Open Letter to the Seattle Times

There is a reason that newspaper sales are plummeting. It might be interesting to see if advertisers will give the same treatment to the Seattle Times as they did to the errant radio host, Don Imus, for general stupidity.

The invisible author of the editorial praising the newest pharmacy regulations has revealed ignorance of the regulations themselves, as well as ignorance of the practice of pharmacy.   There really is no need to pay money for material written by people who do no research and have no understanding of a topic.

It is the regulations themselves which gut the essential elements of pharmacy practice, with the real target of forcing pharmacists to dispense Plan B to any male or female over 18 years of age.

Witness some realistically probable scenarios:

These regulations do not specify plan B, but they do prohibit a pharmacist from supposedly "intimidating" a patient, or delaying the dispensing of potentially harmful drugs. This means that pharmacists  can be held responsible for the feelings of patients who receive information about drugs treating various disease states.   If the pharmacist presents information (no matter how true) that the patient dislikes,  the pharmacist has "intimidated" the patient.  If the pharmacist refuses to dispense a drug combination which could kill the patient, but the patient trusts the physician more, and contests the pharmacist's conclusion (no matter how correct) the pharmacist now has to let the Washington patient suffer the adverse consequences, visit the emergency department, or die.

I would not practice in Washington state, because many things I have done to help patients, and to save patient lives are now prohibited there. This is effected by the new pharmacy board, which is more interested in legitimizing their profiteering from Plan B, by involving everyone, than they are in the health, safety and lives of patients.

The legitimacy of Plan B is held sacred above all things, and any facts or opinions to the contrary are to be suppressed and purged, using sweeping draconian measures, which in this case has converted the profession of pharmacy to insurance clerks.

A note concerning those who doctor-shop and buy prescription drugs for resale:  the black market drug  industry will have gotten a lot easier come June 2007, when these regulations take effect.   The combination of HIPAA regulations and Washington regulations mean that  there not likely be any challenge from pharmacists to drug procuring efforts.   There is only a  need for the procurers  to pay cash to bypass the checks by the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

The risk of possibly causing a patient to feel intimidated, and losing the license to practice is certainly too great to warrant any effort to regulate the flow of narcotics and benzodiazepines for illegitimate use and resale.

Karen Brauer, MS, RPh

Lawrenceburg, IN