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Example does not apply to local pharmacists

In response to a recent opinion page column entitled “Pharmacies should take some responsibility,” I would like to make two comments.

The writer says that according to the website Drugchannels.net independent pharmacies in 2016 had a profit of approximately 21.2%. Had the writer dug a little deeper they would have realized that this is gross profit. Even basic accounting would have let them know that gross profit is the price of the prescription minus the cost of the medication. Net profit is that 21.2% less all operational costs. These would include mortgages or lease costs, salaries, insurance, IT costs and many others. The writer led their readers to believe that pharmacies make 21% profits in their operations and that simply is not true.

There is certainly blame to go around for everyone in health care over the opioid epidemic. Pharmacists that I knew quit filling prescriptions early on from areas that would indicate pill mills. We followed guidance from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy that we should have a professional relationship with either the physician or that patient for these medications. Many of us reported potential problems to the Board of Pharmacy for investigation. Most physicians I knew controlled frequency of fills or refills on opioid medications. As I said there was plenty of blame to go around but to paint everyone locally with the brush of the Kermit, W.Va., example is patently unfair.

Thomas E. Tucker R.Ph.

Lower Salem