Most people think that all pharmacists do every day is fill up pill bottles and stand at the counter in pharmacies. But don't ever say that to their face: It's one of the misunderstandings that bother many of The Body's HIV Leadership pharmacist award winners the most.
It's also a complete myth, particularly when it comes to HIV. There are dozens of medications involved in HIV care -- not only the growing crop of antiretrovirals, but the host of pills and capsules used to prevent and treat opportunistic infections, HIV-related illnesses and medication side effects. It's a pharmacist's job to know each and every one of these medications inside-out; to know how they work, what their possible side effects are, and what drugs (or vitamins) they can and can't be taken with. They are the last line of defense between the prescribing physician and the patient.
HIV pharmacists are highly qualified medical professionals; they have Pharm.D. degrees. HIV pharmacists perform myriad duties, depending on where they work and what their own interests are. Anthony Busti, for instance, spends no time preparing or distributing drugs: He is a "clinical" pharmacist, meaning he works at a clinic, as opposed to a pharmacy. At his Dallas clinic, Dr. Busti conducts research and cares directly for patients who participate in clinical trials.
Likewise, Hawaiian HIV specialty pharmacist Fred Cruz does far more than just dole out meds from an exotic location. He also personally calls each of his clients every month to ensure that their health, and their treatment, is doing as well as possible.
All of our award-winning pharmacists are testament to skill and knowledge required to excel in their field. And none of them simply fill pill bottles.