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WTF do pharmacists do? Does anybody know any?


Guest Letsgo_7_7

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Guest Letsgo_7_7

Apparently, one needs a bachelor's degree, before attending pharmacy school to get a PharmD, which is another 4 years. Then one completes a national licensing exam (the NAPLEX). The PharmD degree, by the way, is a doctorate... yes, you are officially entitled a "Doctor of Pharmacy."

 

Does anybody know any pharmacists? If so, serious question- WTF do they do? I always sorta assumed they just chill behind the pharmacy counter and fill up bottles with doctor's prescriptions (that is, prescribed by a real doctor). Is there any justification whatsoever for requiring them to go to 4 years of additional schooling, and then bestow a doctorate degree? They even have drive-thru pharamcies now.. I saw one at a CVS. Last time I checked, we don't require the drive thru cashier at McDonald's to go to grad school.

 

What the hell do they do for four freaking years at pharmacy school?

 

Seriously, a doctor of pharmacy? Are you f-cking kidding me?

 

I mean, the DDS (dentists) I'm ok with. They have every right to call themselves doctors. They have to know medicine, stick jagged and potentially deadly instruments into people's mouths, look at X-rays and make a professional judgment/diagnosis, and perform actual surgeries. But pharmacists? Get the f-ck out.

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You are? Have you mentioned that here before?     Now, here's what they do all day. Sometimes, admittedly, sit around and do nothing. Other times, the pharmacist is doing administrative bullsh-t.

I work as a pharmacists for a small chain pharmacy and I literally spend my entire day answering phone questions from confused elderly patients and explaining medications in great detail that was neve

It's drug specialization. Their effects and interactions, etc. The industry as a whole could spawn an editorializing rant, but the bottom line is doctors are more aware of drugs from the sales brochur

They do have to take quite a bit of chemistry. Theoretically, they understand how medicines affect each patient, side effects, how they interact with other medicines, and stuff like that. I've seen the pharmacists catch things that doctors don't. (Mixing medicines that shouldn't, suggesting another medicine that will work well.) Keep in mind that a lot of doctors are in the back pocket of the drug companies. But the person taking your script and filling it is likely a technician, and probably just has a B.S. or a certificate. You probably don't even see the pharmacist.

 

In Europe, you don't necessarily go to the doctor for the prescription. The pharmacist takes care of most minor drug needs. I'm not sure why we've moved that direction with pharmacies. Maybe because of all of the big chains (CVS, Walgreen's, etc). If Brando pops in maybe he can shed some light on this. I believe Ryn has also worked in the industry.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

actually, I have a friend who is going to school to be a pharmacist.

 

They are not just pill dispensers (like pharmacy techs), but rather actually in addition to the chemistry training Destiny mentions, they do have to go through an abbreviated medical school of sorts. Maybe not quite as rigorous as an MD or DO, but they have to be familiar with how the human physiology interacts with medications individually, as well as how the body reacts to multiple medications. Also, the pharmacist is sort of the "last line of defense" against a patient receiving incorrect dosage, or a medication that is wrong for them (IE certain health issues, a bad interaction with an already prescribed medicine), that a doctor that prescribed the medication may have overlooked. In fact, pharmacists often times will be more in the know of what the correct medication is for an ailment than an MD, and even can prescribe medication as well.

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My brother is a Doctor of Pharmacy, although he did a combined 6 year program rather than 4 years of undergrad and 4 for the PharmD. When he worked at WalMart in the pharmacy there, he did a lot of prescription filling. Even though the tech is the one that counts and bottles the pills, the pharmacist is technically liable if anything is given out wrong (dosage/type/etc.) They are also responsible for making sure that what they are taking won't react with another drug in their cocktail. He spent most of his time on the phone arguing with insurance companies though.

 

In reality, they are extremely bored, overpaid pill pushers. Even though they know 10 times as much as the best doctor about drugs, they are rarely allowed to prescribe medication. It's the most mind numbingly boring job you can do with an advanced degree.

 

That's the commercial side of things. His current job at the FDA is lower paying but much more challenging and enjoyable.

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... They have to know medicine, stick jagged and potentially deadly instruments into people's mouths, look at X-rays and make a professional judgment/diagnosis, and perform actual surgeries. But pharmacists? Get the f-ck out.

 

Strikes me that pharmacists and dentists aren't that much different. The putative "doctor" is in charge of the operations, but they don't actually do the work. Hygienists do the actual dental work, and pharmacy technicians fill the pill bottles. The main difference is that instead of sticking "jagged and potentially deadly instruments into people's mouths" as dentists do, pharmacists enable people to stick potentially deadly chemicals into their bodies via their mouths. :shrug:

 

So, what do they do? I imagine they do as little as possible, same as everyone else.

