Robyn Parker, CPhT, manager, reporting and data analytics, Diplomat, Flint
At this year’s Pharmacy Day at the Capitol and Medication Disposal Event, technicians spoke about being the pharmacist’s ears and patient’s voice – we listen for the pharmacist and speak for the patient – to legislators visiting the Pharmacists Care tent on the south Capitol lawn in Lansing. As legislators and their staff made their way through the Pharmacists Care tent, technicians took this opportunity to explain their role as the ears of the pharmacist and the voice of the patient. Pharmacy technicians are the first line to patients, and patients tend to speak more on a personal level to that technician. Many times, information learned from casual conversations with a patient can impact their current therapy, and pharmacists should be aware of that information. For example, a patient diagnosed with high blood pressure may come into the pharmacy, casually speak to the pharmacy technicians about an increase of sinus pressure and headaches. The patient informs the technician they have been taking over-the-counter decongestants and NSAIDs for relief. Unbeknownst to the patient, decongestants should not be taken while being treated for high blood pressure. In addition, certain pain and anti-inflammatory medications can cause water retention, which in turn may increase blood pressure. This casual conversation with a pharmacy technician was an opportunity to be the ears for the pharmacist and to voice that information to the pharmacist to ensure the patient is receiving the best care. The relationship between the pharmacist and the pharmacy technician, and what makes it so effective, was the topic of many discussions with legislators in the Pharmacists Care tent throughout the day.
This year was also a year of records for the event! 2017 marks the largest number of volunteers for the event to date! A total of 492 pharmacy students and other pharmacy professionals made their way down to Lansing to show support for the profession. Of the 492 individuals volunteering their time, 417 were pharmacy students coming to learn more about what Michigan Pharmacists Association and Michigan Society of Pharmacy Technicians does for our members and profession. This year was also the largest amount of medications collected for the Medication Disposal Event. This year’s disposal event collected 1,527 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired medications. Of the 1,500 pounds, 20 pounds were controlled substances. Over the past eight years, the Medication Disposal Event has taken in nearly four tons of medications, keeping them off the streets and out of our environment, with a total value of more than $8.75 million.
Thank you to all who were involved in this year’s event, and to the City of Wyoming for assisting in the medication disposal. Save the date for next year – Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. We can’t wait to see you there!