I will upload my personal lecture audio under this post throughout our 8 weeks together.
The lesson manual includes content covering 8 lessons, quizzes, previous final exams, and information pertaining to how to conduct yourself on externship. Please use this manual as your guide to complete this course. It will take both in class and out of class studying to complete each of the 8 lessons. Each lesson should take you at least 4 hours to cover.
Please refer back to the lessons as needed.
I will not print lessons, it is up to you to follow the material accordingly. The links are below.
Classroom to be used: Ethel Hall Building – Room 201
Time: 9:00am – 10:30am
PDF’s for download:
May 1, 2019 Lecture on Lesson 1 :
May 7, 2019 Lecture on Lesson 2:
May 14, 2019 Quiz 1:
Quiz 1 will be given on May 14, 2019. You will have 45 minutes to complete the quiz (9am – 945am). There will be a brief break and then a review of the quiz by your instructor for the remainder of the class.
Quiz 2 for May 15, 2019 will be rescheduled. We will instead cover Lesson 3 and go into more depth review of the material thus far. We will also have a lab to get hands on knowledge of the material covered.
Homework — please continue to keep studying the top 200 drugs from your text. You should now be memorizing pages 4, 5, and 6 of the top 200 from your workbook.
The class average for quiz 1 was 68%.
May 15, 2019
May 15, 2019 Audio Part 1:
May 15, 2019 Audio Part 2:
Quiz 2 will be next Wednesday May 22, 2019 over the top 200. Use previous quizzes from last year to study for Quiz 2. There will be 75 questions on quiz 2 and you will have 1 hour to complete the quiz.
To receive extra credit on quiz 2, please look over the top 200 and type up a summary on 25 drugs of your choice. For each medication — list the brand name of the drug, the generic name of the drug, the classification of the drug, and the body part the drug acts on.
For example… ProAir HFA is an inhaler and is classified as a respiratory agent, the generic name is Albuterol HFA and the body part that the drug acts on is the lungs. The drug acts in a manner to open the airways so that a person can breath normally.
If you type up 25 drugs and do it as I’ve asked you, you can receive up to 25 points extra credit on quiz 2. Remember, it must be typed!!! And you must turn this in on Tuesday May 21, 2019 to receive credit.
Please continue to look over the externship material. Sign the final page of the agreement, informing me that you’re committed to a 40 hour externship, and please talk to DHR and/or JCCEO to inform them of your intentions to become a registered pharmacy technician — you need to be registered prior to going on externship. This costs $103.
Tuesday May 21, 2019 we reviewed Lesson 3 and began covering Lesson 4. We finished the first problem in Lesson 5. Please work on the second question in Lesson 5 and read Chapter 6.
Audio from Tuesday May 21, 2019:
Wednesday May 22, 2019 the second quiz for this session was administered.
After taking into account the 25 point bonus — the class average for quiz 2 was 77.8%
A review of Chapter 6 continued during this lecture post quiz. Please continue to work on Chapter 6 and review Lesson 1-Lesson 5 for class next week.
Tuesday May 28, 2019 the third quiz was administered by Janiece. All those present received a 100% on the quiz.
Wednesday May 29, 2019 we completed Lesson 7 — please continue to review Lesson 7. We reviewed Lesson 5.
Lecture Audio May 29, 2019:
For Quiz 4 prepare in this way:
- Memorize section A conversions from Lesson 5
- Be prepared to answer multiple choice questions that relate to prescription examples Baby Girl Roberts, Janet Jackson, and Henry Ford from Lesson 5.
- Lastly, review the Alligation Hydrocortisone example that can be found on page 184 in your text. This example will be used for your quiz.
June 4, 2019 the quiz will be 25 questions. We will then review Quiz 4 –> proceed to a lab on compounding –> and review Lesson 8.
Please review your syllabus, our time together is nearing the end.
June 4 — Quiz 4 and practical compounding lab
June 18 — Final Exam
June 19 — Review of the Final Exam administered on the 18th and Final Grades
- Please continue to study, work diligently on your pharmacy technician registration, work on your resume’, and begin submitting applications to local pharmacies
- If you find a job as a pharmacy technician or as a pharmacy cashier prior to externship, you will not have to complete an externship.
