Does Your Pharmacist Help You with your Diabetes Care? Should They Be Able To?

PharmacistNo question about it that the face of the diabetes landscape is changing everyday.  The diabetes health field is adding players and removing players with each yearly cycle.  Whether it be Obamacare or competitive bidding for diabetes supplies, the diabetes world of just a year ago, is different from today, which will change again in the very near future.

It is not all bad, it is not all good but it will be changing for some time to come.

As the time for Doctors and Diabetes Educators in hospitals and/or Doc’s offices becomes limited, a new partner in the diabetes world is emerging more and more; and that is the Pharmacist.  I should not say new because pharmacists have been around for a long time but it is not until fairly recently that they are being called upon as never before to become a bona-fide partner in the battle we all face on a daily basis.

Have you had to rely on the Pharmacist at the local drugstore, whether it be in a national chain, a local store, or even the drug store in your local supermarket; to answer your questions as you pick up your prescriptions?  Is your pharmacist able to answer questions regarding the use of diabetes supplies; how to work a glucometer, and what meds will react with insulin; or not?

I see more and more the initials CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) after many pharmacists titles, and I also know there is a drive as never before into training the pharmacists in better diabetes management.  

From a business perspective it makes sense if the pharmacist knows about diabetes, doesn’t it?

For those of you who do not use a mail order pharmacy, I ask you to chime in today how important is your pharmacist in your diabetes care, or the care of your child.  If they are not involved or do not help, let us know that too.

Everyone’s time limit with us, to discuss good diabetes care, keeps getting shorter and shorter, it just seems that pharmacists need to receive some sort of training, and many do, to be able to answer our questions.  I have to also think that they need to be up-to-date with the most recent and best advancements in diabetes care.

So chime in, does your pharmacist play a role in diabetes care, and/or do you think they should be able to?

I am a diabetes dad.

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9 replies on “Does Your Pharmacist Help You with your Diabetes Care? Should They Be Able To?”

Being as my “phamacist” and prescription insurance coverage is online and mail order delivery; I don’t count on them much beyond doing their job which is providing timely and accurate service. If I have any questions I ask my endocrinologist. I DO feel that even a mail order service should take it upon themselves to call the Dr. if they have any questions about an order or medication. Unfortunately in today’s economy fewer and fewer of us are using the traditional “over the counter” pharmacist.

We have been fortunate enough to use a local hometown pharmacy for years. As soon as we left the hospital after diagnosis, I took the stack of paper prescriptions with me and just walked right in and looked Terry in the eye and said “Help.” He knew exactly what to do. He walked me through everything and has always done so. Over the last couple of years, our health insurance has pushed us to move to a “big box” or mail order pharmacy and we have just flatly refused. I keep paying higher copays to have my one on one with Terry. He loves my T1 as much as we do (opening up after hours on sick days or Sundays because we need him or extra supplies, taking a hit with the insurance company or fighting with them because something just wasn’t right, and just looking out for us) and I love supporting a local small business.

My best friend, Lisa, is/was a pharmacist. She finally quit after 15 years because of the NON-customary duties they kept adding (without an increase in pay of course). She was forced (illegal) to offer/peddle their insurance to customers, give flu shots, etc. It was not what she signed up for when coming out of pharmacy school – she has her doctorate too. They have changed the rules, forcing pharmacists to take on the internist, endo, pediatric doctor role. The public expects them to fill this consultation role. Your pharmacist should know about the prescription you’re filling and that’s it – period. Consult your doctor on anything else. These pharmacists are going to be juggling so much that errors in prescriptions will likely occur. I also want to note this pharmacy is famous for pushing part-time pharmacists to get out of paying health benefits. I won’t name the company because they do a lot for Type 1 so I’m torn to call them out.

As a pharmacist and a certified diabetes educator, I love that I have gotten to expand my practice. A pharmacists role has evolved quite rapidly, they are an integral part of the medical team. On average, a patient sees a pharmacist 7 times more than the doctor/nurses. A person with diabetes is usually on many medications, a pharmacist is a necessary and important component of the care. I think most people believe that all pharmacists do is count pills. Few realize the extent of the studying a pharmacist does (they can compete with a doctor in the number of years and much more than nurses). including the phathophysiology of diseases. A pharmacist/CDE can provide excellent care as an educator. Counseling and education are already a part of our practice.
While I may be a little biased as this is my profession, I am also a Type 1 (35 years) and have always sought the advice of pharmacists in caring for my diabetes.

Yes the people who get paid to provide the supplies we need should know everything they can about conditions they provide for. My supplier of insets, etc. (Neighborhood) isn’t caring enough to know when they don’t send the needed supplies that is a major problem for us. However, our local pharmacy knows that not having enough insulin is something they must jump right on to remedy so they do. Last year, I sent a letter to my pharmacy headquarters and it was forwarded to The Kinney Drugs Foundation. Mark Brackett called me from the foundation and We chatted for a while about how complicated Type 1 Diabetes and Diabetes care can be. At the end of the call, he told me that he was makting a $500 donation to JDRF. I smiled, whooped aloud and cried with gratitude that day to find someone who cared that much and could show it.

We love our pharmacist. He is able to answer any of our questions and stocks all of our diabetes supplies except for our pump consumables. I remember one Sunday when my husband was overseas our daughter’s pump failed and we had to go back to needles. Our pharmacist knew I had been up all night and insisted on dropping by with everything I could possibly need to get by until our new pump arrived. We are so lucky to have him in our neighbourhood. He also takes part in local Diabetes Expos. Online pharmacies aren’t a big thing in Australia as of yet, but I think I will be sticking with a face to face pharmacist.

We are very lucky in that our pharmacist is the ONLY CDE in our small town. We have to travel over 3 hours to see our daughters endo and diabetes care team so having the pharmacist available to us is a huge bonus. When our daughter started on a pump our pharmacist arranged to be able to bring in our pump supplies for us so we would be able to get 1 month worth at a time. He is an indispensable part of our daughters diabetes care team and he is the reason I will stick with his independent drug store and not move to a big box store, regardless of rewards!

My apologies for getting to this blog late but felt I wanted to add a couple of comments to some already very good ones. As one of the fortunate pharmacists who is a CDE, has his own practice and trains pharmacists on a regular basis in diabetes care, I want to encourage those with diabetes to take the extra step and find those pharmacists, like some mentioned above, who have taken extra training in diabetes care and find the time to do so. Most pharmacists in my groups are very passionate about wanting to talk to patients and help them with their diabetes. Yes, at some point they may be busy at the very minute you have a question that needs answering but be as patient with them as you are with your physician. If they don’t respond, find another pharmacist, period. As with physicians, nurses and dietitians, there is a difference with the level of skills and caring but as a rule pharmacists deeply care about the people that walk into their pharmacies. With CDE’s averaging about 57 yrs old, endocrinologists becoming fewer each year, pharmacists are gearing up to take on a completely new role in diabetes care. So as we always tell our people with diabetes, BYOA (Be Your Own Advocate) and don’t settle for less when there are professionals out there with a real desire to work with you. Thanks Tom for bringing this subject to everyone’s attention.

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