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Guest Letsgo_7_7

Yeah, WTF are you talking about pavonis? Hygienists do not perform any actual dental work, they are not members of the American Dental Association, and in fact, are unlicensed to practice dentistry. They perform routine cleanings and checkups, and take x-rays. They do not perform fillings, crowns, root canals, teeth extraction, implants, cosmetic surgery, dentures, etc. If you are telling me you had work done of that type by a hygienist, then quite frankly, I don't believe you. No dental office would be so stupid as to let an unlicensed person who hasn't gone to dental school and does not have a DDS, perform that work. At that point they might as well just put a sign on the door that says "please sue me."

 

My question stands (although some posts in this thread have been helpful). What is it that pharmacists actually do? I mean, I get they fill up pill bottles. Got it. Why does that require a 4 year doctorate degree and a license?

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Guest Letsgo_7_7
They do have to take quite a bit of chemistry. Theoretically, they understand how medicines affect each patient, side effects, how they interact with other medicines, and stuff like that. I've seen the pharmacists catch things that doctors don't. (Mixing medicines that shouldn't, suggesting another medicine that will work well.) Keep in mind that a lot of doctors are in the back pocket of the drug companies. But the person taking your script and filling it is likely a technician, and probably just has a B.S. or a certificate. You probably don't even see the pharmacist.

 

I have no doubt they take quite a bit of chemistry, and I'm not suggesting that pharmacy school is a breeze, or that pharmacists are stupid. What I'm wondering is what they actually do that requires that training. If it's the technician that fills up the bottle, then what does the pharmacist do? Sit there all day and play spider solitaire?

 

I'm honestly curious, I'm not asking just to be a bitch. Chalup and Cashmere answered me sorta, but I'm still curious what their actually day-to-day is like. Like what do they actually do all day? I think Cashmere came closest to enlightening me... arguing with insurance companies all day? OK, I can see that.

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Yeah, WTF are you talking about pavonis? Hygienists do not perform any actual dental work, they are not members of the American Dental Association, and in fact, are unlicensed to practice dentistry. They perform routine cleanings and checkups, and take x-rays.

 

 

Excuse the imprecision in my post. The bulk of my time in the dentist's office is spent with hygienists; I see the actual dentist for only a few minutes of the actual visit. Perhaps my experience is not typical. I only have two fillings, and they were done a few years ago. The rest of the time I see hygienists for cleanings only.

 

My question stands (although some posts in this thread have been helpful). What is it that pharmacists actually do? I mean, I get they fill up pill bottles. Got it. Why does that require a 4 year doctorate degree and a license?

 

Hey, I thought the pharmacy techs filled the pill bottles. Anyway, what prompted the question, LG? Visited the pharmacy lately and wondered what the mouth-breather behind the counter actually did most of the time?

Edited by pavonis
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Guest Letsgo_7_7

Nah, just curious.

 

OK so the pharmacy technician fills the bottles? Then what in the world does the pharmacist do?

 

Let me give an example. I'm an attorney. Which everyone knows, because I mention it several times a day here. Now, here's what I do all day. Sometimes, admittedly, sit around and do nothing. Other times, I am doing administrative bullsh-t. Other times, I am writing and reviewing contracts, or securities agreements. Or responding to legal threats from random people, and the writing and reviewing settlements. Or ensuring (or attempting to ensure) that traders and bankers are following the regulations and banking laws. Now, honestly, a lot of that can be done by anybody, and to be fair, I have paralegals and legal assistants that do routine work for me. But what I am paid for, are those times when a legal judgment has to be made, and advice given in one's own professional opinion, that people will rely on. Such as making a decision over whether to allow the company to sign a contract that has a clause that could open them up to extreme liability. Or giving advice to executives as to whether a certain course of action is legal. That is what I am getting paid for- perhaps overpaid (in some people's minds, no doubt), but that is why I need the license, so some jackass just doesn't start giving out legal advice.

 

Now then, what is it that the actual pharmacist does? I know what physicians do. What dentists do. I have no clue what a pharmacist actually does all day.

Edited by Letsgo_7_7
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I'm an attorney.

 

You are? Have you mentioned that here before?

 

 

Now, here's what they do all day. Sometimes, admittedly, sit around and do nothing. Other times, the pharmacist is doing administrative bullsh-t. But what a pharmacist is paid for, are those times when a pharmaceutical judgment has to be made, and advice given in one's own professional opinion, that people will rely on. Such as making a decision over whether to prescribe a pharmaceutical that could react with another pharmaceutical the patient is taking. Or giving advice to patients as to whether a certain course of drugs are safe or not. That is what they are getting paid for- perhaps overpaid (in some people's minds, no doubt), but that is why they need the license, so some jackass just doesn't start giving out medical advice.

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It's drug specialization. Their effects and interactions, etc. The industry as a whole could spawn an editorializing rant, but the bottom line is doctors are more aware of drugs from the sales brochures than through actual education.

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I believe Ryn has also worked in the industry.

