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Expert Commentary: Investigative Series Becomes Teaching Tool in Pharmacy Training

By Brian Kirschner

Dr. Daniel A. HussarA recent three-part investigative series by the Chicago Tribune highlighted a concerning failure rate of pharmacists who missed dangerous drug combinations when presented with certain prescriptions. Reporters visited 255 chain store pharmacies and independent pharmacies in the Chicago area and the results were exposed in the article “Pharmacies miss half of dangerous drug combinations” Other articles in the series examined an almost deadly case resulting from drug interactions and researchers’ efforts in identify potentially potent drug combinations.

Daniel A. Hussar P’62, MS’64, PharmD’67 is using this investigative series as a teaching tool in the training of future pharmacists at USciences’ Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

“This three-part series and my editorial in The Pharmacist Activist are now required reading in my law and ethics class,” Dr. Hussar said. “We also are having class discussions to illustrate the points raised by this troubling investigation.”

Dr. Hussar, who holds the title of Remington Professor of Pharmacy at USciences and who will be receiving the 2017 Remington Honor Medal awarded by the American Pharmacists Association in March, notes that even before this article series “a lot of our courses give specific attention to problems that could occur and these are reinforced with lab and cases studies.”

While it’s a professional duty of pharmacists to be alert to problems, Dr. Hussar encourages the public to learn as much as possible about the medications they are taking and any likely side effects or drug interactions that could take place. As mail-order pharmacies begin dispensing medications more often, your local pharmacist may not be aware of all prescriptions in each patient’s record.

“Patients should ask if the pharmacist has a complete record of the medications they are taking,” Dr. Hussar advised. And patients shouldn’t hesitate to inquire if there are any possible drug interactions before leaving the pharmacy.

Categories: News, Health Tip, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Pharmacy, Pharmacy Administration