Citing Cynicism, Blatant Inaccuracies about Community Pharmacy, NACDS Responds to Wall Street Journal Article

Published Online: Thursday, March 21, 2013
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March 21, 2013

Arlington, Va. – National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE responded to an article in The Wall Street Journal which put sensational headlines and statements ahead of the facts, thus depicting pharmacies inaccurately. 

The March 17 article “10 Things Drugstores Won’t Tell You” is part of a series of similar articles in The Wall Street Journal.  Prior articles have focused on subjects ranging from health foods, to medical schools, to e-books, to “your spouse.”  NACDS cautioned that the cynical approach of the article could mislead patients, when – in reality – pharmacies and pharmacists help improve patient health and quality of life, and enjoy consistent high rankings for their integrity and accessibility. 

The text of the response is below:

The “10 Things Drugstores Won’t Tell You” might make a good headline, but this cynical piece incites an inaccurate portrayal of pharmacies, rather than emphasizing how they can help patients improve their quality of life.  

One blatant inaccuracy is “Pharmacists at the clinics … provide services people once turned to their primary-care physician for,” such as physicals.  Fact:  Clinics provide patient services that are administered by nurse practitioners or doctors – not pharmacists.  

What is probably another eye-catching headline is just another falsehood: “You say cold symptoms?  We say meth addict.”  This assumption is irresponsible and erroneous.  Fact: Pharmacies are subject to federal and state laws in selling pseudoephedrine (PSE) products.  They do not assume their patients are “meth addicts.”

Consumers are “better off” when they work with their pharmacy to help stay healthy.  Fact: A well-researched “10 Things Drugstores Do for Patients Every Day” would better serve patients instead of snappy headlines and unsubstantiated assumptions. 

Commenting further, Anderson said, “It is unfortunate that this article undervalues the important role of pharmacies when so many patients rely on them to stay healthy and make their healthcare more affordable.  As the face of neighborhood healthcare, pharmacies help patients use medicines safely as well as providing vaccinations, disease testing and other patient care services.  Every opportunity a pharmacist has to interact face-to-face with a patient is an opportunity to help a patient feel better or live better.  There is no substitute for that personal interaction.”

The original article was published in the Sunday, March 17 edition of The Wall Street Journal that was distributed through other regional and local newspapers.  The Wall Street Journal does not publish letters-to-the-editor regarding articles distributed in this format.   However, at the suggestion of an editor at The Wall Street Journal, NACDS was encouraged to engage in the dialogue online, and therefore NACDS posted its comments online in response to this article.

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