balanced presentation? Forget it. I hope this is a lesson learned.

Ronald Melaragni, R.Ph.
East Lansing, Mich.
r.melaragni@comcast.net

Letters (including e-mail) should be as brief as possible and sent with the writer's name, address, daytime phone number, and date of the issue you are referencing to: Editor, Drug Topics, 123 Tice Boulevard, Woodcliff Lake, N.J. 07677-7664. E-mail address: drugtopics@advanstar.com. Correspondence may be edited for length and clarity.