Letters: November 10, 2008

November 10, 2008

Pharmacists speak out about drug kiosks, tobacco sales, fee for service, and e-prescribing.

Key Points

Pharmacies, not government, should decide tobacco sales issue

Your recent Instant Poll ( http://www.drugtopics.com/) asked: Should pharmacies sell tobacco products? A better question would be: Who should decide whether pharmacies sell tobacco products - the pharmacy owner and the customers, or the government? While I feel that pharmacies should not sell tobacco, I think the government dictating this policy is wrong, especially when other stores with pharmacy departments are not affected.

Steve Shuda, RPh
NEW BERLIN, WIS.

It concerns me that [prescriptions] are now commodity-priced with many generics being given away at $4 (August 2008 Drug Topics Supplement). The public perception of the retail pharmacist is being eroded. We are being treated by the public no differently than the guy behind the fast-food counter taking your order for burgers and fries. They want it fast, and they want it for nothing. Banks these days are charging fees for everything. Airlines are beginning to charge extra for more than one bag. It starts with one company and the rest follow in those industries.

Why can't a pharmacy chain for once take the lead and start charging fees for various services we now spend huge amounts of time doing for free? Why does pharmacy always find more and more ways to give things away for nothing?

Daryl Heiser, RPh
BEACHWOOD, OHIO

Slow down the e-prescribing train

There are glitches in the [e-prescribing] system. I work for a major chain, and I spend several hours each week chasing down prescriptions that are lost in cyberspace. Patient shows up to pick up prescription that the doctor's office has told them would be ready. However, there is no record of the transaction. By the time you actually talk to a person at the office (three days later), you have been called every name in the book and told off because you "lost" the prescription. We also spend a lot of time ironing out errors and omissions on these transmissions.

Angelyn Tuttle RPh
RICHMOND HILL, GA.

Standardized insurance cards sorely needed

Most of the time spent on processing a prescription is trying to figure out what to do with the designer insurance cards. Some of them have alpha characters and sometimes you don't have to use [them]. CMS missed the opportunity to implement standardized cards when Medicare Part D started. The government could have mandated a standard design.

Steve Albert, RPh
PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA.

Kiosk dispensing a prescription for disaster

I do not feel that patients should be able to get their prescriptions from kiosks because it is not safe (September Instant Poll, http://www.drugtopics.com/). Pharmacists are supposed to counsel patients about their medications. Would the kiosks be able to counsel patients? A kiosk cannot answer questions about drug interactions, look at rashes, or help patients with OTC medications.

Margaret Devine, RPh
HEMPSTEAD, TEXAS