“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