The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Now who is unreasonable?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:52 am on Monday, November 28, 2011

“Inventory Management”.  If you have ever worked for a company where a product is sold,  managing inventory, especially one that deteriorates over time, is a paramount issue.  I just recently compiled and returned my quarterly inventory and even wrote about it in a post called Reverse Distribution.  All in all, I returned approximately $5300.00 in outdated drugs, of which I will probably get about 20-30% credit ( if that).  You can see that managing inventory ( reducing how much I have over all and what I have to return) can be a big deal in the corporate office.  Multiply that by thousands of stores and you have  serious dollars evaporating.

This year they have been pitbulls ( and I dont mean to offend pitbulls) about inventory.  In THEIR perfect world, we would stock NOTHING, and order EVERYTHING overnight for the previous days prescriptions, and repeat the procedure daily.  I feel comfortable with about 240k in inventory…they want me to have no more than 193k.  That 47k disparity causes a lot of grief.  Nevertheless we have to play THIER game so I do my best to get inventory down.

I think its important to keep certain drugs in stock.  We cannot operate if we can’t fill certain kinds of rx’s on demand.  That being said,  we do not have to stock everything…all the time.

Ms Penny Wise transferred her files from Big Box a couple of months ago.  She had moved.  Before we actually transferred a thing, I knew she would be trouble.  she clutched her bottles like they were a state secret or something and interviewed me like I was applying for a job…with HER.  What are my hours…do we have emergency services…do I deliver…do I have a return policy ( seriously?? NO..)…who is my wholesaler…. do I bill loyalty cards….and on and on.  At some point I no longer cared if we got her business.  When she finally forked over her bottles, I noticed she had a pile of expensive acne stuff for her 2 kids.  She asked me  ” do you carry this?”  I knew where this conversation was going.  I told her that we can get all of it, but we do not just stock it…we order it when we get a prescription for it.  She let out some kind of *tsk* and said that if she were to transfer here, she wanted a GUARANTEE that we would stock these items. She said…” I believe its a reasonable request”

I really didn’t have much to lose, she wasn’t my customer yet. so I told her  ” not to be disrespectful to your needs, but you have a pile of drugs  that total thousands of dollars right here.  We get deliveries 5 days each week,  we are unable to have these kinds of dollars sitting here idle for 29 days each month.  Provided you do NOT order them on a Friday/Saturday, we can get them overnight.”  I even pulled the “poor economy” card and told her that the company is managing its dollars very carefully just like she probably is in her household.

I request that all of my high dollar customers call me a day or two in advance.  I let them know ahead of time so we are all on the same page.  I even have stickers that state ” SPECIAL ORDER ITEM ORDER AHEAD OF TIME”   They all get used to it.

She will too.  She decided to hand me the bottles and boxes and I transferred all of the rx’s from BB.  She didn’t need them yet..” Ill call you when we need them”.  60 days later she still hasn’t ordered anything.

And THAT end justified the means.


Comment by mdb

November 29, 2011 @ 7:06 am

There are couple of people in a store I float through I attach a large note written with a large black marker stating we need at least 24 hours notice, preferably 72 hour notice when they want a refill on certain medications because we have to special order them. Even worse I find are people with CII’s as we only get orders for those on tues and weds, assuming I can get it at all. We also won’t order things in that are pricey such as a injectables unless we have the Rx billed and we know the insurance is paying for them and the patient will pay the copay. I also really hate the people who seem to think we keep bottles and bottles of botox on the shelf for who ever brings in an Rx.

Comment by C

November 29, 2011 @ 7:56 am

Bane of my husbands existence only his is with expensive helicopter parts.

No, we are not going to rush down to the office and find your part at 8PM. However, we will send someone else down to help you.

This is not Burger King, you don’t get it your way.

Comment by Erin

November 30, 2011 @ 7:58 am

I just had to make a TON of calls and RTS a bunch of prescriptions that were are huge emergency before the holiday week. (You know the kind: “fill everything in my profile! I am going out of town!” Then, they never pick them up. When I call, they say, “oh no, I have plenty of that at home!” Grrrrr.for us that is just a chronic auto-fill problem. I could go on forever on auto fill headaches..the extra work it causes and the amount of returns we do because of it…

Comment by Steph

November 30, 2011 @ 8:29 am

I am a loyal costumer to my pharmacy and they have thousands of $ worth business of me.

