Pharmaceutical Dispensing

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Walgreens is a drug-based industry. It is one of the companies offering this kind of services among others like Target and Wal-Mart. The product technology used by companies based in this industry is the prescription technology. This involves using a computer software whose programs contains an expert system in which all health related information and symptoms of various kinds of diseases are contained. This way of prescribing and administering drugs has dominantly been used by these pharmaceutical companies and it has been the backbone for their success.

The technological success of this system involves faster services being offered to many customers and therefore more customers can be served within a small period of time as compared to the normal way of prescription (Epstein, 2004). The normal way requires all patients or customers to line up in a queue so that they can be served one by one by a qualified Doctor or a pharmacist. But using the prescription technology requires only the installation of the expert system into the machines (computers).

Many workstations therefore can be used to serve more customers because it only requires one to input the correct symptoms or the correct consultative information and the expert system processes this information and prints the required prescriptions. These prescriptions are then taken by the patients to the counter where he/she buys the required drugs. This technology has also helped these companies to cover a wider area. Many workstations can be constructed far and wide. These workstations are interconnected by the central server that contains the expert system program.

Therefore more customers can be served even in the remote parts of the country. Computer prescription has also helped those who are too weak to travel to those pharmaceutical companies. This is because one can just go to a nearby workstation where he/she can be prescribed some drugs. The patient can then send anybody to go and buy the required drugs without entirely traveling by himself. This prescription technology has also made these companies reduce the consultation fees as compared to the normal way.

The reduction in the consultation fees is mainly due to the faster way the computer processes the information as compared to the humans. Therefore the low consultation fees has helped many have access to the services offered by these companies. (Wormser, 1998) Technical standards are very important in those industries that have adopted this technology of prescribing using computers. Accurate information is required from the patient. This information should provide the computer with enough diagnostic symptoms in order to accurately provide the correct prescriptions.

Therefore patients should provide enough information because too little information might not be enough for the expert system to correctly identify the disease. Lack of physicians in most of the workstations might affect the outcome of the diagnosis. This is because the physician-patient interaction might be missing which might increase the probability at which the patient will provide false information (Lebhar, p: 2). This might lead to the risk of one being prescribed the wrong medicine, which might increase the risk of the patient interacting with the wrong drug.

These drugs might have adverse harmful effects to the patient. Due to this lack of interaction between the physician and the patient, the patient will lack the usual counseling, which is mainly provided by the doctor and therefore might not be feeling free when giving out information’s. The patient might therefore provide less information that might not be sufficient enough to be used by the expert system in analyzing the prescriptions to be offered. This will make the computer provide the wrong prescriptions. Therefore patients should be advised to provide information freely so that they can get the correct prescription.

Patients who falsify information in order to obtain the drugs they desire should be warned on the repercussions of such ideologies. Prescriptions like this have happen before and it caused Walgreens (one of the companies practicing prescription technology) lots of money in dealing with cases of this nature. Lack of actual information has also cost Walgreens in the recent past. (Haney, William, and Mary, 2000).

Reference:

Haney, Sean P, William, and Mary. ” pharmaceutical Dispensing in the “Wild West”: Advancing Health care and protecting Consumers through the Regulation of Online Pharmacist. ” Law Review. Vol. 42, (2000).

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