The retail drugstore industry has worked hard to market itself as a one-stop destination for their customers’ healthcare needs, offering everything from strep tests to flu shots just steps away from the magazine rack and the candy aisle. Needless to say, they leave out the part about urgent care centers offering the same services in addition to x-rays, sutures, and many other, higher-acuity services in a purely clinical setting. This is not to say that pharmacists have light duty. NBC News ran a story recently detailing just how difficult—and dangerous—the situation is becoming, with druggists constantly on the run between the pharmacy shelves, the phone, and the drive-thru window while also counseling patients during 12-hour shifts with scarce time for a meal or even a bathroom break. All while trying to remain vigilant for possible drug errors. Of greater concern for the urgent care industry is the fact that the larger chain drugstore industry wants to see pharmacists take on an even bigger role, possibly including prescribing authority. JUCM has covered this issue extensively. Our archive includes several articles—Prescribing Pharmacists: Cheaper and More Accessible Than Urgent Care?; Is Florida Looking to Cast Pharmacists as Primary Care Providers?; and Giving Pharmacists Prescribing Authority Could Be Risky for Patients and for Urgent Care—that could provide valuable insights into this issue.
Does More Work for Pharmacists Equate to Less Safety for Urgent Care Patients?