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The role of pharmacists

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I don't mean to offend any pharmacists or PharmD students, I'm just curious: how are pharmacists helpful in clinical settings? Physicians know medications and can prescribe, too, so why are pharmacists needed? Sure I know that in community settings, pharmacists verify & dispense Rx, but what can pharmacists do that physicians can't? Are physicians' knowledge of medications incomplete?
 

Pharm.D - Badger

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Let's just say that Physicians take 1 class in Medical School about drugs, while Pharmacists spend 4 years studying them!
 
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I don't mean to offend any pharmacists or PharmD students, I'm just curious: how are pharmacists helpful in clinical settings? Physicians know medications and can prescribe, too, so why are pharmacists needed? Sure I know that in community settings, pharmacists verify & dispense Rx, but what can pharmacists do that physicians can't? Are physicians' knowledge of medications incomplete?

so physicians learn about medications on rotations? :cyclops:


the history of medicine and pharmacy and the laws tell us that pharmacists are there mainly to always check, verify, and prevent and minimize doctord' and other health professionals' medication errors and abuses.

In any setting, the pharmacist's roles are mainly the same (check and verify to minimize medication errors and abuses) but also to suggest other possible medication alternatives to improve the treatment's outcome.

Because the clinical pharmacists are on the healthcare team there, they are in better positions to access patients's charts and other data to suggest other medication alternatives than community'/retail pharmacists.

You are right about doctors will learn more about their drugs of their specialties when they are doing internships/rotations. In that regard, the doctor's knowledge of the drugs are the same as that of a pharnacist in that same specialty.

Now that will not eliminate the need of clinical pharmacists because they are still needed to check and verify and prevent medication errors and abuses of other health professionals. Nobody would be able to know everything in medicine or pharmacy, doctors or pharmacists. But somebody with good knowledge and training of drugs/medications are required to be there to do the jobs of verifying and checking to ensure the safety and good outcome for the patients. The people who are with the qualifications for that job are clinical pharmacists regardless the physicians' knowlege of the drugs/medications. Remember it is easier to check and see other people's mistakes and errors than your own.


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My pessimistic view of pharmacy is mainly from seeing crazy expansion and opening of pharmacy schools with no end in sight.

Supply and demand will tell us that oversupply of schools will bring down the admission/education standards and flood the market with pharmd graduates. Oversupply of pharmacists will increase job competition to inflate educational/training credentials and bring wage/salary down for everyone.

Technology is another threat to pharmacy jobs, esp. in retails. Most of pharmacy tasks are repetitive so that can be easily programmed. Checking and verifying with pre-assigned risk profiles and even suggestions of other improved medication alternatives can be done with computers against their vast databases. Seeing how fast techonolgy has improved, it is hard to not imagine that technology will cut down the present numbers of pharmacy jobs or even completely eliminate them. Again, the demand side of pharmacy is getting smaller as technology advances.

There are also talks about expansion of jobs bc population increase and need from ACA. But the trend in healthcare now is to do more with less, which is evident in reduced insurance reimbursements, chain pharmacy pushing cracy rx quota/metrics and horrible working condition, and hospitals cutting down jobs (and there are already not that many pharmacy jobs in the first place). This doing more with less also implies that pharmacy can forget about "provider status", which is currently pushed by pharm schools as something that could give pharmacists new jobs and incomes.

Thus I do not see much hope to see the the demand side of the pharmacy equation to get any larger, which is already in real dangers of even getting smaller. Regardless, crazy expansion and opening of more and more pharm schools will ensure that the market will be flooded with new pharmacists. Schools will get paid first regadless so why stopping?? But some of new pharmacists will not be able to find jobs this year, and even more and more the years after. The thing is most of those pharmacists, if not all, are all having huge student loans (avg 150K+) to be paid back, which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court. What would those people do then ??

Sad... esp I see this was caused and started by greed in the first place. PharmD, a degree which is not needed in real pharmacy practice, was mandated to give the basic for more schooling which benefits schools in extra tuition, then give basic for new schools to open to meet the "shortage", which really was caused by the transition from BS Pharm to PharmD. Its funny that new schools now in the process of opening are still using this "shortage" excuse to mask their greed :)

There will be no stop to any of the above as noone will do anything. School still keep opening, and students will still go for pharm schools thinking they will beat the odds. Not until wage goes down to 20-30 bucks an hour and new pharmds have to do PGY-10 to even get those jobs. Not until stories of tons of new pharm grads make the headline news about not being to pay back their student loans like those went for Carribean med schools. Not until then...

It would be too late...
 
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Pharm.D - Badger

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so physicians learn about medications on rotations? :cyclops:
lol !!!!!! Not to the extent of a pharmacist? A pharmacist's entire career is on medication therapy. Pharmacist's are always calling the doctor about prescriptions they wrote incorrectly, possible drug interactions they created, incorrect dosing. It's actually quite ridiculous and a waste of our time!
 
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