The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Four man bobsled comment…

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:45 pm on Sunday, February 28, 2010

As  I was watching our beloved US team Night Train wipe up their competition earning the first gold  medal since the 1940’s I laughed out loud when the announcer was commenting on the Swiss team.  They needed a good start…and didn’t get it.  He said.  “The swiss are NAKED without that good start…”  and I commented to no one in particular…”Well,  in THOSE suits, they are naked no matter what kind of start they have!”.

By the way, if you havent’ seen it, Stephen Colbert has a HILARIOUS bit on his bid to become a member of the US Olympic team.  His segment on the 4 man bobsled team (Night Train as it turns out) will have you in stitches. Find it on www.colbertnation.com  . In fact most of his coverage on the Vancouver Olympics is funny.

Congrats Night Train…now please…take off the Spandex.

Me, the Junkie…of Olympic porportions

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:03 am on Saturday, February 27, 2010

Aha, you probably thought you would hear about some weird drug addiction that the Chick has… sorry to break your bubble but the only drug addiction the chick has is Coca Cola. Fully sugared and caffeinated please.  (Sorry Dr Grumpy,  Diet Coke is just NASTY you can have all you want). 

I am an Olympic Junkie.  Dark circles under the eyes from watching hours of Curling to Slalom.  It doesnt’ matter what the heck it is, if its an Olympic winter sport, I am glued to the TV.  It could be the Olympic Asphalt Butt Scrape contest,  if there were medals involved I’ll be all over it. My DirecTV memory is almost full from events I haven’t had a chance to watch yet.   Summer games can bite it, but the Winter games? Give me the remote and step away from the TV.

In two days I’ll have a bad case of Olympic Withdrawal too. I’m in love with Apollo Anton Ono. (ok, he’s young enough to be my son, humor me ok?) I couldn’t WALK down a ski slope let alone fly off a mountain but I dream of ski jumpers…er JUMPING… heh heh.  And I am hooked on biathalon.  Mr Chick and I are shouting at a recorded event!  “OMG,  SVEN MISSED HIS TARGET!!!”

Yup, if the IOC ever needs an offical Olympic Pharmacist, I am your girl.

So, where is Sochi Russia?

Automatic refill-Automatic headache

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:39 am on Saturday, February 27, 2010

It seems everybody has jumped on the Automatic refill bandwagon.  Who hasn’t seen the “Save time, have all your prescriptions filled automatically!”?  Pharmacy chick Pharmacy is no exception, we too have launched this so-called service to our customers and while it may be a value added service to a core group of people, it is just one more thing to confuse and confund our customers and waste even more precious labor in the pharmacy.

Lets start from the beginning: explaining this concept to the patient.  We have a lovely hand out to explain this relatively simple concept.  If X has prescriptions he regularily fills,  we can do it for him automatically and he will be notified when they are ready. Simple huh?  Not.so.much.   Since we are have been asked (no, HOUNDED) by our corporate people to ask every single person to sign up, we nearly need a full time person to spend all day explaining over and over how this simple thing works.  This clogs up the checkstand when a customer wants to ask more questions which  requires taking the person aside to answer questions and taking another person from the work line to start checking.

Who gets it? Who doesn’t?  Not everybody can have it and just with about everything else in life, those who do not qualify seem to want it and those who seem to benefit the most want nothing to do with it, and after 4 months of asking are getting sick of being hustled about it. And, because every drug on their prolfile may not qualify for automatic refill ( but I fill my SOMA every month???) the customer still has to keep track of THOSE drugs.

Compliance:  This service was touted (to us anyway) as a compliance tool.  Um,  I think not.  Automatic refills does not a compliant person make. In fact what it has done is bring into focus the blatant noncompliance of the general public.  And while I cannot condone non-compliance or (reduced compliance), its truly not my problem. Its the proverbial bring-a-horse-to-water-but-can’t-make-him-drink senario.  This program is about MARKETING, nothing more and don’t even try to convince me otherwise.  What we can’t seem to do is guarantee the patient will PICK UP the completed prescription which leads us to the next point.

Return to stock:  A direct relation to the compliance issue, we get calls every  single day (no exaggeration) telling us “I got a call about my automatic refill…I dont need it yet! put it back”.  According to the schedule, a compliant patient would have 2 pills left in the bottle. If X has 15, he has surely missed doses.  But Mr X is not coming in so back it goes….along with a dozen more each day of prescriptions left on the shelf for more than 14 days.  More labor wasted.  Since we started auto refilling rx’s our RTS’s (return to stocks) have skyrocketed.

