Expanding pharmacists’ role puts patients at risk

Ensuring safety and providing the best care to all is our primary concern for opposing the recent legislative action to allow Illinois pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to “test and treat” patients with certain health care conditions. That means they will be handing out medications based on an isolated rapid test — without any knowledge of a person’s overall health — which could lead to unnecessary care or dire consequences from negative side effects.

In some situations, a positive test does not always mean that a medication should be dispensed at all, especially for children. Without a thorough exam and access to a patient’s medical history by a physician or advanced practice nurse who are trained to make clinical diagnoses, patients are at risk for overtreatment or adverse reactions.

We are especially concerned about the most vulnerable people — children and geriatric patients who require specialized care and treatment and may have underlying or undiagnosed conditions that must be considered before adding any new medication. Imagine you or your child having an allergic reaction to a medication and your doctor not even knowing what was prescribed.

This expansion of the workload for pharmacists is a move by the big box pharmacy chains to increase profits at the risk of patient safety. We need state regulators to enact rules to secure common sense protections for the safety of Illinois patients.

Piyush I. Vyas, President, Illinois State Medical Society

Emma Daisy, President, Illinois Academy of Family Physicians

Margaret Scotellaro, President, Illinois Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics

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