A Vision of Pharmacy's Future Roles, Responsibilities, and Manpower Needs in the United States

This paper was prepared by the 1997-1999 ACCP Clinical Practice Affairs Subcommittee A: Michael S. Maddux, PharmD, FCCP, Chair; Betty J. Dong, PharmD; William A. Miller, PharmD, FCCP; Kent M. Nelson, PharmD, BCPS; Marsha A. Raebel, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS; Cynthia L. Raehl, PharmD; and William E. Smith, PharmD, PhD

Pharmacotherapy. 2000;20(8) 

In This Article


Put as much energy into long-term planning for pharmacy as is put into short-term strategizing. Let's begin to outline, through our professional organizations, what we can achieve over a generation or two, not just within the next 12 months. Let's see if we can coordinate the planning efforts of national and state practitioner organizations and the academic community.
Zellmer, 1996 [9]

In developing this White Paper, our sub-committee was asked to provide recommen-dations for action by the profession. These recommendations have been divided into two categories: (1) recommended actions for the entire profession, and (2) recommendations for ACCP and its membership. The recommendations reflect the analyses, forecasts, assessments, and opinions offered in the body of the paper. We expect that not all of the suggested actions will be deemed possible, or in some cases, even appropriate. However, we do hope that the recommendations herein will promote further thought and dialogue among the profession in general, and the clinical pharmacy community in particular.

  1. Adopt a unifying philosophy of practice that establishes the patient as the primary beneficiary of the profession, with the pharmacist accepting shared responsibility with other health care professionals for patient care.

  2. Develop a coordinated strategy by capitalizing on the collective strengths of national pharmacy organizations to secure financial compensation for pharmacists' patient care services that are not directly related to drug distribution.

  3. Create a profession-wide strategy for both the development and use of technology. This strategy should engage pharmacy education and all venues of pharmacy practice to enhance pharmacists' training in, and use of, technology in prescription processing and distribution, drug information, and drug therapy management.

  4. Work with professional regulators and state legislators to revise pharmacy practice acts to enable shared responsibility for direct patient care, use of appropriate technology and technical support personnel, and collaborative drug therapy management.

  5. Develop credible, coordinated certification and credentialing processes whereby all qualified pharmacists can demonstrate patient care competence.

  6. Focus, in academia, not only on manpower, but also (perhaps even more) on professional empowerment. Pharmacy educators must maintain high expectations for performance of both general and professional educational outcomes; contribute to the development of new post-licensure education and training programs that help existing practitioners "retool"; promote continued expansion of residency programs, including nontraditional programs (mini-residencies); and assume leadership roles in technician training and certification.

  7. Foster collaborative efforts by professional organizations, academia, and health care systems to develop new models of pharmacy practice in the community practice setting.

  1. Collaborate closely with other national pharmacy organizations and assume a leadership role in the profession's adoption of a unifying philosophy of practice.

  2. Place increased emphasis on the development of leadership abilities among the rank-and-file membership.

  3. Embrace community pharmacy and seek to assist community practitioners in acquiring additional knowledge, skills, and attitudes that can expand pharmacists' impact on patient outcomes.

  4. Encourage colleges and schools of pharmacy to explore how current doctor of pharmacy programs can prepare graduates better for contemporary generalist practice.

  5. Encourage NABP and state boards of pharmacy to continue their efforts toward creating licensure exams that are more reflective of pharmacists' patient care responsibilities.

  6. Support, and assist in the development of, certificate programs and certification processes that provide for appropriate assessment of knowledge and skills while also validating adequate levels of experience.

  7. Oppose pharmacist certification that lacks unique (differentiating) and definable knowledge domains, or adequate assessment of clinical training or experience.

  8. Work inclusively with other pharmacy organizations, associations, and CCP to establish a cohesive and coherent plan for pharmacist credentialing.

  9. Explore the feasibility of engaging in cooperative political advocacy efforts with community pharmacy organizations and trade associations to pursue agendas of mutual professional interest (e.g., reimburse-ment for pharmacists' clinical activities that improve patient outcomes).


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