Unethical practices - drug industry

Kurt James Purcell purcell at ee.ualberta.ca
Tue Aug 15 10:15:14 EST 1995

maikai at aol.com (MAIKAI) writes:

>allows it to be sold over the counter.  The pharmacist said his job is not
>to question the docs-----since they "should" know drug interactions, and
>know the patient's history.  Guess he can explain that to the Pharmacy
>Board----the state Pharmacy Act and OBRA do not say the same thing. 

     Did you ask this pharmacist why to hell he bothered to go to University in
the first place?  The whole idea behind being a pharmacist is that there is
one last check before the medication gets given to the patient.  (Well, 
it also stops unscrupulious dcotors from making billions of dollars
by selling narcotics, etc).  Doctors have to learn physiology, pathology, 
psycology, emergency medicine, etc.... Of course they don't know every 
drug and every side effect of every drug.  Hell, even pharmacists don't know
every drug.  

     But, every second year pharmacy student knows not to give a decongestant
to someone with high-blood pressure.  If the Rx was bought OTC it would have
had the warning right on the box 'do not take this medication if you have
high blood pressure, glaucoma, prostate disease, thyroid disease, if you are
taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, etc.....Unless consulting first with
a physician". The doctor erred by telling her to take the medication in the
first place (and why to heck did he prescribe 120mg?  30 mg would have been
plenty.  Especially with an older person who has a slower metabolism).  The
pharmacist erred by not phoning the doctor to tell him that the patient had
a history of high blood pressure and heart disease.  That's what pharmacists
have to keep patient records for - so that they can warn the Dr. if 
there is a conflict that the Dr. might be aware of.  

     Have you been able to get ahold of the doctors records on your mother?
If not, get down there and demand them today!!  Tell them that they are your
property (well, they were the property of your mother - so you inherit them). 
If they refuse or tell you to come back later - tell them to photocopy
everything and you'll wait.  You don't want to give them a chance to
'disgard irrelivant information'  This way you'll have a record of all the
information her doctor had about her - it is possible he knew nothing
of the high BP or heart congestion.  Secondly, go to the pharmacy and
ask for a printout off all the medications your mother was on in the
past 2 years (tell them it's for 'tax purposes').  Then you'll know if
the pharmacist was aware of her heart problems.  It is possible that the 
pharmacist was also not aware of her high blood pressure.  Many people do
not think of their high blood pressure as being a problem as long as it
is controlled by medication.  

     From the information you are able to gather, you will be able to 
see if it was just a matter of the doctor and pharmacist being unaware 
of her condition, or if they truely were negligant.  If the second is
true, it's time to hire a lawyer.

Michelle LaBrosse-Purcell
purcell at nyquist.ee.ualberta.ca		                  
University of Alberta,			 
Edmonton, Alberta.                       

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