Current Issues in Pharmacy Management

by Jennifer Bradford on May 18, 2009

Pharmacy managers need to deal with a variety of issues, including rising prescription costs and the danger of drug interactions.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was finally a conclusive way for you to make sure that your patients didn’t experience adverse drug interactions? What about finally being able to curb the cost of care for nursing home patients without compromising the quality of the care they were receiving? Believe it or not, pharmacy management groups deal with these issues on an ongoing basis but as costs rise and more people rely on medication, it becomes an issue of interest.

If you factor in how a pharmacy must also deal with storing, caring for, and educating patients on a variety of medications, there is large room for discussion on how to best manage pharmacies and their administration.

There is a lot more to a pharmacy than simply administering medicines. Many people don’t understand how involved pharmacy management is in the field of healthcare reform. Take medication discrepancies, for instance; more people are harmed every day because there isn’t an accurate and central way to forewarn of medication interactions before a patient receives the medication.

pharmacy

Typically, a pharmacy can only serve a patient who has all of their medications filled at one location. The problems arise when patients use more than one pharmacy or hospital for treatment. Pharmacy managers are running trials with sophisticated database technology to keep patients from being harmed by drug interactions and discrepancies. It’s their goal to be able to provide accurate information to every pharmacy so they can provide quality care.

Pharmacy management is also becoming more involved in keeping the cost of health care down for nursing home patients. Prescription drug costs continue to rise in lieu of managed care directives. Pharmacy management has been using nursing homes as a model for managing prescription programs because of the ability to track care long term.  It is the hope that, at some point, pharmacy management programs can be utilized in every state of the US.

As someone who has dealt closely with many formulary medications, this current issue hits home with me. It’s a beautiful and wonderful thing to have new medications available to treat illnesses and help manage my family’s health. However, because the newer medications being designed for patients require more specialized care and handling before they reach the patient’s hands, the costs of these drugs can be astronomical. There still seems to be no relief to patients and families needing specialty drugs. This is why pharmacy management is looking into the complete costs of these drugs, from developing them to manufacturing them to distributing them, and how much of that cost is being passed onto the patient unnecessarily.

Pharmacy management programs are constantly negotiating discounts and working to educate patients. They also work to get medications covered by insurance faster so that patients are able to buy the medications they need. It’s one small step to help defray the costs of these medications and ensure that patients can afford the medications they need. Some critics, however, wonder if it’s enough.

As pharmacy management begins to take a stronger foothold in healthcare and reform, we should all begin to see positive changes for our patients and their families.

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