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Pharmacy: It's a tricky business

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               Pharmacy is, of course, a source of health care and service to the people who need it but what many people forget is that pharmacy is also a business. Therefore it can become increasingly tricky when it comes to money and morals.

               The government and many medical institutions battle everyday trying to make healthcare as cheap and accessible as possible. Morally speaking, those who cannot afford the expense of drugs should not be denied them if they are very ill. However, every single independent pharmacy, large- chain pharmacy and drug company is primarily a business that is looking to turn a profit. How do we establish the right balance between making money for a successful business and making sure that the interests of the patients come first?

               The issue of morals and money first came to my attention when I read in the Pharmaceutical Journal that Asda was going to sell cancer drugs at competitive and non-profit prices. The articles surrounding Asda and their initiative is generating great publicity to a lesser established pharmacy. It has also sparked a battle between other supermarkets and large-chain pharmacies to lower the cost of their cancer drugs also.

               My concern is that when people read these articles they may lose faith and trust in their local pharmacies since it appears that these companies are mainly focused on attracting the most customers with their rivalling prices. It is our job as pharmacists to reassure the public that their health always comes first.

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