Patients need proactive pharmacists

Patient versus profit?




“There’s an opportunity for the pharmacist to play a much greater role in health care, especially with what we have going on in this country with the shortage of primary-care physicians.”  —  Gregory Wasson

B A B Y  I T ‘ S  N O T  T H A T  E A S Y

One of the problems with the world today centers om the fact that people are living longer, developing  closer medical care relationships with their health care providers and are depending upon the professionalism and ability of their local pharmacist to competently and completely fill the prescription their physicians prescribe for them. 

In many cases physicians are prescribing drugs ( relating to eye health care and psychological problems) which manufacturers are not adequately producing to meet an increased demand. The demands for these products is increasing but the supply is dwindling.

This article will concern itself with two such products: (1) Haldol — to help control the emotional state of bipolar patients; and (2) certain classes of eye drops that are needed for many folks over 50-years-old. 

I am personally involved with the securing of these products for a family member and realize that many pharmacists hands are tied as to helping their customers secure the drugs for personal use.

The doctor prescribes the Haldol tablet for the patient. Originally it was a 5 milligram (mg) dosage. The supplier of the drug suddenly changed production methods and dependent patients are now faced with a decision.

The pharmacist tells them that the drug is still available BUT in either a 2 mg or 1 mg format. The patient is told that they can meet the 5 mg daily requirement but they will have to “score” –  cut in half – the medication. 

Patients try to avoid this problem by ordering both the one mg and the 2 mg and thus avoid the curving problem. Drug store pharmacists tell them that ordering the product this way will create problems for their insurance providers.

So the frustrated and dependent customer politely asks the pharmacist to score the tablet for them. In most cases the druggist complies. Other times patients are left to their own devices. 

The other major concern for me is the eye drop solutions meant to alleviate the problems of patients suffering from glaucoma or other age related vision issues.

Many times the ophthalmologist prescribes solutions which are impossible to obtain.The manufactryers have stopped production ont he item but doctors continue to prescribe the product to their patients.

Recently I needed to order an eye drop solution which the doctor had issued six refills. The five millilitre bottle provided 21 applications. The patient was not told this fact.

The liquid is to be applied three times a day. The cost of the medication was $50. This product was suddenly in demand and not one of the six drug stores I visited could fill the prescription.

Four of the six pharmacists I visited suggested that I contact the ophthalmologist and ask for a replacement product. Ever try to contact a busy vision physician during his work week? It is nerve-wracking.

I think there is a great deal of collusion between doctors and the medical supply representatives who visit their offices, drop of brochures and free samples and try to persuade physicians to get on the band wagon and promote their products.

Pharmacists  out of good conscience and daily exposure to such medical chicanery should place their customer’s best interests first and not quietly accept the role of order fillers for physicians and ophthalmologists. — gc


About gc (659 Articles)
Quote of the week: "If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.-- Frank Herbert quotes .

8 Comments on Patients need proactive pharmacists

  1. Compelling view from a consumer’s vantage point. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There must indeed be that collusion.

    My husband recently found a website that shows how much money a doctor has received from drug reps. It was enlightening because, in that site, we learned that my first OB-Gyne was top of the list.

    It was no wonder that she was always late late very very late for her patient appointments. She was chatting with the drug reps while her patients not-so-patiently wait for her to see them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree. I am a pharmacist myself and do feel that somehow pharmacists tend to attract individuals who are sometimes passive in their personalities.

    So instead of acting as patient advocate, I have seen some situations where patients are left to deal with the issue themselves with little support from the pharmacists.

    I understand all these shortages and insurance problems can take up time.. and pharmacists should do what’s best for their patients.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your important comments on this matter.

      Many times it feels as though the patient is playing Russian roulette in the attempt to obtain a particular medication their physican has prescribed for them.

      It is always disheartening to discover that the company producing and packaging your needed medication has either quit producing the item or is on a backlogged schedule.

      What is even worse occurs when the physician who prescribed the product is on vacation for one month.

      Then the scramble for an alternative product really begins.

      Have a wonderful day. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel it is very unethical with the current situation of drug shortage. I have written about this topic in few of my posts. You are right… sometimes we leave the patients to navigate our imperfect system. I hope you have found a reasonable solution for your medication shortage.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The products we needed were finally found. The eye drops are a tricky problem One pharmacist attemptd to sell us eye wash solution insisting that the opthalmologist had prescribed them. But the nature of the product did not coincide with the affliction.Another accomodating pharmacist assisted by cutting a a 5 mg product in half so that a dialy requirement could be maintained. It is a slippery slope.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: