Doctors' offices are filled with patients coming in for follow-up visits for prescription refills. Some patients say this is a big hassle and adds costs for additional doctor visits. The American Pharmacy Association feels they have a way to help out, allow pharmacists in the U.S. to prescribe medication just like doctors.
Riley's pharmacist Kathy Moore has been in the business for over 20 years. She says if doctors would work with her, it would be beneficial for all parties or her to prescribe medications.
"Say they came to the drug store on a weekend and they had no refills, it would be nice to be able to give them one more until they get to the doctor say that next week or so," said Moore.
The pharmacists' argument is doctors study symptoms and diagnose a medical problem while pharmacists study medicine to treat that diagnosis. Therefore, many pharmacists believe they should also be able to prescribe medicine.
Right now a bill is being presented to South Carolina legislators that would allow pharmacists that right to prescriber status.
Many patients say they are hoping that bill passes because it will save them a lot of trouble. Shelby Wolfe says she wastes her time, gas and money to see the same doctor over and over to prescribe her the same medication.
"It would just be a lot easier if I could just go to the pharmacy and they would already be able to write it there," said Wolfe.
Many doctors don't agree. Medical student Kyle Bedenbaugh says this wouldn't be what's best for the patient.
"Pharmacists don't have the same level of training as physicians," said Bedenbaugh.
Bedenbaugh was a pharmacy student before deciding to become a doctor. He says the resident training between doctors and pharmacists is very different. Bedenbaugh says doctors go to school at least two years longer than pharmacists. He says that's why pharmacists should not be allowed to practice medicine on their own.
"I think it would benefit you know everybody if maybe they did it in a team based approach and not independently," said Bedenbaugh.
Bedenbaugh says he recognizes that pharmacists are the experts when it comes to medicine, but when it comes to diagnosing a patient they wouldn't be the best for the job. He says if pharmacists do get prescriber status they would have to work with doctors on the diagnosis for it to be effective. Moore says she agrees.
"I think the team based approach is a very good one. It would have to work out that way. It would have to be collaborative," said Moore.
The bill asks for more than a collaborative effort. It asks that pharmacists have the right to independently diagnose and prescribe medication for patients. So far, four congressmen and four U.S. Senators have introduced the pharmacist provider status legislation.