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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Using pharmacies as basic health care resources
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Using pharmacies as basic health care resources

i just love the way this article treats the using of pharmacies as basic health care outlets as some brand-new innovation that will revolutionize health care access while completely failing to point out that the rest of the world has been using pharmacies in that capacity for freakin' ever...

in my travels, i have had several occasions to drop by pharmacies in other countries to ask for a consult on some minor health problem and have always been treated to fast, accurate and free advice... not only that, but many medicines available only through a prescription in the u.s. are available over the counter in most pharmacies around the world, often at surprisingly low prices...

As the debate over health-care reform reveals extensive unmet needs for better basic medical services in the United States, an unexpected player with the power to drive significant change may be as close as the corner drugstore. With new incentives and business strategies coming into play to repair and improve the health-care system, local pharmacies are positioned to help meet the top two goals of reform: providing convenient, expanded access to medical care and controlling costs.

Pharmacies — many of them operated by large publicly traded companies such as Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart — have already begun to reach beyond their traditional role as pill dispensers to meet new demand from patients. Consumers, who have become more responsible for their own medical care in recent years, are turning to retail pharmacies for help in managing medical conditions and their out-of-pocket health-care spending. Walmart’s US$4 generic drugs program, for example, which offers a wide range of prescription medication and 1,000 over-the-counter medications at $4 for a 30-day supply, has had a major impact on making medication more affordable — especially because other pharmacies have quickly followed suit.

The innovation does not stop at pricing. Drugstores are experimenting with in-store clinics, wellness programs, health screenings, and disease management services. In one notable program, the city of Asheville, N.C., has been using local pharmacists to provide free counseling and coaching to diabetes patients, generating substantial savings and health improvement. More recently, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration launched a similar experiment dubbed the “Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative” in an attempt to integrate evidence-based clinical pharmacy services into the management of high-risk and high-cost patients.

it makes me crazy when i see publications and authors either deliberately or blindly ignoring reality and treating the u.s. as an island of all there is to be known... people in the u.s. have no idea just how backward we are in so many areas... the media should live up to its responsibility to present information in context and not to foster the kind of smug arrogance for which we americans have become famous around the globe...

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