Read All About It: Newspapers Recognize Pharmacy as Health Care Resource

Eileen Oldfield, Associate Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, August 8, 2012
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Several recent media reports underscore the important—and growing—role of pharmacists as a health care resource.

Whether they are looking for health advice or vaccines, patients can turn to their pharmacist to fill their health care needs, as 2 news reports cited in a recent press release from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores demonstrate.
 
An article published on July 22, 2012, in the Delmarva Daily Times highlighted the role of pharmacists in medication management, including educating patients regarding possible side effects, contraindications, and allergic reactions. The article stressed the importance of pharmacists’ interactions with patients and their families.
 
“We can help patients better understand their medications,” Cynthia Boyle, PharmD, of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s School of Pharmacy, told the newspaper. “In fact, a significant part of our curriculum is teaching students to meet the needs of patients and families through health promotion and education.”
 
Meanwhile, an article published on July 23, 2012, in the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that Florida pharmacists can now administer the shingles and pneumonia vaccines. Pharmacists, who previously had only been allowed to give influenza vaccines, gained the new powers under the state’s Vaccine Access Act., which went into effect on July 1.
 
“It’s more convenient than waiting in the doctor’s office,” Ray Sternberger, a Fort Lauderdale resident, told the paper. “It makes a lot of sense.”
 
Pharmacy advocates in the state noted that the law acknowledges the pharmacist’s role as a health care resource and encourages improved public health and awareness, according to the article.
 
“Pharmacists are among the most accessible health care professionals in the community today,” Valerie Wickboldt, of the Pharmacy Choice and Access Now Coalition, told the paper. “People use their pharmacy an average of once a month, so pharmacies can advertise the importance of these immunizations more readily to a broader population.”
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the portion of flu shots administered by pharmacists increased from 7% in the 2006-2007 influenza season, when pharmacists were first allowed to administer the shots, to 18.4% in the 2011-2012 season.

“Any time you have an opportunity to help someone from being sick or help someone stay healthy, and to prevent the increased costs of health care in this state, it’s gotta be a win for everybody,” Michael Jackson, vice president of the Florida Pharmacy Association, told the paper.

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