US Pharm. 2010;35(7):1. 

I like to reply to polls. I'm one of those people who votes at every election, completes online surveys, and answers the many research questionnaires that have been sent to me by snail mail over the years. It makes me feel good that my opinion has been counted when these polls are tallied. It also gives me a perspective on how other people are thinking relative to my opinion. There is a poll I check each month on the U.S. Pharmacist Web site ( and PharmQD Web site (, a professional social network exclusively for pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians. Many times I am surprised by the answers people give; but there are also instances when I find the results somewhat predictable.

Take for instance the question posed on PharmQD: “Should all pharmacy technicians be certified before being allowed to work behind a prescription counter?” Even though this poll is still open, it is pretty clear how visitors to the site feel. A whopping 90% voted yes. When we asked a follow-up question on the U.S. Pharmacist site as to whether the pharmacy technician's role should be expanded behind the Rx counter, nearly 40% said, “No, pharmacy technicians are best suited for their current professional roles”; however, another 33% said, “Yes, but any additional responsibilities need a higher degree of certification.” The rest voted yes, but said any additional responsibilities should be regulated by state boards of pharmacy or be carried out under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. While the results so far were not astonishing, they certainly summarized the feelings of the professionals who visit the site about pharmacy technicians' responsibilities.

Then there was the question about the ban on giveaways at pharmacy conferences. More than half (54%) said, “It's ridiculous,” while over a third (35%) answered, “I miss free logo pens!” The results of another poll question surprised me a bit. When poll participants were asked if they thought there should be a federal law legalizing medical marijuana in the United States, there was no clear winner. About one-third (32%) said, “Yes, but only as an Rx to treat specific illnesses”; about one-quarter (26%) said, “No, it will cause more widespread drug abuse”; and 24% said “Yes, but it should be an OTC treated like alcohol and cigarettes”; and 19% said, “Yes, but it should be treated like any other Rx drug.” There was also a split decision on whether respondents supported universal health care. About one-third (33%) said, “Yes, affordable health care should be available to everyone,” while nearly half (48%) said, “No, it would reduce the quality of care for all.” Fewer than 10% said they weren't sure, and another 13% said, “Yes, but only if it doesn't raise taxes.”

However, there was also a clear winner on the question, “Do you think the FDA should regulate compounding by retail pharmacists?” Nearly half of the poll respondents said, “No, it should be regulated by the State Board of Pharmacy, not the FDA”; only 20% said, “No, most pharmacists are adequately trained to compound prescriptions and do not need oversight”; only 11% said they thought the FDA should regulate compounding because “compounding is a form of manufacturing”; another 14% said they thought there should be some oversight by the FDA “because some pharmacists are not properly trained in the art of compounding”; and 6% felt that the FDA should stay out of compounding, “as it is not a big issue because most retail pharmacists don't compound prescriptions anymore.”

Next time you visit the U.S. Pharmacist and PharmQD Web sites, be sure your vote is counted  
by completing the poll. It only takes a few seconds. Your responses are of course completely anonymous, and it's fun.  

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