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So one thing I have come to realize in my short time so far in pharmacy is that as a whole, we are terrible marketers. Now I am not saying that I am any better, but at least I think I am aware enough to realize it may be a problem. There has been quite a few times when co-workers have told me “That is a great ideal, but this is the real world” or “You need to consider that patients don’t expect that from you” and a whole set of variants on that theme.

A true marketer would never just accept clients’ expectations and give up on a product/service. Their whole job is to create a strategy with which to change clients’ expectations so they desire that product/service.

We need to learn from them as a profession. No one is just going to accept that we know how to manage chronic diseases. No one is just going to accept that we can help patients quit using tobacco, or educate them fully on their medications, or properly manage the progress of treatment. So we have two choices: (1) Give up, (2) Attempt to change expectations so that patients believe and desire us to fulfill those roles.

How best can we market our services beyond our product dispensing functions?

I think we need to get pharmacists more active in community events, senior centers, etc to get the word out of new services we are creating. We need to find physician champions to show the public that we work WITH the rest of the medical team. We need our professional organizations to undertake more aggressive mass media campaigns such as  nursing has done. We need the large corporate players in the pharmacy market to begin to place value on knowledge-based pharmacy services. And lastly, we need all of our pharmacy providers to start seeing themselves as health-care providers rather than subservient to the rest of the medical team.

How do you think we can best market our profession and change patient expectations?

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