Over the years, Pharmacy Times has been tracking the evolution of the pharmacists'role in the health care system. Now more than ever, you are tasked with performingsafety checks, informing patients about how to administer their medications, helpingthem choose from among a host of OTC remedies, and even sometimes helping themnavigate their often complex prescription drug coverage.
The recent emergence of walk-in clinics, the patent expirations of major blockbusterdrugs, and the availability of more medications without a prescription will all contributeto increased patient reliance on the pharmacist as the last point of contact beforehe or she takes a medication. These shifts have given rise to a relatively new acronym,MTM, for medication therapy management, and a host of challenges from training toreimbursement.
Of course, none of this is news to you. If you have not seen an increase in your "infront of the counter" time counseling patients, you are the exception rather than therule. Through a series of roundtables on MTM, we have learned that many of you viewthis change as an inevitable and welcome development that is consistent with yourdesire to become a pharmacist in the first place. Others see the changes with varyingdegrees of hesitation; the big questions many of you seem to have are how to managethe increased demands on your time.
Our goal at Pharmacy Times is to inform you about these trends and help you findthe information you will need to navigate today's diverse pharmacy environment.Our coverage continues to evolve to help you meet these challenges. That evolutionincludes our recent multipart series on "Pharmacy as a Health Care Destination,"which will be featured again in future issues, and a new regular department coveringthe administration of specialty pharmaceuticals, which you will find on page 18. Wehope you enjoy these new areas of coverage, and we encourage your feedback onfuture coverage that will help us continue to provide "practical information for today'spharmacist."
In the meantime, our February issue focuses on the ever important topic of infectiousdiseases, with a particular emphasis on the important role you play. I hope youenjoy the issue.
Thank you for reading.
Michael J. Hennessy