Our system is not the brain trust of all computer systems either.  We have to override the enrollment process for prescriptions IT THINKS should be autofilled.  If a patient is considered “autofilled” then brings in 4 prescriptions from a dentist for Peridex, Ibuprofen, Vicodin and Clindamycin, both the ibuprofen and the Peridex will get flagged for autofilling, unless we stop the process and take them out.  They aren’t all getting caught and I find them in the que quite often.

Variable prescriptions: Inhalers, insulin, creams and eye drops.  Yes, these can be autofilled, but assigning a schedule for these had been a nightmare. Even if I ask “how often do you want these to be filled”, its still wrong.  Tis either too soon or too late.  And Birth control prescriptions that are taken Active-tablet-only? fuggetaboutit. Our computer hates those and no matter what we do, it schedules them too late.

Staggered dates. People who are organized tend to order most of their meds on the same date. Its easier for them and makes perfect sense. And I think thats a great idea.  BUT this happens all to often: Auto order- X orders 5 prescriptions Feb 26 , 2 of which need a Dr auth, which comes in Feb 28.  His first 3 are filled on the 26th and they are on the shelf. They get scheduled to be done March 24 of next month. The other two which are done on the 28th get scheduled for March 26 of next month.  March 24 comes and X gets a call that he has prescriptions filled to pick up. He comes in and 3 are done. “but I get 5 each month… he says”.  Thats because 2 aren’t scheduled to be done for 2 more days, and he has to either wait for us to do them or come back for a second trip.  The phrase ” I seem to be here almost every day” AND ” I have no idea what I have here, but I got a call”  seems to be rather prevalent since we started Auto Filling prescriptions.

But I want it sooner!  We have spent more than 15 years at Chick Pharmacy training people to call in their refills early enough so if we need to contact the dr, we have time to do it.  Mr Automatic Refill is an idiot and regarless of the prescription, schedule it 2 days before the patient is to be out….whether it has 10 refills or 0 refills.  Good judgment is out the window as well, for calling for a prescription with a no-refill status on a Saturday is not smart, but Mr Automatic Refill doesnt care.  If its discombobulated math figures it for Saturday, then saturday it is.  The flip side of this grotesque coin is the people who have been trained to call early.  They start calling us 4-5 days before the automatic refill kicks in wondering ” do I have anything on the shelf? I am getting low”…better yet, they ORDER IT, we fill it and it defeats the system.

I honestly wonder why insurance companies even allow it. We are filling a prescription that hasn’t been technically ordered. I dunno, go figure that one out Giant PBM.

And lastly, the blame game. I heard this one yesterday. “I signed up for your autorefill service. I am out and YOUR SYSTEM didn’t autorefill my prescription….gripe gripe gripe gripe and now I have to wait for you to fill it”. I checked the computer. He filled it December 24….for a 60 days supply. Simple math would tell me it should have scheduled him on or around Feb 24.  Mr Auto Refill scheduled him March 13.   I didn’t have an answer.  But apparently I needed an apology.

Why I need hair implants.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:16 pm on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Customer staring me down at the pharmacy counter: “What do you recommend for this cold? I have a bad cough and all this (expletive) in my lungs.”  Not being horribly busy at the time I decide to play very-concerned-and-dedicated-to-your-health-pharmacist and go see what he needs.  Since it appears he wants to hack up his lungs AT my feet (clean up , aisle 5!)  I keep a polite distance and secretly wish that a Hazmat suit was part of my uniform…or at least the headwear was.

I ask him the usual questions and ascertain that what he really needs is an expectorant and cough suppressant. And in this blog I prefer to avoid endorsements, so lets just say I recommended Gunk-away DM as the perfect med for his symptoms.  He was at the tail end of this cold and he needed no deongestants, antihistamines, pain relievers, etc.   I told him to drink a lot of fluids, it won’t keep him awake (OR put him to sleep), and lookie, its even on sale!  He had just enough questions to be annoying.  (this isn’t rocket science dude. you are 50 years old, this cannot POSSIBLY be your first cold!). Finally I escaped back into the pharmacy and let him ponder all I told him.

A few minutes later he was at the cash register with a box of Tylenol PM.  “Um, did you want the Gunk-Away?” I asked him.  He just snorfled a bit and said “Nah, this always works”.  (resist the urge to tear hair out…or tear HIS out)

And so dear readers, If you ever wonder why your pharmacist doesn’t seem overly interested in your cold, your hemorrhoids or the rash on your elbow…think of this man and realize this sort of thing happens All..the…time..

