Getting the Pharmacy Services You Deserve: Fact Sheet
This Fact Sheet accompanies the Getting the Pharmacy Services You Deserve class in the classroom.
Why is it important to get the pharmacy services you deserve?
Good pharmacy services:
- Can make medication use safer
- Save caregiver’s time
- Improve the results of medication therapy
- Reduce medication costs
You should choose your pharmacist as carefully as you choose a physician.
Thousands of people every year end up in the hospital, fail to get better, and spend more money than they should because their meds were not managed properly.
What kind of pharmacy should you use?
We know from many customer surveys that patients choose their pharmacy based on convenience and price of the medications. The price of medications can vary widely and change over time, so it requires constant checking, if you are paying cash, for the best deal. If you have prescription coverage, sometimes, mail order may cost less because they will fill a 90 day quantity, for one co-pay, compared to the 30 day quantity at your neighborhood retail store.
We have chosen to categorize pharmacies as either face to face, walk-in-the store, or at a distance, receive prescriptions by mail. The choice of which pharmacy best meets your needs depends on what you value the most about getting your medications and what your prescription benefit will provide coverage. The list below is an attempt to provide a way to review what might be important to you. This does not imply one is better than another.
Local walk-in or drive-thru pharmacies
|At a distance
Online pharmacy and mail order
On Line Pharmacies: Do they meet the same standards as your corner drugstore?
|Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ (VIPPS ®) Seal|
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) created the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ (VIPPS®) program and the VIPPS seal of approval, right, identifies to the public those online pharmacy practice sites that are appropriately licensed, are legitimately operating via the Internet, and that have successfully completed a rigorous review and inspection.
Finding your personal pharmacist
Having a trusting relationship with any health care provider is an essential part of the care process. Most of us must feel valued and listened to before we can share the kind personal information, that may be required to provide care. The pharmacist you choose can provide evidence they deserve to be trusted by the following actions:
- Listening: You should receive their full attention and have your concerns heard.
- Communication: You have the RIGHT to written and spoken information in terms you understand.
A pharmacist should be willing to set-up a time when to call you by phone when you do not feel like discussing your issue standing at the counter
- Following through: Expect your pharmacist to follow through on an agreed plan of action and see problems through to the end
- Taking responsibility: Expect a commitment to talk to doctors and insurance plans on your behalf in order to solve medication related problems
- Alzheimer’s knowledge: Expect a pharmacist to demonstrate that they understand Alzheimer’s disease, related medications, and your role as a caregiver
Pharmacists are trained and able to serve as medication use specialists
Expect your pharmacist to do more than dispense the medication accurately
Pharmacists make medication therapy safer
- Make sure the right patient receives the right medication at the right dose for the right reason
- Make sure caregivers and patients understand how to use the medication in a way that is safe and effective
- Your pharmacist should know your specific situation and the special needs of you and your loved one. This will allow the pharmacist to better serve you.
eg.: Eyesight problems – if you have trouble reading the label your pharmacist can make the print on medication labels bigger
- Make sure you are not taking more than one medication for the same reason unnecessarily, including over-the-counter medications
Your pharmacist should explain the following about EACH medication:
- When and how medications should be given, for how long
- Taking some Alzheimer’s medications with food helps to reduce the side effects
- How to recognize likely side effects, what to do if they occur
- Many Alzheimer’s medications can cause upset stomach and diarrhea. These side effects may go away after the first week and stopping the medication may not be necessary.
- How to take with other medications, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements
- Benadryl, found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicine and sleep aids, can worsen Alzheimer’s
- Food, drink, and activities that should be avoided
- When you should see an improvement and recognize when it is time to try something else
Expect written information about your medications that is clear and readable. Have the pharmacist review these sheets and highlight the parts that are important for you and your loved one.
Making Medication Use Better
Expect the pharmacist to ask you questions on a regular basis to see if the medication is working and if there are problems that he/she can help solve
Expect your pharmacist to work with you and your doctor(s) to help manage your medications
- Simplifying the medications
- Pharmacists can recommend medications that are taken once a day when possible
- Pharmacists can recommend medications that come combined in one pill
- If the patient cannot swallow pills, the pharmacist can recommend similar medications that come in a liquid, such as Razadyne (formerly Reminyl)
- Expect advice on taking over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. Ginkgo Biloba, a common herbal supplement, can increase the risk of bleeding in some patients
- Your pharmacist can help establish ways to remind you take medications on a daily basis as directed. We know that if medications are not given in the correct way on a regular basis, they will not work and may do harm.
Getting the most for your money
Buy in larger quantities. You may be able to reduce the amount of money you spend per dose of medication.
Generics. Ask your pharmacist for generic versions of your medications. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests generic medications and judges them to be equivalent to the brand-name product. While there are no generic forms of most Alzheimer’s medications, your other medications may be available in generic.
Splitting tablets of a higher dosage. Always consult with your pharmacist before deciding to split your pills. Not all tablets are meant to be split. There are special pill cutting devices that you can find in the pharmacy or online.
Pharmaceutical company programs. Makers of medications give discounts on Alzheimer’s and other medications for people who qualify. You can find specific programs at the following pharmaceutical industry website: Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Medicaid. People who meet certain income requirements may qualify for the state Medicaid program that helps pay for medications.
SHINE: Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders
Centers of Medicare and Madicaid Services
Medicare discounts. Ask your pharmacist to help you with the new Medicare discount card programs.
Speak up: The best help comes when your health care providers know exactly how the medication are being given and how the patient is responding.
Caregivers are partners with doctors, pharmacists, and the loved ones they care for. It is important to share information so that health care providers can make good medical decisions
Caregivers should ask and understand the answers for the following questions:
- What is the name of the medicine?
- What is the medicine for?
- Is the dose of this medicine appropriate for the patient’s condition?
- How often should it be given, and for how long?
- What side effects are likely? What do I do if they occur? Who do I call?
- Is the medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements?
- What food, drink, or activities should be avoided while taking this medicine?
- When should I see an improvement?
Seek advice on over-the-counter medications.
Share information about diet, activites of daily living, and your schedule so that the pharmacist can customize his service to you and the patient
Do you have a question or complaint?
Questions or complaints about about pharmacy services and safety are received by the Florida State Pharmacy Board