“I'll take drug advice from my MD, thanks,” was the title of a letter to the editor published in a recent issue of the Des Moines Register. The letter was a wake-up call for the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA), which urged its pharmacists to educate their patients about the benefits of medication therapy management (MTM).

As it turns out, patients may refuse services without fully understanding what MTM is or what they could gain from a thorough review of their medications. To complicate matters, they may think of pharmacists as extensions of their insurance companies—rather than independent, doctoral trained medication experts.

That was Phyllis Anderson’s first thought when a pharmacist asked whether she wanted to participate in an MTM session. Anderson described the encounter, which took place at the pharmacy’s drive-through window: “[The pharmacist] informed me that my insurance company had recommended me as a candidate to have my prescriptions reviewed. I responded, ‘Since when do I take insurance companies’ opinions over my physician’s?’”

To Anderson, a counseling session to “review her medications” suggested the pharmacist was colluding with her insurance company to “usurp the physician’s role,” as she put it. She refused the service.

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