Sneaky little maneuvers.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:48 pm on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This is a completely non pharmacy post today. Occasionally I need to spout off on something and today’s subject is “sneaky little maneuvers”.  We are all getting used to getting less for more in today’s economy I suppose.  We pay a fortune for everything it seems. We open packages and find 60% air in the box. Package sizes are getting sneakingly smaller and smaller,and yet the prices are either slithering upwards or staying the same..with net effect STILL being ….getting less product for more money. 

Ok I suppose I can put ONE reference to pharmacy in this post with the advent of 90 count packages that USED to be 100 count packages and are priced EXACTLY the same.  They haughtily call these “unit of use” packages and tout the “ease” of using them.  Ok. sure buddy.

But back to my own observations.  Being a woman (duh) I have certain needs that a man wouldn’t ever dream of, namely certain sanitary products.  Never in my marriage have I asked Mr Chick to purchase these items for me for surely it would be a collossally dumb move to ask him to do so.    God knows what he would come home with even if I gave him a photograph and the UPC code!  Over the years I have stayed with the same product even if it becomes a goose chase to find it.  This company has changed its packaging so many times I have lost count.  But what has bothered me the most is the fact they have changed what goes INSIDE the packaging just as much.  Lets start with quantity.  It used to be the standard size for this sanitary product (SP, for short) was 30.  Then it became 27…then 25…and now 22.   They come in multiple absorbency levels and I choose the greater ones.  As the package size changed so did the product heft.  Once I opened them and thought “geez, these seem rather flimsy.”  Being the pharmacist that I am I took one from the old box and a new one and put it on my Torsion Balance (might as well use it for something) and found to my dismay that it weighed a lot less than it used to.  Not only am I getting FEWER number of SP but I also get LESSER absorbency than before.  SUCKS…..but for the same money.

Moving on.

I also buy TP by the truckload.  Call me a product of my parents, but they used to do the same thing.  Of course they had a store room the size of a bedroom for such stuff, but habits die hard.  I just buy as much as the cubby for my TP will hold and I dont have to buy it for a long time.  We also have 2 guest bathrooms and I stuff the under-sink area full of TP for them too.  I recently had to replenish the house with TP and when I pulled out a recent roll, I noticed something unusual.  ( now mind you, I already noticed over the years that the rolls are smaller. A Triple roll now is the same square foot as a “double” roll was a few years ago)  What I noticed THIS time was the roll seemed squatter and shorter.  I went into the guest bath where some older rolls still resided and sure enough these new rolls were a full 1/4 inch shorter in width. 

Now THAT is a sneaky maneuver if there ever was one.  Not only are we getting less sheets per roll but now we get less inches per sheet. I had always believed that TP width was sacrosanct!   A standard.. Fixed and unchangeable!

Ice cream doesnt’ come in half gallon anymore..it comes in 1.75 quarts.  Orange juice containers contain less,  Cereal boxes are the same size but have less IN them.  Canned goods instead of being 12 ounce cans, may have 10.75 ounces.  We are becoming a nation of fractions…airy packaging and fake bottoms in boxes.

OH, I suppose the same could be said for PBM’s.  We have one major player who decided THIS year that they will pay for only a 30 days  supply of meds instead of 34 in 2009….and all for the same copay.

I guess their president went to school with the TP guy.

Trashed, Scripts

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 12:07 pm on Friday, February 19, 2010

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention.  I think ingenuity is the mother of invention.  There are a lot of inventions out there we certainly dont NEED. 

This little gem has just saved me some of my sanity and I’ll share it with all you retailers out there suffering with e-script-itis. 

Duplicate, errant and wasted escripts are the bane of our computer system.  I can’t delete them, and I certainly dont want them on the patients profile…so what to do with them. 

heh heh…..

Say hello to Trashed, Scripts.    Date of birth 1-1-2001.  Allergic to nothing,  has no insurance. Never picks up his/her rx. Every one is deactivated.

What I did was  make a patient named Trashed, Scripts.  when I get an escript that I dont want, is wrong, has been cancelled by dr, or is a duplicate, I put it under the imaginary patient name Trashed Scripts.  You can call him/her anybody you want.  Once I have uploaded the escript to Trashed Scripts, then I deactivate it, explain why, print the screen and file it with the hard copies.

That way there isn’t scripts in the patient file that should never be there.  Trashed Scripts is my new favorite customer.

Probably will not be displayed on Pharmacy Chick’s counter..

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:29 pm on Thursday, February 18, 2010

As I was leafing thru Chain Drug Review (why I cannot imagine, I never read it) I noticed it an ad for a new male enhancement product. 