50 point extra credit!!!!!!
Write two paragraphs describing each lesson that we have completed thus far. We have completed Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.
Give 2 examples from each lesson and why each example is important in becoming a pharmacy technician.
For example in your paragraph you describe Pharmacy Technician Registration in the State of Alabama…
In Lesson 1 we discussed how to become registered as a pharmacy technician. It is important that pharmacy technicians know that in the State of Alabama we register by using albop.com. The annual fee is $103 with renewals occurring in odd years.
Remember 2 examples from each lesson, each example should be 1 paragraph in length. This must be typed. 12 point font. Times New Roman. Double spaced.
June 4 2019
June 4 2019 Audio —
If anytime remains we will begin covering Lesson 8.
Externships will be emailed out this Friday June 8, 2019. It is your responsibility to contact the Pharmacy Managers/Lead Technicians to setup days that you can complete your 40 hours of training. You will have 3 weeks to complete training. You are exempt from externship if you have found a job in Pharmacy.
June 11 2019 — Janiece will cover Lesson 8/Discuss Externship
June 12 2019 — Practice Final Examination/Discuss Externship
Link to practice final exam — please use your books and internet to study
The final exam will be 60 questions, you will have the full class session to complete.
Topics to cover: pharmacy workflow, prescription benefit card, math conversions, sig codes, pharmacy law, brand/genetics, and pharmacy math!
June 18 2019 — Final Exam/Questions/Discuss Externship — we need copies of your pharmacy tech registrations!
June 19 2019 — Final Grades/Review Final Exam/Questions/Discuss Externship
October is American Pharmacists Month.
This Profile is truly a reflection of the commonality in our life’s story that first began in a dormitory nearly 20 years ago. I met Donaye circa fall 2001 while living in Pittman Hall at Samford University.
Pittman Hall was our home away from home. A place where we would study, sleep, eat, and bond over ping-pong and television. Some of the men that I would meet during those days would later become our future leaders in law, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, business, and public health.
We lived our best lives in a chasm between the “Bubble” and being outside the “Gates.” While we made jokes of our existence living in the “Bubble” by acting as though we so desperately needed to escape; we all silently understood that we loved and respected the safety of our campus. The safety, the tranquility, and the ease by which we maneuvered in this “Bubble” allowed us to grow up and learn from both our successes and our failures, our ups and our downs, our hopes and our fears.
After a long day, we would swipe our ID badges to have access to the CAF where we would eat, sit, and listen and learn from each other. We learned life lessons over those meals; we needed those lessons and that support from one another to become the men we are today. Furthermore, it was because of our days in the “Bubble” that we were able to have a real opportunity to learn from our mistakes in a safe environment.
We laughed, yelled, cried, and prayed with one another. We spent many late nights studying and fighting sleep. We broke bread together, or rather broke onion rings together at our favorite hang out The Purple Onion. And then one day we walked across a stage and shook hands with the President of the University, took pictures, and became official graduates of an institution of higher education. We came in as boys and left to begin our journey as young men. We hugged each other, said we would keep in touch, and departed from each others presence to attempt to fulfill the mission that God had given each one of us. We all worked hard to make it; working to achieve our full potential to become the men that God created… men that could successfully take care of family and self.
After Donaye graduated from college, he attended Physical Therapy school in Georgia. I thought I wouldn’t see him on campus again, except for a few football games here and there. But sometime in the fall of 2002 during my Sophomore year of college that all changed.
Donaye entered the classroom for my General Chemistry II course with books, and I looked at him and said, “dude what are you doing in here…I thought you were doing Physical Therapy school?”
His response, “I changed my mind, I’m going to Pharmacy School.”
Little did we know — our individual journeys would continue to cross paths as we took a whirlwind adventure towards completing our goals, and reaching our final destinations as “First Generation PharmDs“. In that Chemistry class I watched Donaye meet the love of his life, a year later I watched him enter Pharmacy School, and four years later he would graduate.