I do expect though that they stock my longtime medications (including Rebif and more real expensive stuff)
I promised them I will indicate any change of meds in advance. So they can return anything they stocked in time and they know I am reliable
I drive by – drop in my prescriptions and pick up the meds right away. No phone calls, no pick up errands later…
With long term costumers there should be some degree of trust. If they would force me to order ahead of time I turn my back on them.if money was never an object, it wouldn’t be a problem, but money is an object..a HUGE object. And the company (nationwide) doesnt’ want to sit on tens of millions of dollars each month in drugs that move 1 day per month. returns are another issue. the wholesaler charges a restocking fee which amounts to a percentage of the total purchase price over a certain amount returned each year. its not hard to reach that threshold and 4% adds up right fast. I guess you wouldn’t like PC pharmacy then (nationwide) because they would ask you to order a day ahead.

Comment by Jade

December 1, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

In the hospital world, when we have patients coming for for daily expensive drug therapy, we like to know that the patient will show up before we start preparing the medication for administration. We used to say we’d start reconstituting the drug when we saw the ‘whites of the patient’s eyes’. This is a problem, because the drugs, especially chemotherapy take a long time for evaluating patient labwork, ensuring we have enough drug for the dose (which is a MAJOR problem for drugs in short supply), ordering drugs to arrive in time, checking doses, rechecking doses, preparing drugs, and rechecking preparations. The wholesaler won’t take returns of partial quantities, and so we want verification that the patient is going to get the dose, before we make it up. The patient’s nurse for one two-month therapy was feeling sorry for a patient, and advocated that pharmacy start reconstituting the drug on arriving to the pharmacy each day after cleaning the aseptic hood in which to make the drug. Guess what, we just opened a new 10-pak of drug vials, and reconstituted the two for the patient dose, when we got the fax that the drug had been changed entirely to something else. We have two vials that will be wasted after 24 hours. We have eight vials that will sit in the refrigerator until they expire, and do we charge the patient for any of under Medicare for medication they did not receive?

Comment by Tecnically Insane

December 2, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

YES YES YES, PC! I agree. Most people just do not understand and grasp the actual cost of medications even on a wholesale level. It blows peoples minds! Acne medications are crazy expensive. Newer antibiotics can be thousands for 20 pills. Antipsychotics, I mean the list goes on. We can have anywhere between $250,000 and close to $500,000 stock at any given time and still have a clip full of special orders. No pharmacy can have every medicine everytime. It just isnt possiable.

Comment by WarmSocks

December 17, 2011 @ 7:19 am

@Steph-I, too, patronize one pharmacy for all my meds. I do not expect them to automatically have the expensive ones in stock. For instance, my injectible costs about $2500 every four weeks. When I use my last shot, I have a whole week until the next one is due, and it just isn’t a big deal to order the refill sometime during that week (at least a couple days in advance) instead of waiting until the day I need my next injection. Add to that the fact that sometimes a med quits working and the doctor writes a script for a different one. When that happens, I don’t want my pharmacy out all that money from ordering something I won’t ever use again. Sometimes life happens: I landed in the ER and spent a week in the hospital and off my meds for three months – good thing the pharmacy waits to order my expensive meds until I actually need them. Which is a long way of saying that just because you’ve been a loyal customer in the past, that doesn’t mean there’s any guarantee that you’ll be in next week to pick up your expensive prescriptions, even if you have every intention of doing so. Multiply that by thousands of people, and it really makes sense for pharmacies to wait and special-order the expensive meds when they have confirmation that you’ll need it this time.

Some of my meds renew every 28 days; I order the refill on about day 24. My other meds need to be filled every 30 days, and I order those refills on about day 26. That allows a couple days for the order to show up, and gives me a cushion so that I can avoid the pharmacy on extra busy days. For non-critical scripts, I drop off the piece of paper and ask, “Can I just pick that up tomorrow?” or “I have some other errands to run. If I come back in a couple hours, does that give you enough time to fill this?” You might be amazed at how much your pharmacy staff will appreciate you doing that.

@PC – It’s because of your blog that I learned so much about how to make things go better at my pharmacy. I can try to avoid the things that you rant about. THANK YOU for writing.thanks for your kind words! I think its always a good thing to walk in somebody elses shoes to have some appreciation for the work that other people do. Perhaps we can can understand each other and be a better community that way. In my life I have been a bus-boy, a waitress, a hotel maid, a clerk, counter person at Dairy Queen and ultimately a pharmacist.

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