Letters: September 2010

September 15, 2010

Pharmacists speak out about immunizations, sexism in the pharmacy, and $4 prescriptions.

Key Points

One more brick

Community pharmacy - or retail, as it should be called, since our practice is becoming a business, not a service - is getting out of hand. The pharmaceutical companies and chains are controlling the practice and scope of the retail pharmacist. While the chain stores are hiding behind slogans like "We serve the community" and "... care for our patients," they don't even give the pharmacist a lunch break (or any breaks).

Now the latest brick on our load is immunization ["Front-line immunizers," August 2010]. I do agree it would be great for us to immunize, but realistically we just can't. Our attention is already split too thin, between questions (from tech, interns, customers), counseling, OTC advice, faxes, MD calls, electronic Rx's, split bill coupons, insufficient staffing or procedures for it, etc.

The No. 1 issue is our lack of time. Instead of trying to fix the problem, we are adding more and more to the list of our responsibilities.

Eric Pehanic, RPh
WHITESTONE, N.Y.

Cheap drugs cheapen the profession

This $4 prescription does nothing for pharmacy. It lowers the image of the profession.

The physicians that seem concerned about the cost of drugs do not offer $4 office calls. Common sense tells you that $4 falls short of paying salaries and other expenses, and savings on the cost of drugs are short-lived. Most customers will have prescriptions that do not fall in the $4 list.

The future of pharmacy is not $4 prescriptions.

H. Maurice Cobb, PharmD
OLA, ARK.

Et tu, JP?

I was highly offended by Jim Plagakis' article "Join the club" [July 2010]. The fact that Jim, who represents the community pharmacy profession in a national publication, would join a chauvinistic and sexist club such as the Wedgwood Club appalls me.

I am a female pharmacist and an independent pharmacy owner. My business partner and fellow pharmacist is also a woman. When I graduated from pharmacy school in the early 1990s most of my graduating class was female. This trend of a female majority still holds with the graduating pharmacy students at the University of the Sciences today.

It is sad that such an honorable and trustworthy profession is still divided by sexism, and that you seem to glorify it.

Genevieve Levans, RPh, MBA
PHILADELPHIA, PENN.

None taken

The column in which Jim mentioned the Wedgwood Club did not offend me in the least. Pharmacy was a man's world for many years, that's just fact. My mentor in this business is a man; he taught me everything I know about pharmacy. For a woman to get offended over something like that means, in my opinion, that she doesn't have enough confidence in her abilities as a pharmacist.

Carrie Deal, PharmD
EDMORE, MICH.

Editor's note: Jim has asked for more feedback from women pharmacists on the subject of sexism in pharmacy. If you have an opinion or experience to share, please e-mail us. We will print as many responses as possible.

Correction: An editing error misconstrued a key sentence in David Stanley's August Viewpoint article ("Rx for pharmacy survival"). It should have stated: ":...custom compounding, the old-fashioned charging for a product, that has been largely responsible for stopping the extinction of the independent drugstore." The full article may be read online. Drug Topics regrets the error.