Letters October 2011

October 15, 2011

Readers speak out about the importance of pharmacy techs, vaccine programs, and changes in the profession.

Key Points

Put your money ...

JP really nailed the part about our dependence on pharmacy techs! When I get a call to work relief, the first question I ask is, will I have a certified tech "wall-to-wall, treetop tall?" I need a competent tech and someone to run the register. Nothing is worse than to open up in the morning and find that the lead tech is off and the new one lacks experience with the maze of insurance and welfare programs.

Techs really should be paid well - say, $25 per hour for a person with 2 or more years' experience.

Ken Burrows, RPh
LAS VEGAS, NEV.

Thanks for the memories

I have been an underpaid and overutilized technician for a little over 11 years. Believe it or not, I love my job, but I definitely can't make a living from it. So I will finish a BS in clinical research this fall and begin a dual masters in the spring.

Note, not pharmacy school. While I respect pharmacists, I prefer being able to sit down and eat my lunch (and being able to chew) and not have to answer the phone 50 million times a day.

My thanks to Jim for his comments. I am sure his technicians appreciate him.

Kelly L. McGhee, CPhT
RALEIGH, N.C.

[Editor's note: National Pharmacy Technician Day is October 25, 2011.]

The price of growth

I was intrigued by the title of your August article "An ounce of prevention: What are vaccinations worth to you?" As a 58-year-old retail chain pharmacist with Parkinson's, I can now say that vaccination programs are worth at least a million dollars to me, that being a rough estimate of my lost earnings, lost 401k contributions, and increased cost of medical coverage since the termination of my employment because of my physical inability to give flu shots.

I agree that as a profession, pharmacy must continue to evolve or we will become irrelevant. But while we propose new arenas in which to employ our knowledge, we must be ever mindful of what may happen to those ideals when they meet corporate America and the rigid policies of the major employers who have not evolved at the same pace or with the same goals.

Even when our new services are compensated by third-party payers, our only professional reward is knowing that we are doing the right thing for our customers' health and welfare, while the financial rewards for these initiatives go directly to corporate.

As we grow as a profession and expand our services and value to our patients, we must be mindful as well that future changes in the practice of pharmacy should also be good for the futures of those who practice pharmacy.

James Buser
FUQUAY VARINA, N.C.