The problem is, they are being silenced by the pharmacies they work for and even, sometimes, by the others they work with.
You may see your pharmacist as a medication dispenser, in place to provide you with the medication prescribed by your physician.
In truth, your pharmacist is far more than that.
Pharmacists are …
•given four times the amount of training in pharmacology as physicians.
interacting with the average American twenty six times every year.
Are responsible for administering roughly 40% of all immunizations given (including influencer, HPV, COVID, tetanus, pneumonia, shingles and hepatitis)
And they want nothing more than to help you get OFF your medications!
Because pharmacists have this deep understanding of complex medication issues, convenient accessibility and the skill to administer education as well as treatment, they end up being a huge influence on population health.
After getting a Doctor and Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, taking the Oath of the Pharmacist, passing a state law exam and passing a National Board for licensure, pharmacists are finally granted with a very unique legal power.
They are given what is called the “Pharmacist Conscious Refusal Clause,” which gives all licensed pharmacists the right to refuse to fill a prescription under their individual license. It states:
“Conscience clauses give pharmacists the right to refuse to perform certain services if it violates their religious or personal beliefs or values. … Some states explicitly grant pharmacists the right to refuse to dispense drugs related to contraception on moral grounds.”
For instance, in the early days of 2020, hydroxychloroquine was thought to possibly decrease the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. When that happened, pharmacists across the country were forced to enact that clause in order to prevent the stockpiling of the medication.
When the demand for hydroxychloroquine far exceeded the supply chain, pharmacists were forced to refuse filling the medication without a positive COVID test. What you may not have known is that – at that time – some providers were writing scripts for it for their own family and staff members.
Some pharmacies were telling their pharmacist employees that they had no choice but to fill the medication, and to fill it quickly. The back and forth created tension with the providers who felt pharmacists were overstepping the conscious clause.
It’s an example of a very real life-or-death decision pharmacists face every single day along with accurately filling prescriptions and recognize drug conflicts with patients, which can cause significant ramifications if mistakes are made.
So, knowing that, you can understand the genuine concern pharmacists are having with the fact that pharmacies are pushing speed and productivity over accuracy all while pharmacists are overworked in pharmacies that are understaffed.
It’s a matter of your safety.
Imagine a pharmacist who has gone through the trouble to obtain a doctorate degree and a pharmacist license in order to have the knowledge to safely fill and check your medication. Now imagine she is all alone for 6 hours out of her 12-hour shift. Leaving her to not only safely fill your prescriptions, but also to answer the phone, help in-store customers, attend to the drive-through, run the cash register, and give immunizations.
Pharmacists are struggling and screaming for a series of checks and balances in healthcare, just like in government.
The first step in making that happen is supporting expansion of pharmacist services.
Today’s prompt is:
Should pharmacists be given more power in healthcare or less? Why or why not?