Use of Technicians Would Free Pharmacists to Spend More Time as Customer Advocates

Bernstein omitted many salient issues. He claims that pharmacists think that more clerical help and the innovation of pharmacy technicians is the solution. However, there is a large population of pharmacists that oppose working with technicians. One obvious reason is that the pharmacist will be responsible for the performance of the technician but will lack the authority to hire or fire a technician in a chain-store setting. Most community pharmacists do not need technicians.

What Bernstein failed to show was the radical changes in the practice of pharmacy. Many doctors now dispense drugs within their practices and charge for this activity. They buy their drugs from mail-order pharmacies outside the state. Our laws do not govern these operations, and there could be four technicians to one pharmacist in a mail-order business. Also, many health plans encourage their members to use mail order by reducing the drug co-payment.

What does this all mean? Pharmacists, as all other health-care providers, are being squeezed by health-care cost containment. Sadly, the loser is the consumer. While everyone is manipulating the health-care system we, the consumers, get diminishing quality of care.


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