Back To The Future: The Role Of The Pharmacist

Between the focus on differentiation and the focus on adherence, we have seen (and will continue to see) greater use of them as a strategic asset. CVS Caremark is leveraging them in their Pharmacy Advisor solution. Walgreens continues to leverage them at the POS. Medco is using them in their Therapeutic Resource Centers. And, the independent pharmacists have stressed this story for years.

In Medicare, the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) process begins to recognize the power of pharmacists and actually rewards them for their efforts. I was quoted in Drug Benefit News today about this topic. Here were a few quotes:

“The pharmacist is an under-utilized resource today,” George Van Antwerp, vice president of the Solutions Strategy Group at Silverlink Communications, tells DBN. “They go to school to work with patients and often end up simply filling bottles.”

While the benefits of pharmacist intervention are undeniable, Van Antwerp says, the challenge is finding the right balance of face-to-face interaction and automation. Issues also include getting a good return on investment for such services by condition and the fact that only an estimated 60% of the people picking up prescriptions are the patients themselves. In addition, “the staffing model right now would be stressed if pharmacists were spending significant time on cognitive services,” he maintains.


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