National Check Your Meds Day, observed every October 21 and sponsored by the National Community Pharmacists Association, prompts consumers to bring their prescriptions to their local pharmacists for review. Pharmacists can remove any prescriptions that have expired, update prescriptions as necessary, and answer consumer questions. If nothing else, it’s a rare chance for consumers to get free medical advice.
History of National Check Your Meds Day
There has always been a distinction between those who directly work with ill patients and those who create pharmaceutical remedies. Pharmacists originally went by the title apothecaries, and are even found in Greek Mythology where Asclepius, who was the god of healing, gave Hygieia the duty to compound his remedies. In ancient Egypt, the medical profession was split into two classes: the ones who visited the sick and the ones who prepared antidotes. In 1683, the city council of Bruges made it illegal for physicians to both visit and prepare medications for their patients. Later on, in the new country of America, Benjamin Franklin assigned an apothecary to the Pennsylvania Hospital, furthering the distinction between the two specializations.
The events of World War II led to big pharmaceutical discoveries, such as new and highly effective medications. The role of the pharmacist also changed due to post World War II events, making it so pharmacists were no longer the makers of remedies, but were still knowledgeable in all medicines prescribed to patients. They went from making medicines behind the scenes to consulting patients directly, offering advice, medical directions, and correct dosage instructions. Now pharmacists have a more hands on role than they did traditionally, and though they no longer make antidotes in house, it doesn’t make them any less knowledgable in their craft.
Officially established in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Check Your Meds Day is a day for patients to gain a clearer understanding of exactly what their prescribed medication does, how it affects them, if they’re taking them correctly, and if there’s a more cost-effective alternative to what they’re being prescribed.