Shoddy Reporting – “10 Things Your Pharmacist Won’t Tell You”

While I am usually a big Smart Money fan, I think this article is over the top. It’s sensationalist. It pulls random criminal examples and makes them sound normal. I’m not a pharmacist but I was offended for my friends that are.

Here are their points with my comments in brackets.

  1. I’m overworked and stressed out [Who isn’t these days? Maybe part of health reform should look at the right staffing levels for health professionals and put an hour maximum on them like airline pilots or truck drivers.]…note that there were 3.8B Rxs filled in 2007.
  2. …which means I’m more error-prone [more than what…I would bet technology has improved the error rate compared to the past. But, a 1% error rate would mean 38M errors per year. The question of course is errors that leave the pharmacy. The bigger issue is finding time for them to counsel patients where there would be a final safety check and discussion around the medication to minimize patient errors.]
  3. I don’t understand all my merchandise [Isn’t this what technology is for? With 10,000+ drugs today plus all the over-the-counter drugs, this is an impossible task. And, the article complains about their ability to catch OTC interactions…well that’s pretty hard when they aren’t tracked. A great opportunity for PHRs.]
  4. My drug-swapping could make you sick [While the article says it’s fine “most of the time”, it sounds like they are talking about NTI (narrow therapeutic index) drugs which aren’t switched by many pharmacists that I know. It’s a short list of drugs and probably less than 1% of the prescribed medications in the US. Talking about causing unnecessary worry…someone must have gotten their information from a brand pharma rep.]
  5. Frankly, your private records aren’t all that private [Come on. First they talk about drug companies sponsoring programs. So what…they don’t get patient data. The only way they know who uses their drug is when consumers sign up on their websites for coupons or to receive information. Then, the article goes on to talk about electronic records and electronic prescribing. That’s a very safe process with lots of protection. Don’t make people afraid of the future.
  6. I can be pretty sneaky sometimes [I am sure this is true in every profession, but they talk about some old issues like charging more than the copay or having a higher cash price than a NEGOTIATED price from your insurer. And, buying and selling samples…that would be illegal so I’m pretty sure that’s not a “common” practice.]
  7. Paying out-of-pocket? The price of your prescription just went up. [Yes. Nothing new here. It’s the same issue in medical costs. So, go somewhere else. I’m not saying it’s right to gouge someone, but costs vary and stores have a right to charge a different price.]
  8. The medication is stale [Here they quote a case from 1991. Nothing more recent than a criminal from the early 90s.]
  9. I don’t just sell drugs. I make them. [Here they talk about compounding which I think is a really small percentage of the time. I have never heard of a pharmacist compounding a drug that they could take off the shelf and give to a patient.]
  10. You can get any prescription you like online. [I don’t get their point here. If you have a prescription, you can use the Internet to order refills from your pharmacy (in many cases). There are lots of legitimate online stores for OTC products.]

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