Have You Hugged Your Pharmacist Today?

Have You Hugged Your Pharmacist Today?

October is American Pharmacists Month, making it the perfect time for our industry to say “thank you” to pharmacists around the country who work every day to ensure safe, effective medication use.  Please join us in celebrating Tara Wesselmann, RPh, a Pharmacist Supervisor in our Patient Assistance Program pharmacy, and the 32 pharmacists on her team.  Together, they provide services for programs totaling 8,000 prescriptions each day. 

A graduate of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Tara has nearly 15 years of experience in the industry and worked in hospital and long-term care pharmacies before joining Express Scripts in 2008.  We sat down to talk to Tara about her work and the care she and her team provide to patients:

Can you describe your team’s role?

Our pharmacists verify scripts, contact physicians to clarify prescriptions, provide patient counseling, and verify every final product before it leaves our pharmacy.  We talk to every patient who is experiencing a possible adverse event, and we report that information to our manufacturer clients.  We’re a critical link between patients and manufacturers. 

When is your team available to patients?

Someone from our team is available 24 hours a day, every day.  And, we’re available for all types of questions related to a person’s medication.  After typical business hours, we have a pharmacist on call, and we frequently get calls at midnight or during those very early morning hours. 

In addition to education and experience, what qualifications do staff members on your team have?

Our pharmacists need to have excellent phone and interpersonal skills in order to speak with patients and provide counseling and document information.  It’s also important for our team to understand many aspects of specific patient populations, disease states, and types of medication.  Since we are a mail order pharmacy sending prescriptions to patients across the country, our pharmacists need to know requirements for multiple states. 

How have things changed in the industry since you first became a pharmacist? 

A lot of new medications are available, and many more new drug products are being developed.  In addition, since the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act was passed in 2007, we have more requirements for risk management.  That’s probably the biggest change in the industry. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

We’re able to help patients who would not be able to get their medication from other sources.  That’s very rewarding – every day. 

To Tara, her team, and pharmacists around the country, thank you for the important care you provide!