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Pharmacists To Train For Medical Marijuana

It's not just the doctors who have to train for medical marijuana, says Dr. Karl Williams, associate dean of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.

"The reason we're doing this is to provide a community benefit. Pharmacy is a patient-centered profession these days. This is about being able to care for patients adequately."

As New York begins allowing the use of medical marijuana, 80 pharmacists from our area will train for eight hours Saturday. They'll learn the official state process and the diseases the state health department feels medical marijuana can help.

"We want to insure that patients know how to take their medication effectively and how to manage any side effects that might occur, and how to prevent medication errors associated with medical marijuana therapy."

Williams says this training is important since pharmacists focus more and more on patient care today. He and other faculty will discuss legalities, pharmacology, patient safety, error reduction and ethics.

"Well, we do have a full house, so I would say at least there's interest," Williams said.

I think this is consistent with what we do as a school and what St. John Fisher does as a college. It's about providing benefit to the community. Dr. Karl Williams, Associate Dean, Wegmans School of Pharmacy, St. John Fisher College

Getting the medical community prepared for the use of medical marijuana is a big job. Doctors and suppliers need to be state certified. Williams reminds us, don't forget the pharmacists.

"Not only the pharmacists who are going to work at the dispensaries, but also the pharmacists who are caring for patients in their pharmacies. They all need to know how to manage drug interactions, how to education patients, how to counsel patients about safe and effective use of this new medication."

The goal of the training is to help patients get the best use of all their medications.

"It's about getting the training that will enable pharmacists to care adequately for these patients."

Brad Smith won the Cortland County (NY) spelling bee as a seventh grader from Homer High, in a championship broadcast live on local radio. Brad’s been trying to relive the “magnificent” (winning word) moment ever since.
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