How many actively practicing Pharmacists do you know are Hip-Hop artists? Donaye Blake, PharmD has produced 4 albums and is currently in the studio working on album number five. But it’s his album “The Sequel” that most inspired me in my own personal pursuit towards becoming a Pharmacist. In the song entitled “Guess Who“, I felt his pride, determination, and energy on his impending accomplishment of earning a PharmD when he rapped the following words…
“Haters hate the fact, that I’m so laid back, PharmD slash Rap, imma get that“. — Dab Haskal — lyrics from song “Guess Who” album, The Sequel
I would enter Pharmacy School in 2008 one year after he graduated from Pharmacy School in May 2007. Donaye, now a Retail Pharmacist with Walgreens helped me earn my first job in Pharmacy by recommending me to the Pharmacy Manager Joe Randall, PharmD. I’m thankful for that opportunity as I began to learn about my profession in a community pharmacy.
Fast forward and Donaye has been a practicing Pharmacist for 11 years. He’s worked as a Retail Community Pharmacist and he now serves in the role of a 7 on 7 off Staff Hospital Pharmacist. I’m thankful to know him because just seeing him achieve his goals, helped me to believe that I could do the same.
Lastly, but most importantly, Donaye Blake, PharmD is a devoted husband and a wonderful father to two beautiful daughters.
Once again, I’m very thankful for Donaye taking the time to reflect and respond to this set of questions. He has never been shy about expressing his personal truths. Thus, readers, please take into consideration his perspective on the Life of a Pharmacist. He offers a diverse perspective that both Pharmacy peers and laypersons can take into consideration in understanding our diverse perspective on describing the pressures of attending Pharmacy School and the pressures of being an actively practicing Pharmacist.
Sam: When did you graduate Pharmacy School?
Sam: Bachelors Degree?
Donaye: Exercise Science
Donaye: No. I was ready to get paid so I could give it all to Sallie Mae
Sam: Can you tell me about your career — what jobs you’ve had — positions and titles that you’ve held — please don’t be modest
Donaye: Because the pharmacist job market was far less saturated than today’s, I took a two and a half month break after graduation to travel, relax and study. After finally sitting for and passing the boards, I immediately started at Walgreens as a floating pharmacist between two Birmingham stores. After 3 years of floating, I accepted a 7 on 7 off overnight position which was the best decision of my professional life. After seven years of overnights and relocating my family to Tennessee, I was offered a position at a leading hospital in Nashville as a 7 on 7 off day shift staff pharmacist.
Sam: A lot of folks may not know that you’ve had an influence on me considering a career in pharmacy. I remember seeing you around campus in 2001 and watching you go through the phase of considering a career in physical therapy and then transitioning your career towards a pursuit in pharmacy. How did you realize that pharmacy was the right fit for you?
Donaye: While in Physical Therapy School at North Georgia College, we had a guest speaker from Mercer’s pharmacy program. He was giving a lecture about loading dose and I was so absolutely intrigued that I actually immediately withdrew from the physical therapy program to return to Samford University in order to satisfy prerequisites for McWhorter School of Pharmacy.
Sam: We both graduated from the Exercise Science Sports Medicine Department when we were in undergrad. Has that undergraduate background had an effect on your practice as a Pharmacist? If so, in what ways do you incorporate that foundation of knowledge?
Donaye: In my opinion, Samford University’s Exercise Science program is one of the most thorough programs in the country. That foundation of knowledge has been paramount in assisting in patient counseling and recommendations as patient questions aren’t always exclusively about drugs. Understanding physiology and anatomy is sometimes extremely helpful for productive patient consultations.
Sam: I know that you have a passion for music – especially hip hop music. You’ve released multiple albums under the moniker “Dab Haskal” – how have you been able to balance music with your professional life as a Pharmacist?
Donaye: I’ve always had the belief that if people really want to do something, they’ll find time to do it. Music is my opportunity to vent about social and political frustrations, but in a creative and inspiring space. It’s as much a part of my identity as my last name. I’m currently working on a project called ‘Therapy.’ This will be album number five.
