Pharmacists an Underused Health Resource
For consumers taking
a variety of prescription medications as well as over-the-counter remedies
and supplements, pharmacist counseling can be critical. Still, it’s no secret
that patients choose not to take advantage of pharmacists’ knowledge and
help improve their health in the process.
recent report by Los Angeles Times cited a study
conducted in California by the non-profit Center for Health Improvement in
2004 and 2005 which found half of all pharmacy customers 65 and older “waived
counseling either ‘sometimes,’ ‘often’ or ‘always.’"
Consumers have a wide
variety of reasons for choosing not to accept counseling, including a lack
of time, but that’s not an excuse the pharmacists should accept, Steven Chen,
associate professor at the USC School of Pharmacy told the Times.
pharmacists should almost force themselves on patients,” Mr.
Chen said. “They should definitely never say, ‘If you don’t want counseling,
just sign this line.’ But that happens with too many pharmacists.”
often feel pressed for time and many do not provide the level of counseling
that they are capable of, according to the Center for Health Improvement
“There’s such a high demand for drugs,” Mr.
Chen said, “and
not always enough staff.”
Anne Burns, vice president for professional affairs
for the American Pharmacists Association, told the LA Times. “You
should choose your pharmacist as carefully as you choose your physician.”
Question: How much can a high-performing pharmacist affect a retail business?
Should retailers instruct their pharmacists to be more insistent about counseling?