Pharmacist turns away from prescription drugs
Win Liggett / Contributing Writer
Eddie McJunkin, a retired pharmacist of 38 years, went from pushing pills to taking himself off most of his prescription medications.
Back in 1980, McJunkin graduated from Samford University with a Pharmacy degree and a dream of helping people by being a competent and informative medical provider.
When McJunkin started his pharmacy career, things in the medical world were very different and doctors were prescribing medications a lot less frequently than they are today.
“The prevalence of polypharmacy (use of ≥5 prescription drugs) increased from an estimated 8.2% in 1999–2000 to 15% in 2011–2012,” a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association stated.
This change in prescription writing frequency has made a distinct impression on McJunkin’s thought process about drug necessity.
“Pharmacists used to take their time to really understand their patients’ medical needs so that they could administer the best care possible,” McJunkin said.
However, with the increase of medication prescriptions written by doctors and filled by pharmacists, time has become a rare commodity. As a result, pharmacists are expected to work significantly more hours today than in the past.
Pharmacists today face much more stress than in the past due to not only the increase in prescription fulfillment but also in the administrative aspect of insurance information.
“I began to lose sight of why I had become a pharmacist in the first place,” said McJunkin
McJunkin was not the only pharmacist feeling this pressure and noted that a lot of his colleagues and other health care providers were choosing to leave their profession.
According to the “Association of American Medical Colleges,” this is causing a “projected shortage of 42,600 to 121,300 physicians by 2030, up from its 2017 projected shortage of 40,800 to 104,900 doctors.”
McJunkin was not the only one starting to see these major changes in the medical industry and the increase in prescription medications being prescribed. He and others started to find other ways to heal illness outside of prescription medication.
Doctor Ray Knorr of “Friends and Family Health Centers” in Birmingham, Alabama talks about how society views health issues needing prescription drugs immediately.
“Our society tends to view any deviation from a steady state of health as a situation that requires immediate intervention through the over-prescription of drugs,” Knorr said
McJunkin began to realize that prescription drugs may not be a quick answer to everything. In 2005, McJunkin was severely injured in a vehicle accident. During his recovery, he found many of the medications prescribed for him to be inadequate and had too many side effects. This led McJunkin to search for alternative healing methods.
With the help of Dr. Sultan Head, the Medical Director at “Vitalogy Wellness Center” in Birmingham, Alabama, McJunkin was able to come off most of his medications, including his blood pressure prescription. He also began to lose weight and have an increased sense of enjoyment in life with less pain.
Questions are being raised as to whether prescription medication is the only answer for many health issues.
With the increase in written prescriptions and the changes in the medical field, McJunkin has made major changes in how he addresses his health issues. He now has an increased sense of enjoyment in life without using the prescription medications he spent 38 years helping to fulfill.