Letters: May 2010

May 5, 2010

Pharmacists speak out about job satisfaction, pharmacist shortage, and mail-order pharmacy.

Key Points

The choice is yours

Ms. Garrett seems to take issue with David Stanley ["You talkin' for me?" January 2010]. He does depict a certain attitude and perspective on pharmacy widespread among pharmacists. Both Ms. Garrett and Mr. Stanley have something relevant to say and I appreciate their articles.

As seen from inside

I have worked for a mail-order pharmacy for 17 years. I found your article, "The case for mail order," [March 2010] uneven and superficial at best. Having worked in retail before switching to a PBM, I can speak firsthand on what it is like to work both.

I started with the preconception that retail fixed the errors of mail order. What I found was that the mail-order environment provided me "luxuries" not available in retail: time and resources to make safety calls to the physician's office. Patients are not at the counter, impatiently pressuring me to lick, stick, and pour. I actually practice more clinical pharmacy in mail order than I ever did in the retail setting.

Also, the mail-order pharmacy I work at offers patients maintenance choice; they have the option of getting a 90-day supply at retail or the convenience of mail order.

Regarding expensive medications left out in extreme temperatures, our practice is to phone the participant before shipping the medication to ensure that someone will be at home to receive the order at their convenience, not ours.

Lastly, normal business hours are not possible in retail or hospital settings. My work/family-life balance would never have been possible without the mail-order facility.

Rachel Leinenbach, RPh
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

Can't beat the real thing

What possible advantage is greater than seeing a real, live pharmacist? Many of my customers like to talk to me on a daily basis. Can mail order offer that? Can mail order offer deliveries at midnight when a patient is sick?

Insurance companies want us around only to fill prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications, because they want to have absolute control of the industry. There is no reason that pharmacies shouldn't be allowed to offer 90-day supplies of medications. If we allow these trends to continue, our quality of healthcare will surely suffer.

Joe Lutmer, RPh
CINCINNATI, OHIO