Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pharmacies in Health Care

I have a friend who lives in Seoul, South Korea. His wife owns and operates a pharmacy there of which I have visited. The Korean way of using drugs is very different. If I were to have a headache, I would go the local pharmacy, they are as ubiquitous as Starbucks are here, and buy a single aspirin and some herbal tea to wash it down. This is an example of the differences between our cultures.

If I was to have a sore throat, I could go to the local pharmacist on the corner, and get an antibiotic. The pharmacist is allowed by law to dispense antibiotic and many other drugs without a prescription. Of course, the pharmacists are trained there to recognize most of the common maladies. Almost like a nurse-pharmacists.

Imagine not having to make an appointment to see the doctor, take time off work to go there, sit in the lobby for an hour, then see the doctor for 5 minutes and be charged $500 only to get some clindamycin for your sore throat.

We should have a similar system in our country. With the types of pharmacies we have in the US, records of drug use histories and allergies can be maintained easily to limit any anticipated untoward reaction or abuse of the drugs. If every adult in the US needs antibiotic once a year (just a number for argument's sake), then 180M office visits would be avoided with a cost-saving of $90B per year (just in the cost of the medicine, not to mention the 180M hours of productivity lost).

I do not believe that it would cost very much to implement such a system. It works very well in Korea.

I know that the doctors out there may not like this idea, but they can concentrate on those patients that really need there help.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]