Sam: Have you ever performed live with a band? Do you think some of your patients would suspect that you’ve released multiple Hip-Hop albums?
Donaye: Early on, I did several live shows including a charity event at Samford University (Kickin’ It for Kidz). No. My being a hip/hop artist appears to be a foreign concept to patients and co-workers alike…until they hear a sample. I prefer the element of surprise
Sam: Life as a Pharmacist can be very stressful. We live a life where there’s no room for error. How do you balance this professional life with being a family man?
Donaye: As a young Pharmacist, I didn’t require much sleep so finding time for professional and family life was no problem. However, now that kids have entered the picture, priorities have changed. Fortunately, my 7 on 7 off schedule allows me to spend more time with the family than the average full-time pharmacist.
Sam: What advice would you give to pharmacy students and actively practicing Pharmacists on how to maintain an appropriate work/home balance?
Donaye: I would advise young Pharmacists to work as hard and as much as they can early to pay off all debt so later they can benefit from having such a wonderful salary. No debt provides options and less desperation during times of transition and/or professional hardships.
Sam: Based on current USA data published from https://datausa.io/profile/soc/291051/ black people make up 7% of actively practicing Pharmacists. Thus, me and you are part of the 7 percent. What words of encouragement would you give young black kids looking at you thinking it would be cool to become a Pharmacist, yet uncertain if they could overcome potential life obstacles to make it?
Donaye: I would encourage young black kids to drown out negativity and believe in themselves. There’s nothing special or exceptional about that 7% of black pharmacists other than them taking interest in the pharmaceutical field and pursuing it to completion. I’m of the belief that anybody of sound mind & body can accomplish just about any endeavor with enough hard work and desire to achieve. Today, the only obstacle is mental!
Sam: Describe a day in your life as a practicing Pharmacist. What are some of the things the public doesn’t always understand you’re dealing with in making appropriate pharmaceutical care decisions?
Donaye: In the retail setting, life as a Pharmacist (and technician) was just short of chaos. In my 11 year experience with retail, much of it was spent understaffed with impossible goals set for my team by upper management. We’d have to juggle phones ringing nonstop, high script counts and the drive thru buzzing constantly all while being short-handed and exhausted. So yes, making appropriate pharmaceutical care decisions was a daily challenge, but one that most retail pharmacists and technicians did/do flawlessly.
Sam: How must Pharmacists improve their communication with the public so that the art and science of pharmacy can be more understood?
Donaye: In the retail setting, I think pharmacists have done an excellent job at communicating with the public. I think the biggest obstacle is actually finding time to speak with patients with all the other responsibilities and handicaps hindering that most important task (interpersonal communication)
Sam: Why has a Pharmacy Sitcom never been created? If it were created should it be in a retail pharmacy or in a hospital pharmacy? I vote retail but that may cause a bit of division in our community 😉
Donaye: It’s interesting that you asked. A good friend approached me about a possible reality show based on my overnight pharmacy retail life. Apparently, he read one of my numerous “Midnight Madness Chronicles” on Facebook and was highly amused. The idea quickly fizzled out because I didn’t think Walgreens would allow cameras and video equipment in the pharmacy due to HIPAA regulations. I think retail pharmacy would be an ideal setting for a pharmacy sitcom.
Sam: You’ve had a passion for finance for years. I remember you talking about Dave Ramsey books and how to save and pay off debt. What would be your advice for pharmacy students and Pharmacists struggling with student loan debt?
Donaye: I graduated with 204k in student loan debt. My advice would be to work hard early and often to chip away as soon as possible. Do not let it linger. Do not buy a house and/or car after graduation. Do not take advice from other broke pharmacy students with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. PERIOD!!!
Sam: How has becoming a father changed your practice of pharmacy?
Donaye: It hasn’t changed. I still practice the same, but my desire to “move up” in the pharmacy ranks has decreased. For me, it’s more important to be present in my kids lives early. Often times, holding an important title beyond staff PharmD equates to less time at home.
