Pharmacist Tells Off Radio Host for Slamming Profession

A student pharmacist wrote an open letter to a radio station after a host disparaged the profession with complaints that ranged from the time he had to wait in line for his Z-Pak medication to the placement of contraceptives near the pharmacy counter, according to Buzzfeed.

A student pharmacist wrote an open letter to a radio station after a host disparaged the profession with complaints that ranged from the time he had to wait in line for his Z-Pak medication to the placement of contraceptives near the pharmacy counter, according to Buzzfeed. In her letter, Katie Buhlinger fired back, calling his comments “disrespectful, insulting, and completely ignorant.”

After the host stereotyped pharmacists simply as “pill counters,” Buhlinger reminded him that pharmacists have doctorates in pharmacy and many pursue further education, so limiting their skills to counting pills “is throwing our profession back a half-century.”

Responding to his complaint about the wait in line, Buhlinger said the pharmacist could have been counseling other patients on their medications, calling insurance companies, or addressing a dosing error. Pharmacists save millions of lives and dollars with their efforts to correct errors, she said.

“So if you expect your prescription to get to you faster than your cheeseburger from McDonalds, consider that the person behind the counter actually cares about your health more than you think,” she said.

The radio host had also complained about being asked to take a seat, and Buhlinger explained that pharmacists are required to be discreet about sensitive patient information. Otherwise, they could be in violation of HIPAA if they do not at least attempt to provide privacy to patients.

She challenged the host on his criticism of contraceptives being placed near the pharmacist counter by saying that patients commonly have questions about these products, and pharmacists can help promote prevention and protection from STDs, HIV, and unwanted pregnancy.

“I think it is unbelievable that you would disrespect an entire profession and generalize them in such a way,” Buhlinger said. “I can only imagine if similar opinions were expressed about a different profession like nursing. It needs to be understood that pharmacists are part of the entire health care team and play a role throughout this system, from the hospital to the community.”

Buhlinger called for an apology from the radio host and said he needed to clarify for himself and his listeners what it takes to be a pharmacist.