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    No Rx birth control: Ready, set, dispense?

    Although California and Oregon now allow pharmacists to dispense birth control to customers without a prescription, not many pharmacists are taking part–at least not yet.

    Even so, retail chains, pharmacy educators, and some pharmacists say it is a great opportunity for pharmacists to expand their services and to use the knowledge they have. “We appreciate the new law’s recognition of the valuable role that pharmacists can play as healthcare providers. We are currently assessing the law’s procedural requirements and how we might be able to incorporate the service into our pharmacy operations,” said Jim Graham, Walgreens’ senior manager of media relations.

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    In the next several weeks, Walgreens plans to test the service in a small number of pharmacies, “which will also give us an indication of the demand for this service,” Graham said.

    The ability to dispense birth control “is a great practice advancement opportunity for pharmacists and the first opening to truly practice at the top of our license/training,” said Cortney Mospan, PharmD, assistant professor of pharmacy at Wingate University School of Pharmacy in Wingate, N.C. “For me as a community pharmacist, I want the opportunity to fully use my training and education while practicing in the community setting and the provision of birth control is a greater opportunity for pharmacists as the medication experts on the healthcare team to really use our knowledge.”

    However, along with the ability to dispense birth control comes greater responsibilities and time away from dispensing scripts. “Pharmacists will need to be thorough in their patient assessment as well as their monitoring and knowledge of the differences in the types of birth control, such as the patch versus the NuvaRing versus injectables versus the multitude of oral contraception,” Mospan said.

    Christine Blank
    Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.

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    • ARDIEL@------.NET
      RX BIRTH CONTROL:NOT READY TO SET AND DISPSENSE Hooray for the pharmacists who are smart enough to understand the seriousness of prescribing in a retail setting drugs that can have such short term and long term effects on their customers, in both a positive and a negative way. Once again, the pharmacy educators or Academians as I prefer to call them, who have no experience behind the bench, who are more often than not, not pharmacists, are advocating those who practice pharmacy at the retail level to take a giant step somewhere and open NO themselves up to all kinds of law suits and medical issues that the pharmacist is NOT prepared for. Why would an intelligent customer want to purchase this product from a pharmacist, bypassing traditional care, and having someone who is NOT educated in all the issues surrounding correct oral contraceptive prescribing do so., There is certainly a market for this type of business and yes, the chains will demand of their pharmacists that they do so, promising them malpractice insurance and whatever else is required to make it happen. Pharmacists are NOT appreciated for the skills they bring to the workplace, for the knowledge they possess, but that does not mean they are skilled or educated enough to prescribe such drugs. The very workplace as it is now configured does not offer a proper place for a private and meaningful discussion of the patient’s needs. If Cortney Mospan is so anxious to show how smart she is, perhaps she should find another setting to work in, not a retail setting, where everything but a quality area is available for such interaction between her and the customer she is attempting to care for. The most important duty of the pharmacist is to see that the prescription as prescribed by the physician is correct in both its intent, use, and the right drug is dispensed to the right patient. I suppose we could let the ten dollar an hour teenager handle that while the brilliant pharmacist is talking to his new source of income, the customer. You talk of thoroughness in the patient assessment as well as monitoring their profiles. WAIT, doesn’t the computer do that now? I observe how customers are taken care of under the current demand for more RXs completed in less time and see little serious discussion between the customer and the pharmacist. Pharmacists such as Cortney must not have practiced in the same retail settings I have worked in and in my own pharmacy for so many years because her ideas really do belong in a think tank of academic wonders who are not pharmacists and who have no sense of reality as to what happens in the real world I have lived and worked in. Bert Drachtman R.Ph. B.S.
    • ARDIEL@------.NET
      RX BIRTH CONTROL:NOT READY TO SET AND DISPSENSE Hooray for the pharmacists who are smart enough to understand the seriousness of prescribing in a retail setting drugs that can have such short term and long term effects on their customers, in both a positive and a negative way. Once again, the pharmacy educators or Academians as I prefer to call them, who have no experience behind the bench, who are more often than not, not pharmacists, are advocating those who practice pharmacy at the retail level to take a giant step somewhere and open NO themselves up to all kinds of law suits and medical issues that the pharmacist is NOT prepared for. Why would an intelligent customer want to purchase this product from a pharmacist, bypassing traditional care, and having someone who is NOT educated in all the issues surrounding correct oral contraceptive prescribing do so., There is certainly a market for this type of business and yes, the chains will demand of their pharmacists that they do so, promising them malpractice insurance and whatever else is required to make it happen. Pharmacists are NOT appreciated for the skills they bring to the workplace, for the knowledge they possess, but that does not mean they are skilled or educated enough to prescribe such drugs. The very workplace as it is now configured does not offer a proper place for a private and meaningful discussion of the patient’s needs. If Cortney Mospan is so anxious to show how smart she is, perhaps she should find another setting to work in, not a retail setting, where everything but a quality area is available for such interaction between her and the customer she is attempting to care for. The most important duty of the pharmacist is to see that the prescription as prescribed by the physician is correct in both its intent, use, and the right drug is dispensed to the right patient. I suppose we could let the ten dollar an hour teenager handle that while the brilliant pharmacist is talking to his new source of income, the customer. You talk of thoroughness in the patient assessment as well as monitoring their profiles. WAIT, doesn’t the computer do that now? I observe how customers are taken care of under the current demand for more RXs completed in less time and see little serious discussion between the customer and the pharmacist. Pharmacists such as Cortney must not have practiced in the same retail settings I have worked in and in my own pharmacy for so many years because her ideas really do belong in a think tank of academic wonders who are not pharmacists and who have no sense of reality as to what happens in the real world I have lived and worked in. Bert Drachtman R.Ph. B.S.