By Allana M. Alexander, PharmD, MSMTM, BCMTMS
Before the popularization of automobiles and the physician office practice model, pharmacists were integral in providing healthcare services to the community. While the physicians of yesteryear made house calls, pharmacists evaluated and treated patients in their absence. Pharmacists have always been the most accessible healthcare providers. 90 percent of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy. Patients can speak to us by phone or at the pharmacy counter with no appointment needed.
Somewhere along the way, pharmacy practice was siloed into this count – mix – lick – stick dogma. Not to diminish the importance of prescription dispensing to the healthcare continuum, but it barely tips the iceberg of the facets of pharmacy practice. Some examples of non-traditional pharmacist roles are expert medical witness; poison control center director; medical writer; clinical consultant; content creator/social media influencer; informaticist; medical science liaison; veterinary specialist and office-based medication management. Even in the face of recent public health emergencies (COVID-19, polio, monkeypox, etc.), pharmacists have been on the front lines, ensuring patients receive immunizations and acute treatment, especially in rural areas.
This May, I opened a pharmacy-based clinic in Birmingham called A² Pharmacy Solutions. The mission of A² is to return to the roots of pharmacy practice while further expanding pharmacist accessibility. Although prescription dispensing is available, A² specializes in clinical services like COVID-19 molecular, rapid and home testing, immunizations, travel vaccines and disease state education.
As we celebrate American Pharmacists Month, I encourage everyone to thank your local pharmacist. It will mean more than you know.
Allana M. Alexander, PharmD, MSMTM, BCMTMS is the founder of A² Pharmacy Solutions.