OCTOBER WAS PHARMACISTS’ MONTH

BY BARRY WARNER

Supervising Pharmacist Nora Levine is holding a pharmacy robot ‘cell’ or plastic bin filled with medication. Once the prescription is entered into the pharmacy computer system, the robot bar-code scan determines the vial size, specified drug in the ‘cell’, correct number of pills, labels and medication warnings.
Supervising Pharmacist Nora Levine is holding a pharmacy robot ‘cell’ or plastic bin filled with medication. Once the prescription is entered into the pharmacy computer system, the robot bar-code scan determines the vial size, specified drug in the ‘cell’, correct number of pills, labels and medication warnings.

With an aging population of baby boomers, more Americans are expected to seek health care services, resulting in an increased demand for prescription medications.

October marked American Pharmacists’ Month, recognizing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for their commitment to patient safety. The celebration was launched in 2004 by The American Pharmacists Association with a campaign to “Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine.”

Pharmacies keep computerized records of patients’ medications to prevent harmful drug interactions. A recent development in the industry is Medication Therapy Management (MTM) when pharmacists counsel patients by reviewing their medications regarding side effects, interactions, appropriate dosages and costs.

Supervising Pharmacist Nora Levine (Rph) works at the Clarkstown Pharmacy in New City. She said, “I enjoy what I do because working at a local pharmacy provides personal patient contact and the opportunity to be an accessible health-care provider. Some of my responsibilities include preparing medications by reviewing and interpreting physician orders; dispensing medications by compounding, packaging and labeling pharmaceuticals; controlling medications by monitoring drug therapies and advising interventions; complying with state and federal drug laws; providing immunizations such as seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccines plus organizing and directing pharmacy technicians’ work flow by verifying their preparation and labeling of pharmaceuticals.”

The unique blend of medical knowledge and people-skills required to run a pharmacy counter remain in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14.5 percent employment growth for pharmacists by 2022, resulting in an addition of 41,000 jobs nationwide.