The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

To be filed under “What the Heck was she thinking??”

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:40 pm on Monday, May 31, 2010

I am not one to pour over pharmacy  journals anymore, but this article caught my eye.  Bearing in mind that I am relating this  “as I understand” the article to read,  somebody is in a whole buttload of trouble.   There is this little coastal pharmacy, owned by a pharmacist who employed a technician. Both the pharmacy and the pharmacist are “fixtures” in town.   His technician developed some kind of weird Mother Theresa-Robin Hood alter ego and for some inexplicable reason started “helping” out every local  ner’ do well with a sob story.  The problem is, she decided to help out these local losers with oxycodone and methadone when they “lost” their prescription, had it “stolen” or for some reason didn’t have enough to make it to their next appointed refill. 

According to the article the pharmacist ” did my quarterly audit and the numbers didn’t come out. I knew it had to be a mistake”.  It wasn’t…to the tune of over 10,000 doses.

All I can say is W.O.W.  

No, actually I can say quite a bit more. 

 Like:  How do you not notice that you are receiving dozens of bottles of oxy and methadone and not using that many…and they are NOT building up on the shelves?.  Think about it:  10,000 doses is one-hundred bottles. 

Like:  Are you REALLY doing quarterly audits or did your tech just decide over that last 120 days to give away 100 bottles of oxy and methadone?

Like:  How long did the tech think she could get away with giving away free C-2’s before somebody figured it out?

Once caught, the tech was presumably fired and she lost her license.  The pharmacist owner also had his license suspended and a huge fine levied, but even more damaging was that the pharmacy itself lost its DEA license, essentially rendering it useless to anybody who might buy it.  I believe it will be closing down. 

Ya know, I like a lot of my customers, but I dont like ANY of them enough to jeopardize my license..even for one stinking tablet, let alone 10,000.  We also do countbacks on every single C-2 rx we do…and we do monthly full counts of all of them. 

Some actions defy explanation.  This one is certainly one of them.

Perhaps Honesty ISN’T the best policy

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:11 pm on Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Overheard at the pharmacy today:  A mom and her daughter (probably 7-8ish by the looks of it)…and Mom was giving the daughter an ECONOMICS lesson:

Mom:  “You see this?  Claritin costs almost twice as much as the store brand.  Do you know why?  Its because the company that makes it has to pay for all those ads we see on TV for it and the company that makes Pharmacy Chick brand doesn’t.  Its the EXACT same stuff only we save a lot of money by using the generic!  That is smart!  Isn’t that INTERESTING??

Daughter:  No.

I put my head on the counter and laughed out loud.  Tech Extradordinare was off putting the order away and didnt’ hear this exchange.  She wanted to know what was so damn funny..

Dumb drug seeker story # 123

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:39 pm on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ok, so I haven’t REALLY posted 122 other drug seeker stories, but lets just say I could have! 

One of the suckier parts of being a pharmacist is when I have to wear the police uniform also.  And while I don’t actually have to arrest anybody, I dont like that “policing” role that we are often thrust into.  THIS day however was just too easy.

We had been filling for  “Steve Anderson” for almost a year.  He’s been in my sights for his prolfic use of urgent care centers, his adoration of Percocet, and his chagrin for anything BUT Percocet.  He is the boy toy of some chick who lives nearby, and really not bad looking I suppose if you are into sleeping with guys about the same age as your eldest child.  Ewww.

About the only think I could do to thwart Steve was warn UCC’s (urgent care centers) after the fact that he gets around.  All of his scripts were legal..aside from the fact that he probably lied about his so-called pain to get them.  Near as I could tell, they all had his legal name and DOB on them.

Last week I got a call from one of my competitors.  Despite the fact that we ARE competitors, we all share the same disdain for drug seekers and try to help each other out by sending out a phone chain when an obvious seeker is making the rounds.  This time it was Big Box.  “Hey Chick,  we got a dude here that my tech recognizes from earlier this week.  He is using a different name than he used last time. We sent him packing, he may be headed your way”.  ” He has used Steve Andres and Steve Hintman is on the script he has now.”.

I was busy at the time and just wrote the name down on a scrap of paper and stuck it to the wall.  I didn’t have EITHER of those names in my computer. 

About a half hour later I was at Terminal 1 when Steve Anderson (behind dark glasses–a poor disguise by the way) comes to the counter and Tech Extraordinare 2 greets him.  He hands her a script.  She is not privvy to this phone call and since she is my newest tech, she doesn’t know Steve.   I look up and immediately think You have to be sh**ing me, let me see that script.   I walk over and say  ” Hi Steve, whatcha got today (as if I dont know)…. And sure enough it has Steve Hintman on it with a different date of birth than his other one.

