In 2020, California took steps towards creating its own generic prescription drug program. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill aimed at lowering drug prices for Californians by producing generic drugs under the state’s brand. This was the first move in U.S. history where a state tried to directly compete with pharmaceutical companies to reduce drug prices. The initiative aimed to increase access to healthcare and make it more affordable for Californians.
In 2019, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill aimed at allowing the import of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada to Florida. The initiative was intended to lower drug prices for Floridians, who often paid significantly higher prices for medications compared to their northern neighbors. While the idea of importing drugs from Canada was popular among many Americans, it required federal-level approval. This initiative was a response to growing concerns about drug prices in the United States and the search for ways to reduce them.
In 2019, Texas became one of the first states to take steps towards increasing drug price transparency. A law adopted in the state requires pharmaceutical companies to disclose information about price hikes for drugs that cost more than $100 for a monthly dose. The company must also provide a justification for such an increase. The aim of this initiative was to give consumers more information about drug prices and understand why the prices of some medications are rising so rapidly. This legislation was a response to growing concerns among Texans about the rising costs of healthcare.
Medication information is a service that provides basic knowledge about the drugs a patient is taking. The pharmacist provides the patient with reliable information about selected preparations. When taking medications and dietary supplements for the first time, the pharmacist informs about their effects and proper dosing. They highlight the key elements of the pharmacotherapy prescribed by the doctor and adjust it to the patient’s needs. Additionally, they point out possible side effects and advise on how to proceed if they occur. When continuing treatment, after interviewing the patient, the pharmacist answers and resolves any doubts or issues related to taking specific products.
The pharmacist offers dermocosmetic advice, which involves the individual selection of dermocosmetic products, depending on the patient’s needs and preferences. The pharmacist provides advice on problematic skin and helps address dermatological complaints. A comprehensive product knowledge review allows for the customization of dermocosmetics for each patient.
The pharmacy/pharmacist prepares compounded medications. These are medicinal products tailored to the individual needs of the patient. There are several forms of compounded medications: liquid (solutions, mixtures, drops, suspensions, emulsions), semi-solid (ointments), and solid (powders and suppositories). A distinct advantage of compounded medications is their unique composition. Pharmacists are able to prepare complex preparations containing specific medicinal substances required for a particular patient.
The pharmacy/pharmacist prepares sterile compounded medications. Similar to “regular” compounded medications, these sterile ones also contain medicinal substances tailored to the individual needs of the patient. A distinguishing feature of these compared to other compounded medications is the adherence to the highest standards regarding microbiological purity. They require special conditions for their preparation (e.g., aseptic chambers) and raw materials of appropriate quality. In a public pharmacy, among sterile medications, eye drops or ointments are most commonly prepared.
Based on an interview and the individual needs of the patient, the pharmacist assists in selecting preparations for minor ailments and dietary supplements to support the proper functioning of the body. The appropriate selection of preparations for each patient is crucial due to possible interactions that can occur when taking multiple medications and dietary supplements. The form and dosage of the drug are also of significant importance. Among other things, these characteristics determine the patient’s adherence to therapeutic recommendations (known as compliance and adherence). In the era of TV screens flooded with drug and dietary supplement advertisements, patients often reach for products they don’t really need. Through conversation, the pharmacist understands the needs and can rationally and optimally select the appropriate preparations.
Every pharmacy graduate with the right to practice can issue a pharmaceutical prescription in case of a threat to the patient’s health. It’s worth noting that this service is a pharmacist’s entitlement, but not their obligation. This means that each case is considered individually by the pharmacist, who then decides whether to issue a pharmaceutical prescription to the patient. This stems from the responsibility that shifts from the doctor to the pharmacist at the moment of dispensing the medication.
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