In the present paper we are to analyze the major problems that HMO pharmacies face. To do so we are to assume the role of a person called Ben Davis who has taken a special course that helps him to address the issue.
Firstly, it seems that Ben Davis should really be well aware of the problems in question. So what are they?
The second problem may be of a financial character and be, actually, linked to the first one – since there is high competition, there arises a need to lower prices and this can hit the business.
However, the main predicament the Ben Davis’ pharmacy finds itself into is that there are numerous complaints about quality of its products. It can be assumed that with financial issues being piled up, this situation is potentially dangerous for the pharmacy which finds itself on the brink of closure. What can Ben Davis do?
Indeed, he should start with a thorough investigation into the processes of making medicaments embraced by the pharmacy. And how are medicaments usually produced?
It goes without saying, that pharmacy production is very complicated. Much depends on a particular kind of drug being produced. Indeed, there are different types of drugs – for the eye, for the ear, nose and oropharynx, for the respiratory system, etc. - and production of each has its own peculiarities and difficulties. However, the main difficulty is even not in producing drugs but of applying them into practice. Actually, drug development always takes into account their future use – costs of the drugs, their availability to a mass customer, and their possible drawback and side effects on the customer’s health (Finkelstein, 2008).
Thus, it is not unusual that a very effective drug is totally discarded because of the too high expenses involved in its production or because, as in our case, some controversies may arise. It can simply be claimed that the drug is too dangerous and harmful for the patient. That is why a pharmacist should be always concerned about prescription phase. What factors must be considered by the pharmacist?
The pharmacist at the initial stage should be well acquainted with the term Raw material identification (RMID). It is a step that can guarantee compliance with manufacturing processes and ensure good quality of the product in question. Thus, the pharmacist has no right whatever just to rely on the producer’s reputation and disregard his personal involvement in getting to the core of the medicament he is about to prescribe. In other words, the pharmacist must bear responsibility for what he is prescribing – not a producer.
Secondly, the pharmacist should refer to his experience and be able to assume whether the drug he is prescribing might or might not have side effects on the patient. Here the pharmacist should know the history of the patient’s disease and be ready to come up with any helpful advice he can provide.
Actually, to analyze prescription processes more thoroughly we can refer to various aspects of it – suppliers, inputs, process itself, outputs, and, finally, customers. All these can be summarized in the so called SIPOC model – being abbreviation of the process aspects (Saxana, 2007).
It is obvious that a prescription process begins not from the prescription but from supply- you cannot prescribe what you do not have. Then comes input. By this term we understand what the pharmacist can really contribute to the process, apart from prescription i.e. his thorough investigation of the drug. Only then comes prescription which through output reaches the patient or a customer.
In modern day world, however, the whole process is really simplified in terms of data collecting and processing. The main tool of such simplification is technology. The pharmacist should not be afraid to use various technologies, including computer based, to improve his work and to provide a good prescription. In fact, the pharmacist can use process hazards analysis by means of computerized devices to avoid any mistakes.
Finally, having gone through some problems of the pharmacy industry, we need to answer the question: what is the main problem of it and how can it be resolved?
The lack of medicament supply can be resolved by the pharmacy’s co-operation with other market partners, including some governmental and foreign companies. Despite the above mentioned stiff competition, it should not be the driving force of the market.
Finkelstein T. (2008) "Reasonable Rx: Solving the Drug Price Crisis"
Saxena, Sanjaya Kumar. (2007) "SIPOC". Noida, India.