F-H helps US pharmacists in public awareness push

WASHINGTON: The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), with the help of Fleishman-Hillard's Washington, DC healthcare practice, has launched a public awareness campaign to educate Americans on the role pharmacists can play in helping them take prescription medications correctly.

WASHINGTON: The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), with the help of Fleishman-Hillard's Washington, DC healthcare practice, has launched a public awareness campaign to educate Americans on the role pharmacists can play in helping them take prescription medications correctly.

Research conducted by the NACDS showed that 50% of people in the US do not take prescriptions correctly, while only 18% recognized pharmacists as being a healthcare resource. "Every year, the US spends so much money on dealing with the consequences of people not taking their medications correctly, said Crystal Wright, VP of media relations for the NACDS.

"Our objective is to make pharmacists relevant figures in people's lives so that they use them as a resource."

On June 13, the organization unveiled the first leg of the Pharmacy Cares campaign, the "Are You RxSmart? quiz on www.rxsmart.org. The quiz is also located on the websites of several well-known drug stores, such as CVS, Eckerd, Walgreens, Duane Reade, and Rite Aid. "Our goal is to reach out to audiences of all ages by making it available on so many sites, said Wright.

Phase two of the campaign will involve posting the quiz on non-health-related media sources. Chris Foster, VP of healthcare for Fleishman, said, "We are looking to expand our reach to consumer trade press and ethnic media outlets."

Syndicated columnist Suzy Cohen will serve as the campaign's national spokesperson. Cohen, whose column about health reaches 14 million readers, has been a practicing pharmacist for 13 years. "We are trying to get this off the ground by going beyond Washington, which is why we have partnered with Suzy, said Wright.

With staffing shortages becoming an increasing problem in the healthcare industry, Foster added, "In further stages of the campaign, we will be looking at how the program can be directed to attract qualified candidates to the pharmacist profession."

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