Blogs: The Reinvented Pharmacist

Controlling Dispensing Docs

Published Online: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The headline read: “Insurers Pay Big Markups as Doctors Dispense Drugs.”

"When a pharmacy sells the heartburn drug Zantac, each pill costs about 35 cents. But doctors dispensing it to patients in their offices have charged nearly 10 times that price, or $3.25 a pill," read the article. “At a time of soaring health care bills, experts say that doctors, middlemen and drug distributors are adding hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the costs borne by taxpayers, insurance companies and employers through the practice of physician dispensing.”

Wow, who would have thought that? Of course, I am being facetious. When someone takes on a role that is not part of their primary field, they do it primarily to make money.
As pharmacists, we also want to make money so we can stay in business—but we want to do it fairly, so we can stay in business. When the Boards of Pharmacy try to hold dispensing physicians to the same standards that pharmacists follow, some see this as a self-serving effort rather than one inspired by patient safety issues. But disclosures like this may help the Boards of Pharmacy better control dispensing by MDs.
What do you think?  
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
Blog Info
This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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