Sam: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Donaye: PAY OFF YOUR STUDENT DEBT EARLY!
Tim: I attended Phillips High School (now Phillips Academy) and graduated from Auburn in 1976.
Tim: I was influenced by the two pharmacists that worked at Cowgill Drug in North Birmingham, where my mother worked as a clerk. The owner, Franklin Little, was classy and professional, highly respected by everyone in the community. Everyone called him “Doctor Little”. The staff pharmacist, George Thompson, was a happy-go-lucky guy that seemed to enjoy his job immensely. I admired both very much and decided that I wanted to be a combination of the two.
Tim: In addition to the two already mentioned, I had the privilege of working a number of years for Jimmy Harrison, president of Harco Drugs, and Jerry Thomas, vice president of Harco. They made working for Harco seem like a family business, where everyone was important. When I decided to go back to work for Harco after Big B Drugs was bought out by CVS, I received a personal phone call from Mr. Harrison, telling me how excited he was that I was back. When he made the difficult decision to sell Harco to Rite Aid, he personally hand wrote a letter of apology to each of his pharmacy managers, explaining why he made the decision. It meant so much to all of us. He taught us the right way to treat employees and patients.
Tim: In addition to working at Cowgill as a teenager, I worked at Campus Drugs in Auburn (a Harco store) while in school. After graduation, I did my internship with K-Mart Pharmacy in Huntsville. After I received my license in 1977, I returned to Harco, working briefly in Talladega before opening a new store in Alexander City. I became homesick for my family and friends in Birmingham, and started working for Big B in 1979. I stayed with them for 17+ years until they were bought by Revco, then eventually CVS. By then, Harco had locations in Birmingham and I received an offer from them in 1997. I was glad to be back with the Harco family, but the Rite Aid deal was not long after. I stayed with Rite Aid for about another year. I began hearing rumors about Walgreens coming to Alabama, and started checking about possible employment. I had been told many years before “if you ever get a chance to work for Walgreens, take it!” I had the honor of being one of 3 pharmacists hired to open their first Alabama store, in Pelham. I now have 20+ years with Walgreens.
Tim: The PharmD degree has much more clinical component than the old Bachelors degree. In my opinion, at first, there was a shortage of practical experience with the PharmD students, but I believe that has been addressed and corrected now. When I graduated, the requirements were different in that we had to get the majority of our intern hours after graduation, which gave us about a year of practical experience under supervision. I probably learned as much in that year as I did in 3 years of pharmacy school. The PharmD students get great experience on their rotations in their final year. I think it would have been fun to do that while I was a student. For the most part, I’ve received nothing but respect from my students. They recognize that 40+years of experience counts for something, and that I know what I’m talking about (most of the time).
Tim: I think, over the years, the one rule that causes the most confusion, is the “two signature lines” rule. Technically, if a prescription blank does not have that, it’s not a valid prescription. I understand there is some talk about eliminating or modifying that rule.
Tim: I would tell a new grad that patient safety is the most important thing. If something is unclear, whether it is the drug prescribed, directions for use, potential interactions or contraindications, you must get it right. If you don’t get it right, it doesn’t matter how fast you got it to the patient. Ours is one of the few, if not the only profession, you have to bat 1000, or there’s a problem.
Tim: Student pharmacists are so well educated these days. I feel that sometimes I learn more from them than they do from me. As far as being harder or easier to teach, it depends on the student. Some come to me with no experience in retail. There is a learning curve for them. Five or six weeks is not long enough to learn everything we have to deal with. The ones with retail experience are usually the easiest. I would estimate that I have had close to 500 students, including students on rotation and students that worked part time. I often wish that I had kept a scrapbook of all my students over the years.
Tim: Yes, and no. Pharmacy, especially retail pharmacy has changed so much over the last 42 years. I never dreamed that I would be administering immunizations. I never imagined the impact that third party payors would have on the profession. I never thought I would have to deal with a drive thru window.
Tim: The profession has been good to me. It has given me a nice income, and a sense of being a part of something that helps people. I have derived much satisfaction from mentoring students that went on to be good pharmacists, and any time a patient thanks you for what you do for them, well, it doesn’t get any better than that.
