Expert: Pharmacists are Advocates for Patients, Simplifying the Health Care System

As part of American Pharmacist Month, Pharmacy Times is asking experts what they believe the value of the pharmacist is.

As part of American Pharmacist Month, Pharmacy Times is asking experts what they believe the value of the pharmacist is.Kyle McCormick, PharmD, owner of Blueberry Pharmacy, discusses how pharmacists can be advocates for their patients and simplify the health care system for them.

Kyle McCormick: The value of a pharmacist is being a patient's advocate when it comes to medication. Patients, caregivers, health care is confusing, right? Health care is expensive, it's complex. Medications are just part of that system, and so the value of the pharmacist is to tear down those complexities, make medications accessible, understandable, make patients want to engage with their health care providers about that medication.

The value of the pharmacist is not just being an expert on the drug knowledge, like, Google's a great expert on drug knowledge, just being able to convey that, to be empathetic, to be there for the patient, to help provide point-of-care testing, immunizations.

I think, to a patient example that I have, that they were overpaying for their prescription drugs, and I was able to get their [medication] through reducing the cost of their generics. We also helped them navigate coupons for their insulin that was going to cost them $100 a month so they weren't even using it. We were able to get them on the appropriate therapy, and within a couple of months of being on that they were down 10 pounds. Their A1C was much better.

The husband, he wasn't on on a maintenance inhaler for COPD. So he's going through nebulizer vials like crazy, and he still couldn't breathe that well. Using coupons and helping to lower the costs and increase accessibility, he called me 2 days after he restarted his maintenance inhaler and said, "Kyle, I can breathe again."

I think pharmacists, we don't often think about, as pharmacists, we do but the system doesn't value that and so a lot of it's is proving our value, having patients recognize that so that it can be communicated to the rest of the health care team.