Recently I was invited to present to a group of second year pharmacy students at California Northstate University College of Pharmacy. The topic was Pharmaceutical Industry, Regulatory, and Opportunities for Pharmacists. As I prepared my lecture I had a flash back to when I listened to a similar lecture as a pharmacy student over ten years ago. That lecture sowed the seeds for my 11 year career in the pharmaceutical industry. I also reflected on the similarities between the pharmacy profession and pharmaceutical industry and the relationship or lack of a better relationship between the two industries. These observations may be interesting:
Proper Use of Medications
Both are interested in the safe and appropriate use of medications.
Derive Income from Medications
Both generate income from medications.
Provide more Value to Patients
Pharmaceutical companies spend resources selling drugs and less time communicating with patients. Pharmacists dispense medications but do not spend enough time counseling patients.
Both are highly regulated. It is easier to buy crack than to fill a prescription for your blood pressure medication. Pharmaceutical companies are so regulated some are even afraid to promote their products for approved uses.
Low Social Media Engagement
Both pharmaceutical companies and the pharmacy profession have not maximized use of social media, the most powerful engagement platform available.
Vast Knowledge about Medicines
Pharmaceutical companies know a lot about their medicines but are not effective in sharing their knowledge. Pharmacists know more about clinical use of drugs than any other healthcare professional but they are not effective in sharing their knowledge or marketing themselves.
Pharmaceutical Empire versus Formulary Police
For many years the pharmacy profession considered the pharmaceutical industry to be the evil corrupt empire while pharmaceutical companies view pharmacists as the formulary police. It is interesting that without pharmaceutical companies manufacturing drugs the pharmacy profession will not exist.
Better Relationships with Healthcare Providers
Both work very closely with medical doctors and other healthcare professionals and need to form better working relationships with them.
Drug Development versus Pharmacy Training
It takes several years and a billion dollars or more to get a drug approved while pharmacists spend many years in training at a substantial cost to obtain a license to practice.
Profits versus Compensation
Pharmaceutical companies are profitable; pharmacists are well compensated professionals.
Both have an image problem and need a professional relationship makeover. Pharmaceutical companies provide much good to society and contribute to the economy. However, they are most often remembered for costly drugs and the adverse effects drugs cause. The Pharmacy profession helps patients maximize their drug therapy yet they are not fully recognized as healthcare providers.
Pharmaceutical companies and the pharmacy profession share a common interest in safe and appropriate use of medications and other common traits. Is this a good time, as healthcare is quickly changing, for both parties to collaborate, find solutions, and work together to advance patient care?
Comment on this article or post an article by joining the RxEconsult community.
Please Share on Your Social Networks