October is American Pharmacist Month. Every October comes and goes, and typically I’ve never celebrated this fact when it comes to Pharmacy. I always liked Halloween parties, but never discussed Pharmacy much outside of the Pharmacy. Only in the past few years have I thought about purchasing food for my staff and/or honoring a fellow Pharmacist with kind words and acknowledgement about our shared calling and responsibilities to the communities that we serve through the practice of pharmacy. I remember discussing Pharmacist Month in school vaguely, but it never really was on my radar.
A few weeks ago, I thought — wouldn’t it be cool if I could interview some pharmacists that I respect and do a brief profile of their careers to celebrate their accomplishments and acknowledge openly my appreciation to what they’ve given to the profession. Simply stated..how can we as a profession move our profession forward if we never discuss our admiration for each other, and/or discuss openly how to create a more open dialogue about how to create a fair market for both consumers and the practicing pharmacist.
Over the next month, I hope to profile up to 8 Pharmacists. Each profile will consist of an interview and picture of the Pharmacist in their practice setting. I hope you as the reader gain an appreciation for the art and science of pharmacy and the people who encompass our profession.
Our first Profile in Pharmacy is of Brad Schmidt, PharmD
Brad graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2001 with his Doctor of Pharmacy. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1995. He is the Staff Pharmacist for Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions and has been my work partner at the Pharmacy since we opened in September 2013.
Sam: How did you come about pharmacy?
Brad: I grew up in a small town — thought about becoming a physician — then got more interested in chemistry when I went off to college — I ended up talking to my local pharmacist in town and got more into the profession from there.
Brad: I got out of pharmacy school — I floated in a retail chain for a while — but, I really didn’t find that rewarding or something I enjoyed (CVS Pharmacy 1 year). So, once an opportunity to work at a pediatric outpatient pharmacy came about I took it (Children’s of Alabama 7 years). Some years went by when I wanted to try something different, so I found a job as a Clinical Pharmacist at UAB (1 year). Then I left that position and took a job doing mail order (CVS 2 years). Mail order was a nice hourly job that was family conducive, but then the facility closed down. Then I moved onto working in Home Infusion (Walgreen Home Infusion 2 years). Then in 2013 we met, and I’ve been at Peds Rx for the past 5 years (Pediatric Outpatient Pharmacy for Children’s of Alabama). So all in all, I have 12 years of pediatric outpatient pharmacy experience. I do like different things, I like changes, and I never wanted to do the same thing for 30 years — so I’ve always believed that you never know your true passion until you try something. Thus, I’ve tried different things over the years.
Brad: Well my wife, she’s a pharmacist, so she understands what I do. In regards to the dispensing role, she understands that we are a resource for information for the hospital, and help patients get their medications situated for discharge from the hospital, do prior authorizations and overrides, and overall increase access for patients to receive appropriate pharmaceutical care… so that’s my wife…But Everyone else in my family thinks I just count drugs and make kids feel better.
Brad: I see pharmacists as being dispensers being phased out — and more medication therapy management reviews like whats being done with Medicare Part D.. I see the role of technology increasing — remote dispensing will continue to push forward — more centralization of pharmacy with Amazon and Big Chains. Less corner store drug stores — less chain stores and more automation with central pharmacies. Independents will continue to fill the void with a niche market.
Brad: I would probably say umm… I would say starting off yes, but after practicing for 18 years — things have changed — there’s less focus on the patients and things have become more number driven. The scope of practice ( clinical positions) isn’t what I expected. Which is good. Residencies were just starting when I was graduating but now most of the graduates look into residencies now. The thing that surprised me is that it’s become less patient focused with the financial pressures due to the market constraints that has created a barrier for entry to the little guy. Which we as pharmacists have to fight for. In school we talk about pharmaceutical care and patient wellness — and in the real world it’s more like fill 500 scripts and just get the work done..
