Pharmacists' New Roles
Expanding scope of practice means pushing into territory formerly dominated by physicians

About this project

A California law that went into effect in January 2014 codified a new class of “advanced practice pharmacists” who can enter collaborative agreements with physicians to start, change or discontinue medications, and help manage chronic diseases. These "super pharmacists" are already providing direct care in a number of locations, including a clinic at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield and at a group of low-income clinics in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.


Increased responsibility pays health dividends

Jose Navarro regularly trekked to the drugstore after being diagnosed as a diabetic seven years ago. In a sign of transformation in the local fight against diabetes, the pharmacist is now coming to him.

Prescription for Success: Caring

When pharmacist Steve Chen first saw him, Mike Metcalfe was straight out of a hospital ward following an eight-day diabetic coma. He was 50, homeless, weighed 300 pounds, and his doctor had given up on him.

For diabetics, the best doctor may be a pharmacist

Elba Santos, 63, rolled up her black trousers so Ryan Gates could examine her shins and feet. Gates touched a beet red area, asking if it hurt. Santos winced and nodded. “Even just from breathing, the pain hurts down here,” she said.


In the program's first 11 months, pharmacists corrected 19,696 medication problems among 1,993 patients, an astonishing nine medications per patient.


Laurie Udesky

Project Partners

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