Recently, Chain Drug Review assembled a roundtable forum of pharmacy industry leaders who came together at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Total Store Expo to discuss the future of retail pharmacy. ScriptPro CEO Mike Coughlin was asked to participate and share his industry knowledge.
The following are highlights of Mike Coughlin’s remarks. Click here to read the full published article. Thank you to Chain Drug Review for providing powerful stories and news items that impact the pharmacy industry.
Moderator: “We have the joint phenomenon of growing product business as well as a growing and demanding service and clinical care business, and all of that is taking place within that same site of care within the pharmacy. How we handle those challenges of integrating the product and the clinical workflows together in our systems and how we think about training and bringing along the pharmacy teams to manage those complexities is one of the things that we’ve been dealing with for a while.”
Mike Coughlin responds with his personal experience on this issue and the extreme importance of pharmacists today:
“I’m going to speak at the FIP [International Pharmaceutical Federation] Conference in Bangkok and they invited me to address the topic: How accessible are pharmacists? I was asked to talk about this from a technology standpoint and explain how they could be made more accessible. I’m not a pharmacist, but I backed up and thought to myself, “Why do we need pharmacists? Why are they important? Why do they need to be accessible?” I thought, “They’re the medication experts.” We need pharmacists for safe and effective use of medications. But that’s not the only reason. They also are the guardians of drugs in society. They are necessary so we can have these powerful medications in wide circulation, and we count on them to manage the drugs, take care of them, account for them, etc. That’s another reason we need pharmacists. We also look to pharmacists to maintain the records of the drugs patients are taking. If you go in the hospital and the nurses are dispensing the drugs, you may not have accurate records of what the patients have been given. We need pharmacists to be responsible for the record keeping. The final thought that came to my mind was that pharmacists are an honest judge of what drugs should be given to patients. If you don’t have that honest judge stepping back from what the doctor prescribed, or what the nurse thinks they ought to have, then the system can go in the wrong direction. John and Steve both mentioned the stature of pharmacy, and the way it’s rising, and I think it’s a good time for us to step up and answer the questions, “Why do we need pharmacists, why are they so important to society?”
Moderator: “Let me ask another question related to NACDS, and that’s about the Medicaid reimbursement situation. Where does that stand, and how is that developing? We’re waiting for CMS, right?”
“Friday morning brought about something fairly exciting and problematic with the hydrocodone change. It’s a huge issue for pharmacies having to deal with those drugs when they become class II. It’s now another one of those burdens. The amount of work this is going to entail for a significant amount of volume, and the manpower involved, and the risk involved is huge. We work with the Department of Defense and government pharmacies, and when they have to handle controlled substances they’re in a panic because they have to report to Congress if one pill is missing – so they use all sorts of systems to deal with this: double counting, optical machine counting, verifications. A pharmacist called me today and said he’s going to have to add a technician just to deal with the paperwork. These are the kinds of complexities that pharmacies are saddled with all the time.”