Benefits of Unit-Dose Medication

Maher Ishak, owner and manager of Woodbury Pharmacy in Highland Mills, New York, has worked extensively with hospital practitioners over the course of his career. Maher Ishak has also spent several years as a hospital pharmacist, where he developed an in-depth familiarity with unit dosing.

Common in hospital pharmacies, the unit-dose system divides medication into containers that each contain a single patient dose. This type of dosing is particularly important for those medications that present particularly serious problems if a patient receives even slightly too much or too little. Instead of placing this responsibility in the hands of individual medical personnel, the pharmacist precisely measures, contains, and labels the dose.

This system has found the most success in the hospital setting, where a drug tends to pass through more hands before reaching the patient. Since stricter labeling requirements were instituted by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004, however, the overall use of unit-dose packaging in pharmaceutical environments has increased, and studies have shown pharmacists prepare these orders more efficiently. That said, unit-dose packaging does tend to lead to a higher cost for patients, due to the increased demand on manufacturers, so its adoption by the industry has been gradual.


A Pharmacist’s Role in Medication Compliance

As owner and operator of Woodbury Pharmacy in Highland Mills, New York, Maher Ishak devotes himself to patient safety. Because of Maher Ishak’s dedication to patient health and education, readers of the local Straus News have named Woodbury Pharmacy the top business of its kind in the area two years in succession.

The pharmacist plays a key role in helping patients take their medication effectively and safely.
Statistics show that misinformation accounts for approximately 55 percent of cases in which patients improperly take medications. Many patients do not understand what the medication is intended for, while others are unable to recognize symptoms of side effects from medication.

To help a patient develop this understanding, a pharmacist must know what questions to ask and how to make patients feel comfortable enough to ask their own questions. Pharmacists can begin by establishing a trusting relationship and encouraging patients to talk about how they feel on their medications. Pharmacists should also encourage patients to tell them about any other medications or supplements they are taking, which will allow the pharmacist to identify potential interactions.

Prescription Drug Costs Under Obamacare

Woodbury Pharmacy’s owner and operator since 1995, Maher Ishak oversees both the front-end and administrative aspects of Woodbury Pharmacy. As part of his duties, Maher Ishak fills prescriptions for patients with a wide variety of insurance plans.

Under the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, approved health insurance plans must include a prescription drug coverage element. This stands in contrast to the state of coverage prior to ACA implementation, when almost 20 percent of individually purchased plans did not include drug coverage. However, according to one study, the increase in overall coverage does correlate with an overall increase in drug costs for those with government-sponsored health plans.

According to a study by HealthPocket, patients with Obamacare plans currently pay more for both preferred brand and specialty drugs under the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum level plans than they did before the ACA. Co-payments for generic drugs have also increased under the two lower-level plans, although all four levels of plan require a higher out-of-pocket payout for these medications. Covered medications vary by state, so patients should consult with their pharmacist or health insurance company to discuss what drugs are currently available to patients with a particular plan type.

Seeking Pharmacists’ Counsel

Maher Ishak has served the public as a pharmacist for more than 25 years. Currently the owner and manager of Woodbury Pharmacy in Highland Mills, New York, Maher Ishak has received numerous letters of thanks for his high level of patient service.

When starting a new medication, all patients should understand how, when, and why to take it. A major component of a pharmacist’s job is providing the answers to these questions, but patients must take the initiative to ask. Patients need to understand how often to take the medication, how long to take it, whether to take it with food, and if it is best to take it during a particular time of day. Patients should also ask what effect the medication is expected to have on the body, and what symptoms or conditions the patient should expect it to alleviate.

Patients should follow up on this question by asking if there are any potential side effects or interactions. A patient can help the pharmacist give the most helpful guidance by sharing the names of any and all other drugs, supplements, and vitamins he or she is taking. Patients can also ask if the medication can exacerbate any allergies and if they should avoid any particular food or drink while taking it.

Maher Ishak on the Pharmacist Licensing Requirements in New York State

Drawing on 20 years of pharmaceutical experience, Maher Ishak owns and manages the Woodbury Pharmacy in New York. Maher Ishak obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy in Cairo, Egypt, and managed two pharmacies in Egypt before immigrating to the United States.

Candidates for licensure as a pharmacists must have reached the age of 21, be of good character, and meet all the requirements for higher education, examination success, and amount of work experience. The educational criterion requires that candidates obtain at least a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from an educational institution that has accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Proof of study completion includes a degree certificate with a conferral date as well as an academic transcript.

Alternatively, programs with accreditation from the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs are accepted. Foreign qualifications that meet the entry standards for the pharmaceutical profession by a recognized local civil authority may also be accepted, in conjunction with other official certification requirements. The pharmacist licensing examination is divided into three parts, and a pass result in all sections is compulsory for licensure. Applicants then obtain a limited permit for practice of pharmacology under supervision. The entire process, including the licensure fee and limited intern permit fee, costs applications under $500.

Maher Ishak of Woodbury Pharmacy: Licensing Requirements for Pharmacists

Maher Ishak has owned and operated Highland Mills, New York’s Woodbury Pharmacy for years, earning a reputation for strong customer service along the way. He has also worked on staff as a pharmacist at Good Samaritan Hospital and Grand Union Pharmacy.

In order to become a licensed pharmacist, an individual must fulfill a given state’s licensing requirements. All states require pharmacists to complete accredited doctor of pharmacy programs and pass the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination given by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

But other requirements can vary significantly by state. In New York, for instance, a pharmacist must also pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination and complete a six-month internship. Foreign pharmacists must also earn a Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee Certification, which requires passing a pharmacy exam and a test of English language skills. Other states require additional or other exams and different amounts of pharmacy training.

Maher Ishak: Saint Pachomius

An active member of the Virgin Mary and Saint Pachomius Coptic Orthodox Church, Maher Ishak is the owner of the Woodbury Pharmacy in Highland Mills, New York.

The Coptic Orthodox Christian Church in Stony Point, New York is named for the Virgin Mary and Saint Pachomius, who is one of the church’s earliest saints and the founder of Christian cenobitic (communal) monasticism. He first encountered Christianity while a Roman soldier in Esna, Egypt, in the early fourth century AD. Impressed with their kindness and love, he determined to learn more about their faith when he left the army.

He was baptized a Christian in 314 AD and became a follower of Palamon, a Christian hermit, for many years, before deciding to become a hermit himself. Before he could do so, though, he heard a voice that told him to build a dwelling for the hermits. He built his first monastery in Tabbenisi, Egypt, and, guided by a vision of an angel, created a monastic organization where monks would live together under the leadership of an abbot (or abbess, in the case of female monastics). This was a significant departure from the eremitic, or solitary lifestyle, practiced by the hermits, but it proved to be very popular among the Christian hermits. Thereafter, they lived communal lives, eating and working together for the common good, but dwelling in solitude, each in his own cell.

Pachomius founded eight more monasteries, and established in them the tradition of serving their surrounding communities in different ways. Some taught the people, others provided medical attention, and others helped farm the land.

Pachomius’s life has been a strong inspiration to countless generations of Christians. He transformed his life, from involvement in the military to Christian sainthood, because of his love of the Christians he had met in Esna. The rest of his life was a reflection of that love and formed the foundation for the great Christian monastic tradition that has since spread around the known world. Pachomius is one of the few saints venerated by Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Catholicism as well as some Protestant traditions.