Continuing a Legacy of Quality Patient Care

Continuing a Legacy of Quality Patient Care

During the month of October, we’re joining the American Pharmacists Association to celebrate the integral role that pharmacists play in the healthcare of patients. The theme “Know your Pharmacist, Know your Medicine” inspired us to interview just a few of our highly skilled pharmacists.

Marissa Waring, PharmD
Staff Pharmacist
St. Louis, MO

Q. How would you describe your role at UBC?
A. My role at UBC is very patient focused. I work with Patient Assistance Programs, providing counsel to patients who are uninsured or underinsured and who would not otherwise have access to treatment. UBC’s PAP programs are some of the longest-running programs in the industry.  I’m proud of this legacy and proud to be a part of it.

I counsel patients in multiple disease states, including oncology, chronic pain, COPD, and diabetes. I review prescriptions for accuracy before shipping. And, I talk to patients about their treatment, educate them on how to administer the medication, and discuss potential interaction with other drugs.

Patients frequently tell me and my colleagues how grateful they are for medication that is improving their health. Without a PAP, they would have no access to these medications. We see every day how beneficial these programs are to patients. But, they’re beneficial to manufacturers as well. As agents of our clients, we are responsible for reporting any adverse events or product quality complaints. This reporting can be very useful in building a safety profile for a medication.

Q. What was your inspiration for becoming a pharmacist?
A. The medical field always interested me, and I feel very fortunate to be an advocate for patients. Too often, patients receive little to no information about their prescription, possible side effects, and potential interactions with other medications. As drug experts, pharmacists typically have a deeper knowledge about specific therapies and more time resources than physicians. We can provide a great deal of information and assistance that truly benefits our patients’ health. 

Q. Healthcare is a dynamic industry. Describe a change you’re seeing.
A. We can all see that the topic of opioid use and abuse potential is in the news every day.  Many people suffer from chronic pain that requires use of opioid type pain medications, and the number of people who fatally overdose on them continues to grow.  In the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration has issued new regulations affecting the accessibility of this class of medication. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed new guidelines for prescribing opioids.

These changes are affecting the dosages given to patients. When my colleagues and I see that a prescription dose has been decreased dramatically, we make a call to the prescriber. Dosages should be tapered down to prevent withdrawal symptoms. I speak with many patients to help them know what to expect when their dosage has been changed.

Q. Can you share a personal experience that has influenced your professional life?
A. Absolutely! A few months ago, I was ready for a break from routine. I did some research and decided to travel to Paraguay with a group from Habitat for Humanity.  It was a great experience. Our group helped build homes for three single mothers. These homes are not simply given to the women – they were required to pay for a portion of the costs. They were hard workers who just needed some help getting a place of their own.  The independence that comes with having one’s own home is a life changer for these women and for their children.

The experience changed me as well. It can become easy to take things like shelter, privacy, and security for granted, but I don’t anymore. I saw how hard those women worked to feed their children and move into a new home. It’s made me have a greater appreciation for my work and my ability to help others.