Medicine: More Than Just Pill Counters

Clinically trained pharmacists begin prescribing for patients

Pharmacists have long languished near the bottom of the medical totem pole, contemptuously referred to by doctors and nurses as pill counters. But the term may no longer be justified. As the number of drugs has multiplied and human reactions to them have become more varied, pharmacists are beginning to assume a more important role, counseling patients on medication, monitoring drug therapy and sometimes even prescribing drugs.

Says Pharmacist Jere Goyan of the University of California at San Francisco and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration: "It used to be that making the diagnosis...

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