Voices 09-15-2013

September 15, 2013

Drug Topics readers weigh in on natural medicines, foreign-made pharmaceuticals, and drugstore tobacco sales.

Thanks for the tip

I recently read Jim Plagakis’ July 2013 column, “Pharmacognosy is an elective worth pursuing.” I will be a first-year pharmacy student this fall at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy. I currently work retail for a chain pharmacy, but I believe I want to do something greater with my pharmacy education. Reading JP’s article has really inspired me. I do not know whether my school offers pharmacognosy as an elective ( our first-year classes are scheduled for us) but if they do, I will definitely take the class as a second- or third-year student. I want to thank JP for writing the article and inspiring current pharmacists and future pharmacists, such as myself.

Caleb Staggs

Simpsonville, S.C.

Where are the watchdogs?

In a recent Voices column [“You get what you pay for,” June 2013], Robert Katz questioned the safety of pharmaceutical products manufactured abroad.

I agree with Mr Katz 100%. It seems that no one else is too concerned that nearly all the generic drugs and most of the brand-name drugs are made in other countries, so that companies and CEOs can reap the benefits (profits). I have my doubts that even FDA checks all the companies overseas. I guess that is evident with Ranbaxy!

I have been in the pharmacy profession since 1966 and I can remember when pharmaceuticals salesmen would come by and check your stock, write up returns, and take orders, or just tell you about a new drug that was coming out. The drug reps were like family. I remember Abbott Labs, Wyeth, Lederle, MSD, Upjohn, A.H. Robins, Schering, SKF, and a few more. I have not seen a company rep in years.

We should have known what was happening when the Big Store started advertising $4/month prescriptions.

Eddie Davis, RPh

Waxahachie, Texas

Don’t forget the big picture

I am writing in response to Jim Ober’s comments on cigarettes [“Why do drugstores sell products that kill,” Dispensed as Written, May 2013].

I am not for smoking and have never been a smoker, but I am concerned about the fact that slowly our freedoms are being eroded by some people who have very good intentions, but take little thought about the bigger picture.

There are many, many, let’s just say unhealthy products that most chain pharmacies carry, cigarettes being one of them.

Just because Pillsbury makes it, and mom served it up does not make it a wonderful product. A few examples:  Candy, cookies, ice cream, high-fat milk, soft drinks, potato chips, snack cakes, chocolate in all assorted varieties, and let us not forget alcoholic beverages.

I wonder how many people die from heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or DWI each year because of products that are sold in our drugstores every day? Also, do you think Walmart is going to stop selling cigarettes because Mr. Ober’s heart is in the right place? If  drugstores discontinue the sale of cigarettes, they will be purchased at other convenience stores or any outlet that Jim says is okay.

We live in America. Our freedoms are precious. Many sacrificed and died so that we could have freedom of choice.

Johnnie F. Hajek Jr., RPh

Austin, Texas

Corrections: The last line of the first column on page 18 of the August 2013 print issue (Up Front) was inadvertently omitted. Referring to Julie A. Johnson, PharmD, the complete quote reads, “She is the ideal person to help leverage the extensive strengths of the College of Pharmacy to enhance the mission of UF Health and the university.” On page 47 of the same issue, in the item “Dabigatran has new boxed warning,” the manufacturer and URL for dabigatran were misidentified; they are Boehringer Ingelheim and pradaxapro.com. Lastly, the acronym HIPAA was misspelled on the August cover. Drug Topics regret the errors.