No question about it, the pharmacist is the most educated health care professional when it comes to medications, drug– drug interactions, and what is new on the market. It is with this in mind that we present our annual “Top 200 Drugs of 2010” (see page 52)—a detailed look at the drugs that cross the pharmacy counter day in and day out. The trends that surfaced for the year and, no doubt, foreshadow the future will not totally surprise the pharmacist who expertly copes with the pharmaceutical industry’s drug data on a micro level.
Perhaps the most chilling comment by author Michael Bartholow, PharmD, is the following: “The current economic climate has stunted health care growth noticeably.” Numbers don’t lie, and it is clear that patients and would-be patients are either avoiding the costs of their brand name medications entirely or are being prescribed generics by their physicians instead. Never before has the job of the pharmacist been so important. As people choose not to see their doctors at all because they fear racking up large medical bills or they have lost their insurance coverage, the local pharmacist becomes even more of a friendly face than ever before.
Pharmacists can offer cost-saving over-the-counter solutions for certain conditions, but just as importantly, they can counsel the patient to go directly to their primary care doctor or specialist if they suspect that the problem will only get worse without treatment. Always at the front line, pharmacists know their community physicians well and can work with physicians to ensure that patients get the best care for the best price. That path may include a less expensive generic version of the branded medication—borne out by the numbers, as we see that spending in generics increased by $16.6 billion in 2010. In fact, generics represent 78% of the total number of prescriptions dispensed in the United States last year, according to IMS Health.
We at Pharmacy Times take the counseling role of the pharmacist very seriously—in fact, we are the only pharmacy journal that routinely features practical case studies, counseling tips, patient education guides, step-by-step clinical articles, and valuable continuing education for a wide range of common and complex health conditions. Drug information is also a keystone of Pharmacy Times as we continually bring our readers comprehensive product news and reviews of the most current new drugs in all 3 important categories—OTC, Rx, and Generic.
The hands-on approach of every pharmacist surely will help unravel the complexities and cost questions of any and all of these drug categories for the patient. And we’ll stand with pharmacists each day to help them do their jobs better— with current information they can use from the pages of Pharmacy Times, our relaunched Web site at www.PharmacyTimes.com, and exclusive iPad content.
Thank you for reading!