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Commentary

The Pharmacists Role During COVID-19: Limited Exposure in the National Media


July 01, 2020

cawleyRecently, I was curious on what type of news coverage pharmacists were making during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a pharmacist for over 20 years, I am sorry to say we have done a very poor job as a profession advertising our value to society. Yes, we publish our papers, present our posters and tell everyone how valuable we are, but still we struggle to be recognized as a health care profession. Although we consider ourselves valuable, we fail to convince others of this value.

I decided to simply Google “pharmacists role during COVID 19,” and I identified more than 166,000,000 results. I decided to begin cruising through the results to determine where this information was published. My goal was to look for highly circulated national news agencies or traditionally large circulating national platforms that would recognize pharmacists’ value. I only viewed the first 10 pages since most of the time I would lose interest in viewing pages beyond this number.

As I suspected, the majority of the websites were either pharmacy focused organizations, pharmacy publications, or very obscure websites with limited impact on the general population. However, I did find three news sources including NPR (over 50 million weekly audience members), Forbes (71 million visitors to its website), and Business Wire (100,000 media outlets) in the list of 99 possible sites on stories involving pharmacist’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic. 1-3    

Based upon this very unscientific observation, I am concerned that our value is not being recognized and advertised at the level that would demonstrate value of our profession. I believe pharmacists should begin the process of targeting large news agencies and websites with stories demonstrating our value. Although I applaud our profession in promoting our profession to each other, it is time to step out into the areas where it really counts. Media drives change, and it is time we shift some of our attention to these media outlets if we want our value to be recognized.  

Michael J. Cawley, PharmD, RRT, CPFT, FCCM, has more than 25 years of experience practicing in the areas of medical, surgical, trauma, and burn intensive care as both a critical care clinical pharmacist and registered respiratory therapist.

References:

  1. NPR. A Look at the COVID 19 Crises from a Pharmacists Perspective. https://www.npr.org/2020/03/21/819439661/a-look-at-the-covid-19-crisis-from-a-pharmacists-perspective. Accessed June 19, 2020.
  2. Forbes. Rite Aid: Pharmacists Role will Expand Amid Coronavirus Outbreak. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2020/03/16/amid-coronavirus-rite-aids-ceo-says-pharmacists-on-frontlines/#7ffe37bd15cb. Accessed June 16, 2020.
  3. Businesswire. Press release distribution. https://services.businesswire.com/public-relations-services/press-release-distribution. Accessed June 19, 2020.

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