percription drug costs  As I came home from work last night and watched the election day coverage well into the night I realized that change was coming to the political leadership positions in the United States. And I couldn’t help but wonder what changes if any that would bring to the profession of pharmacy. But as I thought about the implications of the American midterm elections yesterday I realized a very important fact: change was already coming!

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 was passed several months before this election. And that healthcare law will bring sweeping changes to the United States healthcare system and how we deliver healthcare services to Americans. But what does this mean for the profession of pharmacy? And more importantly how will we collectively react to the changes that are coming? As I was working my closing shift and Americans were headed to the polls yesterday I had a chance to sit down for a quick snack during my shift. As I sat there eating quickly so I could get back to my duties I read an article in the current Pharmacy Times magazine. That article, written by Mike Hennessy, talked about the new healthcare law and what impact it will have on the profession of pharmacy. But more importantly Hennessy challenged the profession of pharmacy in that article to take a good look at the new healthcare law and really see what it will mean for the profession of pharmacy. Hennessy in this article seemed to imply that we can’t wait for the changes to happen around us in the healthcare system and expect pharmacy to come out ahead! We must proactively determine our own fate in this evolving healthcare system.

I happen to agree with Hennessy. I think that the major pharmacy organizations such as the APhA have taken a “wait and see” attitude towards the healthcare reform law as Hennessy put it in his article. This passive approach is very dangerous for the profession of pharmacy. We can’t collectively sit back and wait to see what will happen to us. We must take an active role and really let our voice be heard.

I personally think that pharmacy has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of this healthcare transformation we are about to experience. We have the unique opportunity to showcase our knowledge and abilities to the rest of the healthcare system and we can also work to solve problems like rising costs and limited care for many Americans. But to do this we need a profession of doers and not a profession of people that are going to sit on their hands and wait for healthcare reform to happen to them.

I think that pharmacists must become more active in their own profession and within the healthcare system to ensure we are not simply the “forgotten healthcare professional” so to speak. We must also become politically active and let all of the people that have been entrusted to lead our nation know that we are concerned about issues and proposals that affect our profession and the healthcare system in general. And that means that each of us must keep up with developments in our immediate area and in our state and let our representatives know when we do or don’t like something.

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