“Steve, I see you have a new last name!”  to which he replied ” Um, yes its a MARRIAGE thing…its complicated…” Sure Stevie……

I see you have a new date of birth also…” I said,  and I left that question open ended. 

I didn’t even wait for his answer.  “Dude, we can’t help you here”.  He snatched his paper back and stomped off.  I called the other close-by pharmacies and they were all prepared for him.  He would have to do some serious driving before he was going to get THAT script filled.

So a word of advice for all you drug seekers out there.  If you are gonna pass a script with a fake name on it AT THE VERY LEAST do it at a pharmacy that DOESN’T already know you on a first name basis.

Sheesh. 

(and if you are really named Steve Anderson, Steve Hintman or Steve Andres)..my apologies..so get over it…they are made up!

A story from my youth

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:14 pm on Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who knows if this had anything to do with me becoming a pharmacist, but this thought came to mind after I was counseling somebody on a wax-matrix tab the other day.

While PC was still a chicklet and in college (pre pharmacy days) she came down (love that expression: “came down”) with BIH: Benign Intracranial Hypertension. If you have ever experienced this, you would hardly call it benign.  The cerebral spinal fluid production goes nuts for some unknown reason and starts to squish the brain like some fat chick poured into a pair of jeans 3 sizes too small.  (get the picture?).  Good.

It hurts…alot…becasue the only place for the brain to go is into the orbital of the eyes and down the spinal cord.   By the time my mother believed my whining enough to take me to the doctor I was just a few days away from a stroke, blindess, or both.  I had a spinal tap to drain some fluid and for a short while I was in heaven as the pain went away but it was all to brief.  I was put on Diamox Sequels, Lasix, and Slow-K.

Nasty stuff that Diamox!.  They smell great (vanilla) but the side effects are killer!    The Lasix made me pee non-stop and the Slow-K (for my non pharmacist readers) was to replace the potassium that the Lasix was removing.   I took something like 6 of them a day. Imagine my surprise when I performed my morning routine and found perfectly formed potassium tablets floating in the toilet!   This was pre-mandatory counseling days so I have no idea if the pharmacist at the time forewarned my mother about the floaties but I can tell you I didn’t know about it.  There was a bit of a freak out moment.

I wasn’t a pharmacist, or a pharmacy student. I was just a 19 year old college student with a headache that wouldn’t quit. Its been absolutely forever since I have used Slow-K. I am not sure if its even made anymore.  But every once in a while I remember this time in  my life. I recovered from this disease, tho it came back 3 times more.  After my first bout with it, my pituitary gland had been squished so much that I didn’t have a period for 18 months.  (that part wasn’t too bad actually! )

I am pretty good at counseling on Acetazolamide too.  And if you really wanna have some fun with your friend on Acetazolamide, serve them a Coke. 

I dont know why I am telling this story, it just came to mind….No moral of the story, No heady advice.  Just a peek into the past!

cheers!

What I am NOT.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:04 pm on Monday, May 10, 2010

I am a pharmacist and happy to be one.  I am not always happy with the job or the circumstances or situations I am often given (or left with), but all in all, I am grateful to be what I am.  There are however a few things that I am NOT and tho you wouldn’t think I would need to reiterate them, sometimes I wish I could hand them out on a 3×5 card..

I am not your slave.  I may be an employee and paid to help you but do not order me around like you are holding a leash on me.

I am not deaf.  Do not speak ill will of me to people around like I can’t hear you. I can.

I am not your mother.  Dont leave your dirty kleenexes, your candy wrappers or your crap on my counter.  We have trash cans all over the store. Dont expect me to pick up after you.

I am not a mind reader.  Tell me what you need in clear, polite English and I will do everything in my power to help. I am not good at guessing what you want.

I am not a liar.  If I tell you I can’t fix your problem, I can’t fix your problem.  Don’t accuse me of lying.

I am NOT the doctor.  We all have our gifts, He is the physician, I am the pharmacist.  Do not confuse the two.  Do not ask me to diagnose your ailments AFTER you have seen the Doctor. Trust me, I probably am not going to do a better job than he already tried do.

I am not a charity.  If you can’t afford to pay, do not try and make me feel bad about denying you services.  We have clinics for people in that situation and I can tell you where they are, but I have to charge you for my services. 

I am not perfect.  I may forget to call you when your script is ready.  I may have accidently forgot something you asked me to do.  Failure on my part is simply human. I’m doing the best I can.  When you fail to forgive, you are tossing stones from a glass house. 

I am not a cheat.  Telling me you are getting “ripped off” because you dont like your copay is akin to  killing the messenger.  I didnt write the script.  I didn’t make the drug. I didn’t set the price. I didn’t assign you your insurance..  So tell me how again I am “ripping you off”?

