Pharmacies having problems finding employees

Pharmacist Comic

Of course, this would happen. When you make the pharmacist only an order taker, you disincentivize people to want to work in it. You can read more in this Axios article.

When I was in college one of my friends was studying pharmacy. He was perfect for the role. Methodical and very careful with details and slow to decision making. I do not doubt that he is the manager of some pharmacy now, and is respected by his coworkers. He reminded me of the pharmacist that I had growing up, and how I found him to be a little rigid as a child.

When I was a kid there were still stand-alone pharmacies that were more common than big store pharmacies. In the small town I was in, there was only one pharmacy in town until Walmart came in and had one. As a kid, I thought that the pharmacist was very stiff. I was a sick kid and I visited that pharmacy more than I would have preferred. It took him forever to count out pills and I would look at the other merchandise that I never needed. When I asked my parents why he was needed they explained that he caught doctors errors and drug interactions that might happen. I thought that was silly. If drug interactions were so dangerous why didn’t they have a better system than some old pharmacist’s memory?

Pharmacist Comic
pharmacist comic

As I grew up I discovered that many people die due to medical drug interactions each year. This has gotten worse as time has gone by.  According to this article More than 2.5 million deaths linked to unsafe care in hospitals every year: WHO

The statistics are frightening. Approximately 400,000 hospitalized patients in the United States experience some type of preventable harm each year. One-quarter die from these errors. And medical errors cost roughly $20 billion a year. The numbers are higher worldwide.

Therefore the role of the pharmacist is very important as is the role of every medical professional. However when the computer says that a drug interaction is safe, and a pharmacist believes it is not, who do you think is going to be believed? No doubt computers are a great tool, but they can’t replace the knowledge and experience of a trained and knowledgeable person. We need to value human knowledge in addition to institutional knowledge that a computer system may represent.

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Pharmacists used to be considered equal to doctors. I don’t mind that. I call everyone who is a medical professional Doc. If they have the schooling they deserve the respect. I don’t want my medicine given to me by a robot who doesn’t care if I live or die. It does seem that it is going to end up that way, and no doubt deaths will increase because of it. We only care about money, don’t we?