I'm store-side but I'm required to be technician-certified. (****, I think I need to do some CE's.) I've often done conversions (from independents) and buyouts, so I've seen the industry outside of my corporate format.
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Yo Gogo!

 

I find it difficult to believe that you, as an attorney, would have difficulty understanding why an individual administering potentially dangerous chemicals to a large, an overwhelmingly ignorant, population would require extensive knowledge and certification in order to be employed in such a field

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Guest Letsgo_7_7
It's drug specialization. Their effects and interactions, etc. The industry as a whole could spawn an editorializing rant,

 

I don't understand. "It's drug specialization?" What is it that pharmacists actually do? I'm not asking what their knowledge base is, I already got that. So they know about drugs. What is it that they do that requires that knowledge.

 

Also- I would love to hear the rant (not sarcastic).

 

I find it difficult to believe that you, as an attorney, would have difficulty understanding why an individual administering potentially dangerous chemicals to a large, an overwhelmingly ignorant, population would require extensive knowledge and certification in order to be employed in such a field

 

Just because there is a potential liability on a drugstore does not equate to why a licensing and 4 year doctorate degree are required. Lots of liabilities exist, all the time. That is why there is a liability insurance market (businesses often take out these policies, or general commercial insurance. I've even filled out the paperwork for it). Second, a showing that the drugstore employed a PharmD (as opposed to a random dude), would not absolve them of liability, since under rules of vicarious liability, an employer is held liable for the employee's negligence, regardless of the employee's qualifications or lack thereof. Third, I don't think the drugstore would actually be held liable. Maybe they would have some of the fault, and share joint liability to a degree, but the most likely target of a negligence action will be a medical malpractice action against the physician who actually wrote the prescription, or maybe even the pharmaceutical companies. CVS is gonna end up being pretty low on the totem pole in a personal injury action and a jury is likely to find them not even at fault.

 

See, what I'm saying? It's not really liability I'm getting at. Liabilities exist in society. A person that owns and operates a bar is huge potential liability- he is serving chemicals to people, that are not just potentially dangerous, but are in fact, actually dangerous, and drunk people cause all sorts of havoc in society (DUIs, etc.) But we don't require bar owners to have a 4 year doctorate degree in bar owning, and we certainly don't call them professionals. They need to own a liquor license, sure, but that just requires paying a fee to the state.

 

A license is evidence that somebody has a professional background and education, and thus a person can rely upon them for their professional skills and/or a professional judgment. That is what a professional is. That is what separates professionals (which are doctors, dentists, and attorneys), from other people. My question is: what is it that a pharmacist actually does? What professional judgments are they making? What decisions are they making that requires their professional training, that people are relying on?

 

From what I've read, such as cashmere's post above, it appears the answer is nothing. Hell, they don't even fill the bottles apparently. Evidently people don't even see the pharmacist. So what do they do?

Edited by Letsgo_7_7
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The last time I saw a pharmacist, all he did was explain to me how to take the medication I was getting, which was basically reading word for word what it said on the medication and what my doctor, three floors up, had just told me. Oh, and I had to wait longer to see the pharmacist than it took for the tech to fill the prescription (they told me I HAD to wait for him, but I walked out when I got a refill without bothering) and longer than it took to wait for the doctor.

Edited by Darth Krawlie
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Guest Letsgo_7_7

Jacob!

 

Finally, someone that is answering my question. Well, minus chalup and cashmere above.

 

So, you saw a pharmacist in the same facility as your physician?

 

Who actually wrote the prescription (I assume the physician), right? Who told you that you had to see the pharmacist, and when you did see him, did he say anything else other than what the physician had already told you?

 

(What I'm trying to get it, is did he give any other professional advice and/or make any diagnoses or judgments independently)

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Yeah, same facility, my insurance is with Kaiser. I saw the doctor, she examined me, and wrote me a prescription. She told me how to take it properly, and said if it didn't work to come back to her in another month or so and they'd do something else. I immediately went downstairs to the pharmacy to get it filled, which the techs did in minutes, and told me I had to wait at the counter for the pharmacist. While waiting I looked at the medication and reviewed the instructions, which was exactly what my doctor had just told me. It was at least 15 minutes before he showed up. It's a large pharmacy and there were a lot of people there getting medicine and a lot of techs working, but not once did I see this pharmacist walking around or talking to anyone before coming to me. He then basically just read the directions over again. Didn't offer any other advice or anything. To his credit, he DID ask if I had the symptom the medication was for, so at least he checked to make sure I'd been prescribed the right thing.

Edited by Darth Krawlie
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Yeah, but we're all pretty healthy. And I'm assuming we have pretty mundane prescriptions to fill. I don't remember the last time I had a prescription that wasn't antibiotics or birth control pills.

 

My grandparents have a pretty good relationship with their pharmacist. She's recommended medications to them before, and even called the doctor to have them prescribed. Of course, they're all on like 5-6 medications each, and they take supplements (which were also a pharmacist recommendation.)

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