The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Dumb Pet peeve of the day

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:33 pm on Friday, August 14, 2009

It doesnt’ take much to develop a list of pet peeves in a pharmacy. In fact one of the drug rags that are delivered to the pharmacy  has a pet peeve feature every few months. After a while they have gotten so specific that I can hardly relate to them anymore.

Today however I found one that just ticks me off a bit…so I figured what the hell, I’ll write about it.

BOTTLES.  We recently went thru yet another group of manufacturer contract changes so we are getting stuff we haven’t seen before.  Aside from the fact that I take comfort in familiarity, I hate telling people that their med has changed YET again.  One of these changes is metformin.  We used to get a nice squarish bottle I could grab with one hand.  Now we have Teva as our preferred. Its a round bottle with a 15 inch circumference.  Its like grabbing a basketball with one hand….which obviously I cannot do.  It takes two hands to pour tablets into the counting tray.  Is it too much to ask for a stupid bottle a normal human can hold with one hand?

Then we have the reverse: the microbottle.  These claim to be unit-of-use.  the only “unit-of-use” feature these actually incorporate it that they have 30 tabs in them.  We used to have Greenstone sertraline….which everybody knows is Zoloft tabs in a generic bottle.  (an aside…these are my favorite generics..same tabs). They have the perfect bottle for labeling.  Fit perfectly.  We now get Northstar, which MAY hold a label the size of a postage stamp.  In other words, its a completely useless bottle.

I’ll give Merck one kudos, at least we can put a pharmacy label on all their bottles without scrunching, folding or manipulation.

Now about the rest of you…….


Comment by Mallory

August 15, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

Heh… my pharmacy switched generics for one of the medications I take. It comes in those pop-out blisters with the foil on top… the new variety has very, very sharp foil. I cut my fingers several times a week. 🙁
Thats right Mal, I suppose you are getting unit dose all the time in the UK. we still dispense from a bottle.

Comment by Frantic Pharmacist

August 15, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

Yes, sometimes you feel as if you need a forklift to count out those 270 Metformin. I also dislike those bottles with the narrow, narrow neck and the big dessicator (lookin’ at you, Aciphex) as well as the items that no label would ever fit on — I feel like we’re doing origami with the scissors…Man I cannot believe I didn’t include THAT. I hate those stupid things. Synthroid is another one you shake and shake and never get the friggin tablets out..Why do we need an opening so narrow the tabs had to come out single file???

Comment by AshleyM.

August 15, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

how about our original preferred manufacturer for Metformin was Teva…things were great, the robot was great…but then Teva decided to change the size of the pills, and now we have to wait weeks while the robot people reconfigure to the NEW Teva metformin.

Total pain. And you’re not kidding, those bottles are squatty-pains in the ass!

Comment by bluetowelboy

August 16, 2009 @ 7:37 am

Our company warehouse changes the generics on us almost weekly. It has gotten to the point where I have lost more than a couple of patients because they don’t want the med to change every month. Plus where did all of the good generic companies go (Mylan, Barr, etc.) now I get stuff from “DR. Calico Cat” drug company it makes me a little leery.
Everybody is buying Cheap India drugs..thats whats happening.. trust me, someday there is gonna be hell to pay for that when there is either a giant recall or contamination or something goes bad. I just dont trust the quality control of off-shore companies.

Comment by Cody

August 16, 2009 @ 10:29 am

I do like the Merck bottles, but our pharmacists prefer us leaving the NDC visible so they can see it when they make the final check. However, I’ve heard patients ask us if we use the stock bottles and not our orange bottles, to leave the drug name visible so they can see which medicine is which. If you recall Merck labeling, they have the drug name, and a couple CM to the right, the NDC. It’s impossible to not fold the label a little to have both the drug name and the NDC showing. Blah.

Comment by PharmacyJim

August 16, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

Unfortunately, it’s all about $$$$$’s. This is nothing personal against the pharmacists who work there, but welcome to the “Walmarting” of the world, including pharmacy.

