APhA Starts To Engage Me In Dialogue. Then Abruptly Stops.

I gotta admit I was a little shocked when this showed up in my mailbox out of the blue:

Hi Mr. Drugmonkey,

I wanted to see if you'd be interested in an interview opportunity with Kristen Binaso, Senior Director of the American Pharmacists Association,

Um, yes. Yes I would. I haven't been shy about my opinion of APhA, the professional association so ineffective it can't even get all the letters in its name capitalized, and there are few things I would enjoy more than the chance to tear into one of their egghead, self important, ivory tower useless suit types busy "shaping the future of the profession" while the profession dies.

I thought to myself that maybe if you wish hard enough for something you really will get it. The e-mail then continued:

According to the FDA, over 1.2 million people each year suffer from injuriescaused by medication errors. Choosing your pharmacist carefully is crucialto your overall health; but it's an aspect of the health care process that'soften overlooked.

In this interview opportunity Kristen will discuss:
- Why choosing a pharmacist is just as important as a choosing a doctor

- Why it is important to see the same pharmacists and keep accurate, updated medication records

- Important questions every patient should ask their pharmacists

I see. A lamefest. How unexpected from APhA. I bet this was tied in with some sort of campaign to let people know not to keep their medicine in the bathroom medicine cabinet as well. We all know heart attack rates could be cut in half if only people could be convinced not to keep their medicine in the bathroom. APhA doesn't back away from the important issues.

At least, they wouldn't if I got a hold of them.

I emailed the PR hack back and told him I would be delighted to interview the good Ms. Binaso. I was very polite and grown up about it. I really wanted this interview. PR hack writes me back:

Does 7:30am ET work for you?

Here's what we can do: you can interview Kristen over the phone, but we'll tape her live from our studio as you're conducting the interview. Then we'll edit the audio with the footage and produce a Web video of the interview that you can embed on your blog -- or you can use the content to write a post.

My God I was living in some sort of wet dream. Not only would I get a chance to corner APhA about how they are fiddling as the profession burns, but it would be on tape! I was salivating.....literally salivating.

Not for me so much....but for you. Because everything I do is for you guys.

A few hours later I get this from the PR hack:

I'm really sorry, but we're going to have to cancel the interview. I thought we had a free time slot, but there was another commitment I wasn't aware of. Would you still be interested in emailing some questions that we can have Ms. Binaso answer and using the content for a post? Feel free to send me some questions.

Again, really sorry about this.

"I'm really sorry" of course, means in this case: "someone in the office finally got around to actually reading your blog"

Still, I figured I might as well play out the string here. I sent the good Ms. Binaso the following questions:

1) Ms. Binaso, you seem to be in a unique position in our profession, with both your experience at APhA and "in the trenches" of retail pharmacy. As APhA points out, the FDA says over 1.2 million people each year suffer from injuries caused by medication errors. We both agree that the best way to reduce medication errors is to have patient/pharmacist interaction, yet you surely see every time you call another pharmacy during your workday just how much of a challenge simply talking to a pharmacist can be at times. In an era of corporate pharmacy cutbacks, staff cuts, ever increasing workloads, and the constant promise of new technology that claims to increase time available for counselling but never actually seems to deliver more counselling time, what changes would APhA like to see that would move the profession in the direction of more personal interaction?

2) Do you think staffing levels in most retail pharmacies are adequate to provide mandated OBRA counselling on each new prescription? If so what do you see as the major barrier to OBRA compliance and how do we change it?

3) The name of your organization is The American PHARMACISTS Association. What in your opinion are the major concerns of the average retail pharmacist and how is APhA working to address these concerns and advocate for the rank-and-file members of our profession?

Here's a hint as to what kind of an answer I got back:

"Hello darkness my old friend" What an appropriate song, as APhA is the darkness masquerading as the professions friend. What an appropriate picture. Simon and Garfunkel running away in silence from the mighty Drugmonkey. Remember, I didn't start this, it all began with an unsolicited e-mail from them.

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APhA Starts To Engage Me In Dialogue. Then Abruptly Stops.
APhA Starts To Engage Me In Dialogue. Then Abruptly Stops.
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