Pharmacists ever-expanding role calls for changes to the rules

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT Change in America often happens slowly due to the country’s large size and the relative autonomy of its states -- usually starting in a handful of states or cities and eventually extending across the country.

(THE NEWS: Pennsylvania boosts pharmacists’ role; NACDS hails bid for collaborative. For the full story, click here)

The ability of community pharmacists to collaborate with physicians in managing patients’ medication therapies, helping to control costs and ensuring that patients take the appropriate drugs and take them properly, is an example of this. Pennsylvania’s state legislature exemplified this when it voted to make Pennsylvania the 33rd state to allow collaborative MTM in a retail pharmacy setting.

To date, 17 states either only allow collaborative MTM in a clinical setting or don’t allow it at all, but now that it’s legal in a majority of states, those 17 laggards could soon see reason and make collaborative MTM legal across the country.

Another reason why this likely is to become a nationwide phenomenon is the changing role of the pharmacist, who has evolved from a mere technician to a full healthcare professional, working closely with other healthcare providers to provide care for the patient. As pharmacists become more and more important to patients’ health, changing regulations to reflect their roles will become not only an expectation, but a necessity.

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