5 Shocking Truths Physicians Don't Want Pharmacists to Know

Physicians and pharmacists usually work well together as part of a patient's care team, but there are some things that many physicians would prefer pharmacists not to know.

Physicians and pharmacists usually work well together as part of a patient’s care team, but there are some things that many physicians would prefer pharmacists not to know.

Here are 5 things that physicians may be wanting to keep secret from pharmacists.

1. Some physicians receive payments from pharmaceutical companies.

By promoting certain drugs and devices, physicians can receive thousands of dollars from pharmaceutical and device manufacturers each year. Often, these payments come in the form of speaking or consulting fees.

Granted, physicians will disclose these affiliations during educational conferences, but they usually won’t openly disclose this information to patients. Even though pharmaceutical companies are required to report the payments they make to health care professionals, physicians are not required to disclose the receipt of such payments.

2. Many physicians lack complete drug knowledge.

Because there are so many medications out there and even more hitting the market each year, many physicians struggle with staying up to date on drug knowledge. That’s why it’s so important for pharmacists to emphasize our role as medication experts. We need to educate physicians about appropriate, safe, and cost-effective medication use.

3. Physicians know that pharmacists are the real medication experts.

Has a physician ever acted offended when you recommended a different drug than the one he or she originally prescribed? When this happens, the physician is probably putting on a show; he or she knows that you’re the medication expert, but likely doesn’t want to admit it.

4. Pharmacists regularly help out physicians.

A few physicians hate to admit to being helped out by pharmacists because of bad handwriting, a misplaced decimal, or an outdated patient drug history. After all, pharmacists have the resources and training required to keep an eye out for potentially disastrous medication errors.

5. Some physicians prescribe the same drugs out of habit.

Most physicians know quite a bit about the most commonly prescribed medications in their specialty area and tend to rely on those drugs even when there are other (and possibly better) alternatives available. Some physicians get “comfortable” with certain drugs and know what to expect in terms of side effects and efficacy. Why change what’s worked in the past?

The physician-pharmacist relationship is critical to ensuring high-quality patient care and safety. Even though physicians and pharmacists may disagree from time to time, it is important for both health care professions to keep the lines of communication open and show respect.

Pharmacists and physicians both bring specific knowledge to the table that can ensure effective patient care.