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Pharmacists in the Primary Care Setting?

by pharmacy on April 17, 2013

Many pharmacists are finding employment in an uncommon setting in 2013—primary care facilities. This care model enables pharmacists to focus on patient care. Pharmacists that work in this type of facility offer medication information, health and wellness screenings such as diabetes screening, and more. Pharmacists that opt to take these positions save patients time and possibly expensive hospital trips, as well as saving hospitals valuable time and resources.

Offsetting costs and increasing overall customer satisfaction are vital to any successful primary care setting. Pharmacists can integrate their services into a primary care office with a little time and effort. May primary care areas are open to funding trial projects if their budget has the funds available. Stressing the overall customer satisfaction rate, the amount of time saved by a clinic that has a pharmacist on staff, and other benefits, such as reducing overall medication costs, are crucial to finding a place in a primary care setting.

Pharmacists can offer patients significant health benefits when added to a PCP team. Patients with diabetes, hypertension, or another commonly treated condition can benefit greatly from having a pharmacist available to discuss issues with. Adding a pharmacist to a PCP team ensures that patients have access to someone that has extensive knowledge of medication regimes that can often be complicated and exhausting to remember. Pharmacists can streamline programs and offer suggestions to help clients manage their conditions easily, while preventing medication abuse and following up on patient adherence to treatment plans.

Often, new pharmacists can complete some of their educational training on site at a primary care clinic. This gives the pharmacists experience in working with clients, managing a variety of cases, and managing prescribed medications. Refilling and suggesting scripts, aiding with financials, modifying treatment plans, and helping patients to understand and control their chronic conditions are just some of the things that a pharmacist can learn while a team member at a primary care office.

Pharmacists can conduct vaccine clinics throughout the year to help patients prevent common illnesses. Implementing an influenza clinic or Gardasil vaccination for young adults are just a few examples of the sort of public service that a pharmacist could add at their primary care location. The landscape for pharmacists is changing as the requirements to obtain licensing become stricter. Pharmacists have to complete clinic hours, and often can opt to do so in the primary care setting. Clinics often serve under represented populations, so working at a mobile health clinic or an urban primary care facility is a great way for a hopeful pharmacist to gain valuable experience about serving at risk groupings.

Pharmacists can weigh the benefits of working in a traditional pharmacy over working directly with patients. Overall, the choices are varied. When it comes to patient care, working in the primary care setting offers a hands-on experience that some larger traditional pharmacies may not be able to deliver. How have you navigated the changing times for pharmacists in the primary care setting? Share your story in the comments below.


Future Uncertain for U.S. Drug Makers

by Toby Roberts on February 5, 2010

With the health care debate on hold for the time being drug makers are facing the uncertainty of the impact that the lack of reform will have on their collective futures.  As part of the expectation that a health care bill would pass, pharmaceutical companies agreed to provide the government $80 billion in rebates over a period of ten years to help fund reform. With the legislation stalled the future of those rebates remains unclear.

In addition, drug companies face the possibility that with the new budget the government may now attempt to collect taxes on patents and overseas assets. The pharmaceutical companies would be hard hit with such a tax at the same time they are facing uncertainty in medication sales. [click to continue…]


Pharmacy Chains Receiving Plentiful H1N1

by Toby Roberts on December 18, 2009

Reports this week show that doses of the H1N1 are in high supply as pharmacy chains across the country have received increased stock.  Although recent reports are that the flu strain is decreasing, officials are still urging everyone to get the vaccine and suggesting that pharmacists continue to discuss it with patients to avoid future large outbreaks.

States that have had restrictions on the vaccine are now lifting them to make it available to everyone. Some had been prioritizing health care workers, pregnant women, infants, and others with high risk of complications. Now those prioritizations are being lifted and all of the general population is being encouraged to get vaccinated.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that traditionally interest in the seasonal flu vaccine drops around the holidays even though the flu itself tends to surge in January and February.  Officials hope that a surge in H1N1 can be prevented by a renewed push to vaccinate everyone during the holiday season.


Senate Considers Ban of Pharmacy Record Mining

by Toby Roberts on December 11, 2009

Two Senate Democrats introduced an amendment Thursday that would ban the practice of pharmaceutical data mining. Pharmaceutical companies currently purchase pharmacy sales records from third party companies in order to identify doctors who prescribe their drugs and competitor alternatives.

The amendment to the Senate health care bill would ban the sale of pharmacy records for marketing purposes only. Records used to patient safety would still be made available.

Data mining companies argue that without the records pharmaceutical companies would need to dramatically expand their sales force rather than working on a more focused approach that is made specific by the pharmacy data. Proponents of the amendment believe that the marketing drives up health care costs because of the potential for aggressive, target sales of more expensive medications. The version of the bill already passed by the House of Representatives proposed a study of data mining but no initial limitations.


Importing Drugs Reenters Healthcare Debate

by Toby Roberts on December 4, 2009

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) will bring an amendment to vote this week to allow importing of prescription drugs from Canada to lower the cost of healthcare reform. The amendment would override an agreement between the White House and pharmaceutical companies in which the industry agreed to payback billions of dollars in rebates to the government to help fund the healthcare bill.

Despite the potential to turn large pharmaceutical companies into opponents of reform, Dorgan believes the amendment has a good chance of passing. If he is able to put together bipartisan support and gain at least 60 votes he will be successful in adding the amendment to the reform bill. Dorgan notes that the amendment would keep drug prices low without the necessity of negotiation between the government and big name pharmaceutical companies.


The pharmaceutical industry has reacted with a degree of opposition to the House passage of the health bill over the weekend. The bill includes the provision for billions of dollars that drug companies will have to provide the government over a ten year period to help finance the reforms. Companies have spent a significant amount of time negotiating the terms of the rebates. The government is convinced that the payout will be offset by the increased customer base once most Americans have coverage. [click to continue…]

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