Brad: Unfortunately I think that most times — maybe only a 1/4 to 1/3 of the places I’ve worked at even celebrated Pharmacists month — most of management, patients, and even the parents didn’t know about Pharmacists Month. And even within the profession there’s not a lot of recognition. Only 25 to 30 percent of the time have I received a thank you or been given recognition for Pharmacists Month.Overall I’m glad it’s there, but in reality it’s not as recognized as some of the other professions. We’re not a very organized profession — we’re divided in some ways and because of this there’s division in how we celebrate the month. The nursing association and medical associations bring about the importance of their professions — but when was the last time our association did something to recognize the profession through something like a commercial. The month comes and goes and we go to work and go home. But hopefully as the years go forward we will become more organized and united for the month of October.
Brad: Since they already graduate then it’s too late 😉 laughter…There’s a lot of opportunities out there — the PharmD degree has many opportunities and there’s a lot of diversity within the profession — thus there’s alot of things to be involved in and ways with which you can be challenged. I tell new grads to always take your time in the final check and always go with your gut instincts and don’t get distracted during that final verification step. Pharmacy is a small world so don’t ever burn bridges. Even if you don’t like someone part peacefully. Don’t burn bridges — pharmacy is a small world.
Brad: They are definitely focusing on residency and clinical opportunities — unfortunately they have gotten away from the traditional roles which has caused a bit of a learning deficit. They’re beginning to lack some of the basic skills of pharmacy practice, like understanding dosage forms, etc.. Which causes the newly practicing pharmacist to not immediately understand how to dispense or compound.In terms of the business side — the schools hurt the profession a bit. From 2001-2005 they added pharmacy schools and in 2009 during the recession the job market became tighter. Thus, from a business standpoint the market has become slightly over saturated with pharmacists.
Brad: Only thing I would like to add, is that I’m proud to be a Pharmacist, I’m proud to have made relationships with Patients and staff — but as far as moving forward we need to be more united as a profession and have organization and be united. The times have changed — and we must be united. If we don’t carve out our niche in the new world we could be wiped out as a profession. We need to come together so that we’re not eaten up..
The practice of pharmacy grows by leaps and bounds each and everyday.
The education of Student Pharmacists to take on both current & emerging roles in providing pharmaceutical care has occurred and continues to evolve. I have a firm belief that this education will satisfactorily meet and exceed the needs of both current and future patients.
While the Pharmacists education is well defined in that Boards of Pharmacy and National Associations have criteria that you must meet prior to entry into the profession. The Pharmacy Technician’s education is not as well defined. Currently technicians are educated by for-profit institutions, some but not all Community Colleges, and there are some online programs.
How can Pharmacists fully utilize their education and knowledge in both current and emerging markets – if there is not an appropriate and affordable education model to satisfactorily keep pace with pharmacy technician demand in the market?
It’s my opinion that the greatest demand for the Pharmacy Technician will be in the retail sector. There is a high turnover rate in this market and typically this is the space where an organization can take on registered pharmacy technicians that have no pharmacy experience. With an increase in mergers and acquisitions between chain pharmacy, benefit managers, and health insurers – the demand for registered pharmacy technicians will continue to increase.
Current state laws will also need to keep pace with changes in how both Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians are utilized in the Pharmacy.
- Pharmacy Technician verification via Barcode technology (http://www.ajhp.org/content/73/2/69?sso-checked=true)
- Medication therapy management
- Pharmacist Practitioners
- Collaborative practice models
- The increased market-share of “specialty pharmacy”
- Compounding pharmacies regulated by federal guidelines USP 795, 797, and 800
These are all topics to consider when considering the job market and demand for both the practicing Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician.
What can fill the education gap?
I had never heard of the “Ready to Work” initiatives taking place in Birmingham, AL. But after meeting Ms. Dorothy Henry and leadership at Lawson State Community College — I stumbled upon an institution that is at the forefront of this community based initiative.
Ready to Work programs can offer job seekers foundational knowledge to take on entry level job positions. “Ready to Work” educational healthcare tracks include medical assistant, patient care assistant, and pharmacy technician. These programs help folks learn how to become registered and/or certified to take on entry level positions in the workforce.
