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    Way Back in 1982: Predicting pharmacy’s future

    Twenty-four years ago, pharmacists looked into their crystal ball and predicted their industry's future.

    Drug Topics’ September 6, 1982 cover story (“Pharmacy’s Brave New World”) offered numerous projections and predictions. Most have come to fruition, even if they took much longer to materialize than originally thought.

    Predictions versus results

    Consider, for example, this passage from that issue: “Some see pharmacists screening patients and providing a sort of triage function, directing patients to appropriate physicians and/or healthcare clinics or units. Others envision pharmacists as prescribers or at least prescribing consultants working collaboratively with physicians.”

    Much or all of that is taking place. Most pharmacies have expanded their businesses by providing services such as vaccinations that previously were the sole domain of physicians and nurses. Still others are collaborating with physicians to remove unnecessary medical visits when it comes to emergency medications such as naloxone.

    Prescribing, on the other hand, is still a much-debated issue, with many rank-and-file pharmacists believing they should stick to dispensing and leave prescribing and the liabilities that come with it to doctors. In California and Oregon, lawmakers have authorized pharmacists to prescribe birth control. However, anecdotal evidence suggests few pharmacies are doing so.

    Another passage in the 1982 issue read: “Others see pharmacists as acting as monitors of ambulatory patients as they leave hospitals or physician’s office.”

    In fact, numerous studies and pilot projects have indicated that involving pharmacists in transitions of care significantly reduces hospital readmissions and well as increasing medication adherence.

    Mark Lowery, Editor
    Mark Lowery an Editor for Drug Topics magazine.


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