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Voices 05-15-2013


Letters, e-mails, and posts from Drug Topics Readers


Been there, left that

My thanks to Dennis Miller for speaking out about the atrocious way chain pharmacists are treated [“Why I wrote Pharmacy Exposed,” March 2013]. I have been a pharmacist for 27 years, and pharmacy is in my blood; my father owned his pharmacy for almost 50 years.

 Over the years, I have worked for chain pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and independents. Only in the chain pharmacies have I been treated as a “nonprofessional.” In fact, in November of 2011, after 15 years, I decided to abandon retail pharmacy and make the move back to hospital pharmacy. It was the scariest, yet best, career choice I have ever made. That is really saying a lot for a woman who was literally born to be a retail pharmacist.

I say shame on the collective state boards of pharmacy for allowing us to be treated as “nonprofessionals.” If we were doctors, we might be protected against these kinds of working conditions. I hope the powers that be will eventually realize this is an extremely dangerous way to practice pharmacy.

Jill M. Sande, RPh

Sigourney, Iowa

The days of Doc

I'm also a retired chain-store pharmacist. I started way back in my early teens, making deliveries on that bike with the big basket and small wheel in the front. I worked my way up to the soda fountain, and eventually, after finishing college, I became a registered pharmacist. I chose pharmacy because of what I saw working in a neighborhood drugstore, where people of all ages came in seeking assistance from "their pharmacist," or, as they called him, "Hey Doc!"

The young PharmDs, as well as most of their professors, have no idea what the profession was like then. There were drugstores on most major corners in many neighborhoods. What brought the customers into any particular drugstore was the customer service that they received. Your current chain pharmacies have no idea what those two words mean, because it affects their bottom line.

I really enjoyed all those years that I was a practicing RPh. I actually had FUN. But now, since it's no longer fun, I’m done.

Fred Tanenbaum, RPh

Evanston, Ill.

To each according to his needs

Every time a customer asks me ahead of time, “What is the copay for this Rx?” I get on my soapbox and say, “Well, this is the U.S.A. Everyone has a different plan. We are told by your insurer what the copay is, and the only way we can tell is to run it, so give us a few minutes and we will let you know.” When people complain that their copay is high, I say the same thing.

I too want a single-payer system. I think it should be single-payer, with copays set based on the income level of the family. For example: $5, $10, $20 for incomes $40-$50,000; $2, $5, $10 for lower incomes; and for people over $50,000, maybe $10, $20, $30, etc. This sets a copay based on the scale of income.

 I have a very wealthy customer who owns a large business. His copays are ZERO because he owns the company, but his employees have regular copays. Is that right or fair?

Mike Saija, RPh, CIP

Sharon, Mass.

On a happier note

I can relate to everything “Goose” Rawlings says in his article [“Here’s to the Flyboys,” March 2013]. Our daughters were told in med school, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Thankfully, grateful patients still exist, and when we communicate with them in a professional and caring manner, they often show their appreciation.

What “Goose” describes is everything that keeps me going, too. I graduated in '71 and have worked in five different states, following my husband's career. These 42 years have involved a lot of change, from manual typewriters to robotics, but the occasional heartwarming message from a patient is the same, and it makes my day.

 Healthcare may have changed, but patients are still people. I continue working because I still feel like I'm helping people, and that's good for me. Being a pharmacist gives me a sense of purpose, and I am content.

Rita Smith, RPh

Manhattan, KS


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