Letters: January 28, 2008


Drug samples should be replaced by vouchers to reduce drug diversion; chemistry courses are critical to the education of pharmacy students.

Should FDA approve a behind-the-counter (BTC) class of drugs? Yes because the measure will not only increase pharmacies' foot traffic, thereby creating profit, but will also have a positive effect on Rx volume and confidence in our knowledge and abilities. Countless times I am asked by travelers from other countries for certain drugs which are available in their countries and not ours. I have to tell them that they need to see a doctor and get a prescription. I think we should be able to dispense more BTC drugs than what any of the discussed proposals would allow us.

Joe Lamberti
Prospect, Conn.

Statins should not go over the counter

Linda S. Ashley, R.P., Pharm.D.lsashley@inebraska.com

Pharmacy coupons have drawbacks

After reading Mr. Jacobs' Nov. 19 letter regarding pharmacy gift cards, I agree with him completely. I work for a large regional retail chain store and have customers present competitors' coupons for transfers or new prescriptions every day. Pharmacies that accept competitors' coupons do so to avoid losing prescriptions, but are we doing right for these people by encouraging them to hop from pharmacy to pharmacy every month? Sooner or later a serious interaction will occur that could have been prevented if these coupon users just used one pharmacy. Pharmacy coupons certainly do nothing to promote our professionalism.

L. Brill, R.Ph.
Reisterstown, Md.

Rxs for rehab and recovery

Thank you for your Nov. 19 cover story, "Beating addiction." I would like to add several points not covered by the writer. First, the article uses the words "substance abuse," "chemical dependence," and "addiction" interchangeably. Pharmacists who abuse drugs do not always develop dependence. Abuse and dependence can now be differentiated using criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Second, no mention was made of several medications that are adjunctive treatments to counseling in the treatment of chemical dependence: naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol), acamprosate (Campral), buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone), bupropion (Zyban), and varenicline (Chantix). Third, we are very proud that Texas was the first state to develop a PRN program. Our program is also supported by our board of pharmacy. For your readers who are interested in learning more about the latest research on drug abuse/addiction, our Web site is an unbiased resource: http://www.utexas.edu/research/asrec/.

Carlton K. Erickson, Ph.D., Director
Addiction Science Research and Education Center, and
Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology/Toxicology
College of Pharmacy
The University of Texas at Austin

Drug Topics announces contest winner

The correct answer to our Guess the Number of Pills contest, held at the ASHP midyear meeting in Las Vegas last month, is 9,876. Kim Zessin, clinical pharmacist at St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash., came closest to that number. As her prize, she has received a miniature statue of the Greek god of medicine, Asclepios.

For the record: A Dec. 10 Special Report in the Health-System Edition inadvertently mixed up daptomycin (Cubicin, Cubist Pharmaceuticals) with doripenem (Doribax, Ortho-McNeil). We apologize for any confusion this might have caused.

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