Comment by Anonymous Pharmacist

August 16, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

More… like the minuscule lot number and expiration date on unit-dose tablets, magnifying glass stuff and we have to record it on the script, like trying to see in when in a hurry, especially for the old folks with the tri-focals. Or, the company that packages their thirty day supplies in unit of use blue plastic boxes, and cover the tablets with plastic and think metal so tough that cannot open the dose without smashing the tablet, or something. LIke who are the jokers that come up with that packaging anyway? Some low-paying chemist that produces low-grade plastics?

Comment by chris

August 17, 2009 @ 5:22 am

My biggest one with regard labelling is eye drops bottles, this piddling little things with all the product information that you have to avoid covering up. I think the worst is xalatan eye drops, not only is it a tiny mishapen bottle, but its also a fridge line, so the labels dont stick to it at the best of times.

We recently switched label manufacturers as well, great that they stick better than the old ones, but if you have a RTS or a near miss error, you have to take the top layer of laminate off the box just to remove the label, its that sticky.

Comment by Dr. Grumpy

August 17, 2009 @ 5:44 am

Novartis gives me these sample bottles for Comtan and Stalevo that are damn near impossible to open, especially for a Parkinson’s patient.

If they send similar stock bottles to you, I sympathize.

Comment by Karen H

August 17, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

I SO agree with you! Lipitor is another ‘favorite’, that single file release of pills or jammed up with the dessicant… like we don’t have enough to irritate and drive us crazy!!!

Comment by rxkerber

August 17, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

speaking of oragami…what about the ssd cream 50g jar. I can’t get a label on there to save my life. I end up putting it in a baggie and sticking the label on the baggie. At least we have small stickers on our labels we can stick on the jar, but it doesn’t have complete information. At least the sig will be on the jar.

Comment by Shalom (R.Ph)

August 18, 2009 @ 11:46 am

RxKerber: I was just thinking about the SSD. As it happens, all the important stuff (pharmacy info, date, RX number, sig etc.) is on the top half of our labels; the bottom half is only the drug name, use-by date, manufacturer, quantity, and number of refills. The first four of those five items are already printed on the jar by the manufacturer, so I just snip off the bottom half of our label and stick it on the jar such that I leave those data visible. If there are any refills (unusual on SSD) I can pencil them in.

While on the topic of moronic packaging, anybody remember the original packaging for Glucophage? You had to break off a tab, peel off a strip, twist the lid so the arrows lined up, and break your fingernails trying to pry off the lid. It’s almost like they couldn’t decide which childproofing feature they wanted, so they used all of them together. Those darn things were adult-proof. I used to keep a long nose pliers on the counter to deal with them, and I’ve seen techs smash the bottle on the edge of the counter like they were opening a can of Krylon. I heard that the FDA got so many complaints about those that they made the company change it.

You already mentioned the UOU packaging in tiny bottles that you couldn’t put a postage stamp on, let alone a label… what about the other extreme. Why do they put child proof lids on a stock bottle that has 1000 tablets in it? I don’t see any little kids working back here.

Regarding eye drops, I usually leave them in the box they came in and label that. With Xalatan, which comes in a 3-pak, I’ll stick it in a vial and label the vial. Yes, NY State Law states the label must be on the “immediate container”, but we were told unofficially that if you dispense it in a vial with a small sticker with the Rx number on the actual dropper, it’s good enough.

Oh, you know what those narrow neck bottles are good for? Blow across the opening, they make a nice tone. I always wanted to get 15 or 20 of those, tune them by filling them with wax to different levels, and make a Pan flute…

Comment by Shalom (R.Ph)

August 18, 2009 @ 11:56 am

I just noticed someone else who had a problem with the way things were packaged; he complained at Merck, and they changed it.

Comment by t3

August 27, 2009 @ 10:56 am

This is all why I get on the other tech’s cases to not label stock bottles if at all possible. It makes RTS easier and ensures the pharmacist can see everything they need to see.

I also don’t like labeling stock bottles because I’ve had two or three recalls due to something funky in the bottle, miscounts from the manufac, or techs not checking to make sure the bottle hasn’t been used and is just an unmarked open bottle.

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