For more than 30 years Gallup has conducted an annual survey gauging Americans’ level of trust, or distrust, of various professions. This week the 2009 results were announced and, if you’re a pharmacist, take a bow.
Pharmacists ranked 2nd out of 22 professions featured in the survey. About two out of every three respondents (66%) rated pharmacists “very high” or “high” when asked about their honesty and ethical standards. Only nurses scored higher. At the lower end of the spectrum were politicians and car salesmen.
The public’s high regard for pharmacists is a longstanding trend. The poll found pharmacists to be the second most trusted profession four out of the past five years (finishing third in 2007). Since 1995, pharmacists have scored between 64% and 72% in this survey. It’s a point former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist also touched on at NCPA’s recent annual convention.
Health care professionals continued to score well overall. Physicians joined pharmacists and nurses in the top three most trusted professions. Conversely, “HMO managers” ranked next to last.
For a look behind the numbers, check out this article in today’s Winston-Salem Journal. The paper profiles three area independent pharmacies and the sterling patient service and niche services they provide to stand out from the competition. The story recounts the work of Foster Drug in Mocksville, NC; truly live-saving efforts that resulted in the pharmacy’s recognition by Drug Topics as one of its “Top Independent Pharmacists.” Marley Drug and Jonestown Pharmacy of Winston-Salem are also featured, among others.
Millions more Americans could soon gain a new appreciation for community pharmacies. Today the Department of Defense changed its policy to cover some common pharmacist-administered immunizations for its TRICARE beneficiaries. Previously, they had to visit doctors’ offices or hospitals to get vaccinated against H1N1, seasonal flu or pneumonia. Now, all 9.5 million TRICARE eligible patients can get vaccinated against these diseases at local community pharmacies with a co-payment that can’t be beat: $0. Yet taxpayers and the Pentagon should still save money.
Department officials tell us this should be fully implemented later this month. NCPA long supported this concept and you can read our statement here.