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Make a Difference

Make a Difference

May 29, 2019


Make a Difference

Andrew Fisher

Part of ORCHIDsocial

    Pharmacists and pharmacy owners are typically difference-makers – or at least have the desire to be. Depending on the circumstances, that desire may get suppressed by the day-to-day realities of the job, but you don’t go through the effort it takes to become a pharmacist or a pharmacy owner without a desire to make a difference. Making a difference comes in different forms. It might be taking an extra step – often uncompensated – to help a patient who is confused by or on too many medications. It might be working with an employee who is having a hard time. Or it might be working with charitable organizations within your local community to help those that otherwise would not receive care. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to be a difference-maker, and we need to take action if we want to have a future of autonomy and opportunity.  

     Right now, there are some serious threats facing the pharmacy profession and independent pharmacy owners, which are going to make it harder for us to make a difference. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) continue to push unfair contract requirements on pharmacies that make it harder to run a business and to help patients. Their limited drug formularies, prior authorization and step therapy requirements, and increased out of pocket costs for patients is effectively practicing medicine at arm’s length. When PBMs do these kinds of things it takes the care of the patient out of the hands of the physician and the pharmacist, which leads to worse outcomes. It also trades the patient’s well-being for greater profits for the PBMs and their insurance company clients. While most other industries are moving in a direction of more personalization and consumer choice, the pharmacy industry is going the opposite direction. Patients and providers have fewer choices of drug therapies and pharmacies today than they ever have before, and patients are suffering for it.

     As pharmacists and/or pharmacy owners, we need to focus our attention on making a difference within our own industry. Ron Lanton with Friar Levitt Government Affairs recently wrote a great article about a law North Dakota passed in 2017 that is currently working its way through the court system. The article is definitely worth a read. If this is truly a roadmap for a successful strategy to combat PBM abuse, then we all need to be getting involved at the state level to get similar legislation passed in our states. The following are 3 things every pharmacist and independent pharmacy owner can be doing to make sure we all have a future as difference-makers:

  • Take opportunities to get to know your local state legislators and make sure they are aware of what you are facing as a pharmacist and/or pharmacy owner. 
  • Get involved in statewide movements for friendly legislation. Even if you just sign your name on a petition, it makes a difference.
  • Educate patients on what is going on and how they can make a difference. Pharmacists come into contact with hundreds of patients each month, and these people are greatly affected by PBM abuse even if they don’t realize it. It is in their best interest to support regulations that reign in the abuse by the PBMs and give more influence back to pharmacists and independent pharmacies. 

ORCHID works with independent pharmacy owners to help them grow their business by working more closely with providers in their local area. We would love to talk with you about our programs so please contact us!