At a recent meeting, some pharmacists were complaining about their situation and blaming others for their problems. The pharmaceutical industry received its share of criticism. At the end of the meeting, a pharmacist reminded everyone of the interdependence between pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. Think about it. The opportunity for pharmacists to serve more people and produce better drug therapy outcomes depends on the research and development productivity of the pharmaceutical industry. It is true that there have been some inappropriate practices by some companies, but there have been by the pharmacy profession too.
As I thought about it, I was reminded of just how interdependent we all are in health care today. No discipline alone can meet patients? needs. Because we want to ignore our interdependence, we fight as if we can stand alone, seeing every battle as a win?lose situation. The result is a health care system that does not work very well. The situation will not get better until we recognize our interdependence and look for win?win solutions.
It is time for pharmacists to stop blaming others for their situation and to start looking at how our profession should change in an interdependent health care system. We need to take the high road, making changes ourselves before we expect changes from others. We need to remember that drug therapy is central to the 21st-century health care system. How do we position pharmacists as drug experts? Recognizing our interdependence will help.
Fred M. Eckel, RPh, MS
Professor and Director
Office of Practice Development and Education
School of Pharmacy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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