I am not a bank.  Do not get pissy with me when I decline your request to write your check ( or use your debit) to get a fistful of cash.  I don’t get much cash anymore. We have an ATM at the front of the store.  And, no I really DON’T care about the ATM fee.  I have to pay it, so can you.

and lastly, I am not alone.  There are a thousand other people just like me in the service industry and one of us just might be the person you REALLY need someday.  Be nice.  Remember this:  The people whose hands you stepped on climbing the ladder of sucess will be the same ones you meet on your way back down.

Golf swing and life. a non pharmacy post

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:26 pm on Saturday, May 8, 2010

PC is in a funk.  Well actually her golf swing is…horrible.  I am amazed that one person can go from ripping it right up the middle with confidence to praying that the next shot will at miss the person two fairways over…all in one 15 minute time span.  As I was contemplating my 80 today I decided that my golf swing is the perfect metaphor of life:  Moments of brilliance and beauty sandwiched between panicked compensations and struggles to keep myself in the game…but mostly mundane efforts of mediocrity.

I had 3 double bogeys, 2 bogeys and 13 pars…

But tomorrow is another day. Gonna try to get rid of the doubles!

Peace!

Arizona

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:00 pm on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tho I haven’t mentioned it before,  PC is a licensed pharmacist in AZ.  It was the first state I ever worked in and tho I haven’t lived there in a long time,  I still hang on to that license because its my license-by-exam. To give you and idea of how long ago I lived there, it was the year the Pope visited Phoenix.  (I even remember Pope soap on a rope)…

Because my current state of residence ALSO has a high concentration of Latinos (not all of which are legal) I have watched the news with some interest recently.  I am having a hard time getting a firm opinion on where I stand on this “illegal” alien issue.

Personally, I think that if you are gonna live and work in the US, you should have proper credentials to do so.  By obtaining these credentials you not only earn the right to work in the US but you also earn the right to pay taxes, vote, and obtain public services that the taxes give to you, NONE of which should be offered to those without proper documentation.

 That being said, I fully understand the argument that the Latinos often take jobs that nobody else wants.  By that I mean, jobs in landscaping, and fruit/vegetable picking,service industry etc.  The problem with is argument is that these vulnerable people can be exploited  by paying them cash only at a wage that is usually under minimum wage, and often housed in migrant camps in crappy living conditions, several to a cabin.  Because they don’t dare complain, they perpetuate the problem in their silence.  A couple of years ago a migrant camp in our county was busted and the pictures in the news paper were ugly.  No running water, One room shacks with no heat/air, mattresses on the floor 5-6 to a room.

A generation ago we teenagers worked in the fields too.  Mr Chick pulled rye out of the wheat fields….one handful at a time.  Pharmacy chick bussed tables and worked as a motel maid.   Fast forward to now and who do you find in THESE settings now?  My McDonalds is nearly 100% Latino.  When I stay in a hotel,  the only language I hear in the halls spoken by the maids is Spanish.

Am I implying they are “taking” jobs away from our teenagers?  NO WAY.  I hardly see American teens working at all.  Frankly, I think the majority of them are lazy butts. If they can’t get a “cool” job at the  mall, they dont wanna work at all, choosing instead to hang out all summer with their friends playing with their Wii. 

At the golf course where I play, nearly every worker is Latino.  They have to be legal to work there.  They earn a fair wage, and they do a great job for having to work outside 365 days a year.  I appreciate the work they do and while they labor anonymously, I won’t let them go unnoticed. I say Hello to everyone who passes by in their tractors and I nearly always get a huge smile and a wave. 

I am not the person with the “answer”.  I don’t think the answer is rounding them up and shoving them across the border.   Maybe the answer is rounding them up and making them legal.   Maybe the answer is making sure our entry process is more secure.  Maybe the answer is making payrolls more accountable so they cant “hide” the illegals.  I mean, if you are a foreign national living in Mexico, you must have documentation with you. Its the rule.  When I travel out of the country, I must have (on my person) my documentation.  Its the rule. 

I am just saying that we shouldn’t let the conveniences that “illegal” residents provide cloud over the issue. Receiving a benefit from something doesn’t mean its a good thing.

Im just trying to understand..

Study What? The Fat truth

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:11 pm on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Darn, Dr Grumpy beat me to the punch on this one.  When I was reading the article in the paper where a study was done (can’t believe somebody actually FUNDED a study) that proved that fat kids (yea, I know…not politically correct) were bullied more than non-fat kids.  My first inclination after reading this was “BLOG POST”  and my second was  “Gee, I need to find some ridiculously obvious thing to get funding to study”

Like: “Does spending the winter months in Palm Springs make Pharmacists easier to get along with?”  I personally would spend EXHAUSTIVE  amounts of time studying this subject.

And since Grumpy did an excellent job in his post, I shall defer any further comments about the fat kid study to him.