How Pharmacists Shape Care at Blue Cross

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

Pharmacists do much more than simply dispense medications at the pharmacy counter. They work in health care settings to coordinate care for patients, are employed in various capacities in the pharmaceutical industry and can also be found fulfilling important functions in prisons, primary care organizations, universities, and the military, among other places. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we employ a highly-skilled team of pharmacists who work together to ensure our members have access to safe, high-quality prescription medications. They also evaluate the efficacy of emerging therapies and develop strategies to combat rising drug prices. In honor of National Pharmacist Day, observed annually on January 12, we wanted to introduce our members to some of the hard-working pharmacists on the BCBSM team. Read on to learn more about the important roles they play.
Jake Chaffee
Jacob Chaffee Jacob Chaffee, PharmD “One of the most rewarding aspects of being a pharmacist is all the different roles your training prepares you for. Personally, I enjoy blending my clinical knowledge with business strategy to help ensure Blue Cross members have affordable access to medications and health care. My job at Blue Cross involves monitoring the drug pipeline and clinical trials to keep us up-to-date and ready for new therapies entering the market. It is really exciting to track all the new technology and treatments, especially for certain cancers and rare diseases where no current treatments are available.”
Mindy Prasad Mindy Prasad, PharmD “Health care has been undergoing a dramatic transformation and the role of pharmacists continues to expand. I enjoy the challenge of working to ensure we’re able to provide the safest, most effective and affordable medications to the most members possible. I work with a team to determine the best ways to manage the pharmacy benefit utilization and come up with strategies to make sure the coverage we provide is clinically sound and sustainable. We complete a very detailed review of all the clinical information about every FDA-approved drug, including early stage trials before we determine if we will cover a drug. It’s kind of like fact checking the advertisements for drugs that you see on television. Safety and efficacy always trump cost.”
Alex Lin Alex Lin, PharmD “My grandmother was actually a pharmacist and she had her own pharmacy in the Philippines. I like pharmacy because it’s at the forefront of patients’ health care. My team collaborates with health care providers to ensure members have access to high-quality and cost-effective therapy. Our department does not physically dispense medications, as one would think when hearing the word “pharmacy.” However, our team of clinical pharmacists use current medical literature and guidelines, as well as consider external physician expertise, to ensure pharmacy coverage is provided to members that is high-quality.”
Hiral Patel Hiral Patel, PharmD “I’ve always been a “people person” and what really enticed me to pursue a career in pharmacy was the interaction with the public. As I learned about the pharmacy profession, it was also equally appealing the need for pharmacists in a wide variety of work settings including community practice, hospital practice, managed care organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry. My current role at Blue Cross is a Pharmacy Consulting Specialist. Our team provides proactive clinical recommendations, information regarding pharmacy trends, programs and industry changes to positively impact the health of our customers and members while helping reduce health care costs. Rising drug prices are the top concern for many of our customers. Helping them manage their drug costs while also keeping our members’ health and safety a top priority is our main goal.”
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Photo credit: lionvision

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