Pharmacists Invited to Share Their Stories

Pharmacists and other clinicians can share their perspectives on cost awareness in health care for a chance to win $1000.

Pharmacists witness the financial impact of hundreds of health care decisions every day. As the last health care practitioner patients see before beginning drug therapy—and sometimes the only provider with whom they interact between refills—pharmacists are uniquely privy to concerns regarding the initial and ongoing costs of treatment.

Costs of Care, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cost awareness, is seeking input from health care practitioners for its annual Costs of Care Essay Contest. Anecdotes that illustrate the need for informed medical decision-making to reduce health care costs will be considered for a $1000 prize. Pharmacists are encouraged to apply.

Unlike physicians’ offices—where staff are not necessarily equipped to dispatch information about a medication’s cost and patients may be reluctant to ask—pharmacies are where costs are realized. As a result, copay discussions often play out across the pharmacy counter, sometimes to the frustration of both parties involved.

Costs of Care’s essay contest challenges pharmacists to harness the transformative power of those transactions into a call to action. “[Contestants’] stories will draw attention to the power clinicians and patients have to identify and curb harmful health care spending on a grassroots level,” according to a press release issued by Costs of Care.

Entries must be fewer than 750 words in length; focus on an anecdote, rather than a strategic policy solution; and be submitted by the deadline of November 1st, 2010.

Finalists and winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges, including Michael Leavitt, former governor of Utah and US Secretary of Health and Human Services; Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, a surgeon and staff writer for the New Yorker magazine; Tim Johnson, chief medical correspondent for ABC News; Jeffrey Flier, MD, Dean of Harvard Medical School, and Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts and Democratic presidential candidate.

For more information, including contest rules and important deadlines, visit the Costs of Care Web site.

For other articles in this issue, see:

  • Pharmacy Times iPad App Unveiled
  • Prescription Drug Use on the Rise, CDC Reports
  • Pharmacists Valuable Players on Health Care Teams