HARD KNIGHT.  Muscular chick in bathing suit sitting in a window looking out while muscular guy looking down at his….well whatever.

Nah,  I think I’ll pass on this one.

Mr Wonderful

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:43 pm on Sunday, February 14, 2010

Twenty five years ago Pharmacy Chicklet student had recently started dating this young man.  On this day he surprised her with a single rose (for Valentines day).  For a student with NO money, it was significant.

Twenty five years later, on this Valentines day,  this man, who became my husband,  repeated the gesture with a loving note.

WOW.  Pharmacy Chick is one lucky Chick.

A phone call I’d LOVE to make

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:45 pm on Sunday, February 14, 2010

RING RING

Hello, Dr Dipwad?  Yea, well this is Pharmacy Chick.  Uh, Pharmacy Chick,  the pharmacy next door to your office.  Yes, the one where you could drop a penny from your window and land in my parking lot…

I wanna talk to you about your addiction to E-scripts.  From a pharmacy standpoint, we hate them enough already.  Not only are they intrusive on our computer, interrupting our work with their “notfication-you-cannot-ignore”, but  you send entirely too many of them, many of them are completely unnecessary. We actually liked you better when you faxed in your prescriptions.  We had no idea you would fall completely in love with e-scripts that you would  need professional help in this addiction.  So in the interest of my sanity, I would like you give you some personal instruction and counseling on sending e-scripts.

1. READ your escript before you send it ok?   Don’t send me Protonix 40mg IV injection when you really mean Protonix 40mg tabs. 

2.  Quit sending me duplicates…or )(%&(*&#@! triplicates!  Are you friggin aware that I can’t delete them?  Do you understand that I have to process them and ADD them to your patients profile as a prescription?  Knock it off!    Mr Jones doesnt’ need 4 identical metformin 500 mg prescriptions.

3.  Please reserve escripts for Prescription drugs please!   No pharmacist appreciates getting  scripts for Vitamin C, Calcium supplements, multivites,  Ferrous Sulfate, Colace and Papaya enzymes. If you want your patient to get that stuff give them a list ok? And if you got some really weird thing like Acidophyllis Performis 5 million units, dont even think about e-scripting that.  It took me a call to my help desk to get that one out of my system.

4. KNOW your controlled substances.  Just because YOU are ignorant  that Lyrica is controlled and can’t be e-scripted, doesn’t mean the I am.  I can’t fill it any more than I could fill a C-II you forgot to sign.

5.  Do me a favor, If you wanna CHANGE something on an escript,  CALL ME.  Dont just send me a second one with some minor change and no note explaining why.  It will  save me (and you) a phone call asking you which one is the one you want.

6. AND lastly, Dearest Doctor… DO NOT SEND ME AN E-SCRIPT AND THEN GIVE A HARD COPY TO THE PATIENT.   Its one OR the other. 

And you have a really nice day…Doctor.

Up in Smoke

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:20 pm on Saturday, February 6, 2010

 Pharmacy Chick works in a big store.  We carry all kinds of merchandise from pots and pans, food items, sundries, cosmetics, and of course cigarettes.  Thankfully because the store does NOT allow cigs to be sold at any counter other than the front one,  I never have to ring up tobacco of any kind.  I suppose if I had to I would, since my company sells it, its legal, and I am on their dime when I am at work….but thankfully that is not the case.  I ring up enough alcohol as it is thank you very much.

Mitch came in for his usual monthlies that consist of a few inhalers, some blood pressure meds and of course Vicodin.  (Really, is there ANYBODY out there who ISN’T on vicodin??).  This day however he was in for a rude awakening.  Hello 2010…Hello new deductibles.  His Advair and Proventil HFA came to a tidy dollar sum over $200. 

He was apoplectic at the total.  “$200?? last month it was only $25.”  And so we had to go into the ever popular reminder that when the crystal ball dropped in Times Square we had a new year….yada yada yada…and new prices..deductibles..formulary…w.h.a.t.e.v.e.r.

“But I don’t have that kind of money!”. he whined.   I glanced at the contents of his cart.  In a Pharmacy Chick Pharmacy bag was 4 cartons of cigarettes….CARTONS.  Now I have never purchased cigarettes, but I know they are expensive so I am thinking that for 4 cartons of butts, he probably dumped close to a C-note.

Hmmm..me thinks one man has his priorities messed up.

I just shrugged my shoulders and said “Sorry Man,  January is tough on a lot of people with all these deductibles”.  ” I can’t change it”.

He just took out is check book and wrote a check.  My brain was still processing the words ” I dont have that kind of money”….

Sure hope that check is good.

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