Pharmacist Prescribing

What Are the Next Steps?

Lisa Nissen, B.Pharm., Ph.D., FSHP, FHKPA


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2011;68(24):2357-2361. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


In countries all around the world, particularly those with developed economies, health care and, more specifically, the underpinning health systems are in crisis. However, the fiscal costs of health care are only one part of the bigger and more concerning picture. There are a number of key issues driving policymakers' concerns about the viability of our health care systems, including the increased cost of new pharmaceuticals and other evolving technologies, the growing needs of aging populations, the impact of chronic diseases, and a significant work force crisis.[1]

Solutions to these issues will not come easily; however, what is clear internationally is that pharmacists can be key participants in the management of health care costs through their contribution to the informed and appropriate use of medications in the community. For example, in the United States, collaborative drug therapy management programs exist in more than 75% of states.[2] These programs allow qualified pharmacists working within a defined protocol to assume responsibility for performing patient assessments, ordering laboratory tests, and selecting, initiating, monitoring, and adjusting drug regimens. Recently, the Medicare Part D program expanded such opportunities for pharmacists through the funding of medication therapy management services.[3]

However, for pharmacists everywhere the question still remains as to how we will engage ourselves in the rapidly evolving health care agenda when as a profession we have our own challenges ahead in areas such as work force supply, remuneration for services, expansion of our professional roles, and provision of continuity of care.


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