Having a job that you care about and enjoy is good for the individual because it increases self-worth. It’s good for the family because it provides a stable source of income. It’s great for both the community and local economy because the money can be recycled into tangible purchases of goods, services, and long term assets.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with folks interested in becoming registered Pharmacy Technicians through this program. And I really believe that this could be an opportunity where more Pharmacists can serve and become involved in helping young people find a career in their local community. Programs like this help to ensure that there are affordable avenues for people to learn and become aware of professions that can be a source for both a rewarding career and steady income. I have posted my lecture materials online at www.samblakemore.com . Feel free to follow along and give back any comments and/or positive feedback.
The Dispense As Written Codes that I use regularly in my practice are:
DAW 0 = NO PRODUCT SELECTION INDICATED
DAW 1 = SUBSTITUTION NOT ALLOWED BY PRESCRIBER
DAW 9 = SUBSTITUTION ALLOWED PLAN REQUESTS BRAND
Why is this important?
Dispense as written codes are important in billing/filing claims correctly to a patient’s insurance plan. Claims must be billed/filed correctly so that patients receive the appropriate drug products at the correct price.
For me… DAW 0 is used most of the time (this holds true for most pharmacists), while DAW 1 is used sparingly; a drug example for those who are not Pharmacists as to when a Pharmacist uses DAW 1 is seen in the case of prescribing Brand Name Synthroid. Prescribers often write for Brand name Synthroid instead of Levothyroxine because this drug has a Narrow Therapeutic Index (NTI). Due to the NTI, formularies often include both the Brand and Generic products on their formularies so that patients receive appropriate pharmaceutical treatment for their thyroid conditions.
If you’re interested in reading more about NTI, please visit the FDA’s website and review the powerpoint “Quality and Bioequivalence Standards for Narrow Therapeutic Index Drugs.”
DAW 9 is increasingly becoming popular and being put into place by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM’s). Typically generics have been dispensed because the generic product is the cheaper alternative when compared to the brand name product. However, increasingly manufacturers have been offering PBM’s rebates for the monies that they pay the pharmacies on the drugs cost.
In short…even when prescribers write a prescription and sign Product Substitution Permitted — the pharmacist must dispense the brand name product for the product to be covered by the patient’s insurance. This is done by changing the computer DAW code from a 0 to a 9.
So you may be asking, “how is it more profitable for the PBM’s to have higher priced drugs on their drug formularies?” I found a great article published by NCPA entitled “PBM Revenue Streams and Lack of Transparency”. The article is a quick read and outlines why Brand Name products continue to be on formulary even when a generic competitor enters the market.
Examples of using DAW 9 in my practice (Generic Drug — Condition Treated)
Dexmethylphenidate ER — ADHD
Diazepam Rectal Gel — Seizures
Methylphenidate ER — ADHD
Budesonide Respules — Asthma
What’s the effect on people and the market?
In my practice this leads to a major consultation point…
- You and/or your family member is on a drug that insurance is requiring that Brand Name be dispensed (DAW 9). I’m not sure if your local pharmacy carries the Brand Name or Generic product. Thus, it is imperative that you contact your pharmacy days in advance to ensure this product is in stock when you attempt to refill your medication. If you don’t call ahead of time, this could potentially delay when you receive your medication, which could lead you to become non-compliant with your medication(s).
The reason that this is so important…
- Finding the medication for your patient is important…but ensuring that your patient has access to this medication is just as important. If they can’t obtain or access the medication, then you can’t ensure their compliance on the medicine. And non-compliance ultimately can lead to hospital readmission.
- When patient’s transition from an inpatient admission to being discharged to the outpatient setting, prescribers are often unaware of what’s on or not on the patient’s drug formularies. This can lead to confusion and delay and/or impede discharge planning which can potentially lengthen their hospital admission.
DAW 0 versus DAW 9 seems like such a trivial issue, but the increased prevalence of this small change can impact our patient’s compliance and can drive up the cost for providing healthcare.
If you have Questions related to this topic? Please feel free to leave a comment.