Pharmacy month highlights impact on health, quality of life


Mark Attilio, Correspondent

177 billion is a daunting number, especially when you look at it in dollars.

With that amount of money, one could buy over 500 Boeing 747’s, 118 of the best luxury cruise ships, or over 70,000 four year degrees at Wilkes University.

In an economy like today’s, money like that could have a tremendous impact.

That incredible amount of money is solely the cost of the people needing additional treatments, tests, or services due to an improper education, or lack thereof, on a medical drug therapy.

177 billion dollars is the yearly cost to the healthcare industry and tax payers for medication non-adherence.

There are safe guards to such costs.  These safe guards are people.  People who are set up to make sure that no patient has an adverse reaction to their medication.  People who prevent extra spending on treatments that should have worked fine the first time.  People who are there to help educate patients, assist in treatments and so much more.

Often underutilized, these people have a whole month dedicated to educating America about how they can and want to help their community.  These people are pharmacists.

Pharmacy can clearly impact the cost of medication non-adherence through their education.  Quick counseling sessions can clarify items like storage, administration, or even how they can increase the effectiveness of any regiment.  But why stop there?

Pharmacy is quickly evolving to impact quality of life in so many ways.  Often these means are unheard of, or behind the scenes.  The capability of a pharmacist, and even a pharmacy student, can easily go unnoticed and unutilized.

That is why we have the American Pharmacist Month.

The end of October marks the end of American Pharmacist month.  This month is not dedicated to parading around the good deeds of the pharmacist.  It is meant to communicate and promote the many ways a pharmacist can impact their community, but are often never given the chance.

Even as students, soon to be pharmacists in Wilkes University’s APhA chapter have educated the community on heart health, diabetes, safe antibiotic usage, hygiene, diet, vaccinations, and much more.  These student even assist in providing blood pressure and blood sugar screenings to the community, and these people are just pharmacy students.

Imagine what a pharmacist is capable of!

So now let’s highlight a bit of American Pharmacist Month and just how pharmacist want to help their community.

Did you get your flu shot this year?  Pharmacists can dispense flu shots to individuals over the age of 18 to help prevent the spread of Influenza, a potential life threatening disease.

The pharmacy students at Wilkes have even campaigned on the importance and tackled common myths surrounding the flu.
Such myths include getting sick from a flu shot.  The flu shot is a killed virus and cannot make you sick.  Better yet, the flu will show no symptoms in 40% of people infected with a communicable version of the virus.  People can be walking carriers and not even know it!

Pharmacists also serve as the experts in drug knowledge.  From aspirin to zinc, pharmacist can make great recommendations to promote healthy living with all medication use.

For example, grapefruit can have a drastic impact on the intensity of many medications, such as statins or cholesterol lowering medications.

These are just examples of the many ways pharmacy impacts our lives in a visible manner.  Many pharmacists work behind the scenes, in hospitals and labs, dispending and creating the drugs that will help the people of tomorrow.

The take home point is, know your pharmacist.  American Pharmacist Month was designed to accelerate that community outreach a pharmacist can provide.  With any luck, these efforts will have reached you.  Give a pharmacist a chance, and you might just be surprised how one can help you.