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Why do we have retail pharmacists? - #THELAB

Welcome to #THELAB! Articles discussing anything related to healthcare student and professional development. I'll also share my thoughts to specific questions across the internet.


Why do we have retail pharmacists?

@juan_rico_3, Reddit

Not trolling. I'm just a regular consumer/patient. From my point of view, a computer with access to my medical records could easily check drug interactions and flag any risks. I've never asked a pharmacist any questions about my meds. I usually have that discussion with my doctor. What does the pharmacist do for me besides fill a pill bottle? Seems like a pretty basic job for someone with a graduate degree. I know that there are some legal requirements about who can fill the bottle and sell it, but I'm mostly asking about the practical/clinical benefits of having someone with a graduate degree work at a retail level. In theory, questions about meds could be answered via a telehealth call. Given crappy staffing levels at most pharmacies nowadays, I generally get my meds mail order anyway. I hate queues.

This is pretty basic. You’re describing dispensing, which that is correct. The role is being replaced with automation combined with lower staffing requirements. Pharmacy continues to expand outside of “retail”, patients don’t get to see the backend work they do as an overarching contributor to patient-centered care.

You don’t hear about it because insurances, reimbursements, and PBMs are owned by, oh those retail store chains pharmacists work at. What you will see as a curious person is most of America will rely on medication. American medicine is the easiest solution with maximal profit it appears and polypharmacy is a sequelae of that.

You’ll come to realize that there is no better profession for healthcare to manage this underlying problem than pharmacy. At a higher level, opportunities to show those clinical abilities have not matched the output of pharmacists graduating.

- Mark Nguyen, PharmD, BCEMP (@pharmwyze)


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