Friday, November 19, 2010

Not many pharmacists prescribing medication

As one of those 107 prescribing pharmacists, I thought this was interesting but missed the point a bit. Compensation is part of the reason that pharmacists haven't embraced prescribing. But I don't think pharmacists expect the government or third parties to pay a fee based on number of Rx's written for example. Pharmacists want a clear method to be able to charge government for clinical services like a physician can. Prescribing might be an action done during these clinical services, but not always just as a physician gets paid for a visit and associated clinical services, not an amount based on the number of prescriptions they wrote during a visit.

And when I mention pharmacists want a way to bill the government, I mean the actual pharmacists - not the drugstore they work for. A recent attempt to reimburse pharmacists in Alberta for clinical services called PPMI never made it past the pilot project stage. One aspect of that pilot I didn't like was that a pharmacist could not bill the government directly like a physician could but all reimbursement had to go through a pharmacy. I would think that the majority of the 107 prescribing pharmacists in Alberta do not own their own drugstore and therefore would have to cut a deal with a drugstore so that they could submit their billing to the government. This definitely limits an individual pharmacist's options as far as how they can set up their practice.

From CTV News:
Pharmacists were given the ability to prescribe medication under a new plan introduced a few years ago to take some pressure off family doctors.

But since the plan took off, only 107 of the more than 4,000 pharmacists in Alberta have signed up.

Anjli Acharya was one of the few pharmacists who applied. She said she can now prescribe to her patients at the Bowmont travel clinic.

But she said the application process took four months of work. She also doesn't get paid to prescribe drugs.

Those are some of the reasons many pharmacists haven't applied, says Todd Gehring, who owns and operates his own community pharmacy.

He says prescribing medication takes time and pharmacists need to be paid appropriately. ...more


Anonymous said...

Where can I find this list of 107 Pharmacists who WILL prescribe?

Jason said...

I am not aware of anywhere where this information is publicly available. The Alberta College of Pharmacists is in charge of licencing pharmacists in Alberta and would have the info.