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Pharmacists are trapped in a system that threatens patient safety

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The current pharmacy system in the US needs to to change now, according to Thomas Menighan, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO in a recent blog. 

"The current system sets pharmacists up to fail, and in turn, pharmacists are burning out at high rates", says Thomas. "This is an issue that not only puts patients at risk but deprives pharmacists of the opportunity to provide the kind of patient care we all got into pharmacy to provide". 

"During my time as a community pharmacist, I cherished the relationships I established with patients and understood the great responsibility that came with the trust they placed in me. Pharmacists take an oath to, among other things, “assure optimal outcomes” for patients. I can attest to the emphasis our profession places on patient safety. When it comes to medication-related errors, even one is too many."

Thomas suggests the solution comes from taking a hard look at how pharmacies are reimbursed and who profits from inadequate patient care. Meanwhile, state and local pilot projects that compensate pharmacists for greater involvement in team-based care have proven that when pharmacists are allowed to provide a full range of services, costs go down and patient outcomes improve.

"It’s perverse that we pharmacists are begging for the opportunity to practice the kind of pharmacy we were extensively educated and trained to practice. And who benefits from this warped system? Here’s a hint: it’s not pharmacies or patients."

"We must regulate the pharmacy benefit managers who make obscene sums of money without doing a single thing to serve patients. They say they keep prices and premiums down but simultaneously fight attempts to force them to be transparent about how they supposedly achieve this. If it’s not greedy, let’s see how it works. If it really helps patients, tell us how. But they won’t. It’s indefensible."

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Source: APhA, 11 February 2020

 

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