The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

No, I am not selling stuff

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 2:21 pm on Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pharmacy Chick is not a trademarked name,  its just a name that I came up with to blog under.  Obviously using my real name wouldn’t work since I blog anonymously but I needed something.  It was brought to my attention recently that somebody is selling merchandise under the name Pharmacy Chick….stuff like T-Shirts, mugs stuff like that.

Just want to make it public knowledge that I, the blogger Pharmacy Chick, am not selling merchandise.  I blog for my personal entertainment and stress reduction–tho some of the commenters just add to it! LOL..

So, if in your Google searches you see Pharmacy Chick stuff for sale, please know that it is not from ME and you arent supporting any of my endeavors or padding my pockets.  The small business that Mr Chick and I started is NOT selling  stuff like that.  I dont care that she is selling shirts, etc because 1) nobody owns the name and 2) he/she doesn’t make any claims towards the blog….which is such an tiny influence on the internet that making a claim like that would be fruitless anyway!

I love being PC, but I dont  need to see my  name on anybody’s chest!

“Why do they hate us?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:31 pm on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This isn’t my story.  This is actually the story of another pharmacist.  I am only relaying the story…in first person. ( I changed a few details to protect his privacy/identity)

I owned a pharmacy for many years.  It was a good living and provided well for my family.  I was getting ready to “retire” and move on, but none of my 4 kids were pharmacists and were not interested in owning a pharmacy so selling to my children was not an option. I had been approached by Big Box pharmacy to purchase my business so I worked out a deal. I wasn’t completely ready to retire so I agreed to work for Big Box, and they promised to take all of my employees who wanted to stay on.  I was the “manager”. I was told “very little would change” so that the transition would be easy for both the employees and the customers.

We were trained on their new computer system, given support with employees experienced with the system, and literally overnight I went from He-who-must-be-obeyed to He-who-must-obey.  I no longer signed the paychecks…I received a paycheck. We were given the dress code requirements, told precisely how to answer the phone and what the new chain of command would be. ” we are only a phone call away” the sweet regional manager said. ” call me anytime! I am here to help”.

Somethings were nice…when I locked up at night, it wasn’t my problem.  I had a fairly large sum of money in my bank account, but it wasn’t me I was concerned about.  My employees werent adjusting all that well.  Scheduling became an issue.  The schedule that I would write every week wasn’t good enough anymore.  I was told I was using too many labor hours even tho we had to stay open later than we had when I owned the store.  None of my people had ever had to work past 7 pm and now I had to make them work until 10. Nearly all the “help” they gave us disappeared after the first 2 weeks.  My best technician told me she was going to quit because she couldn’t work the late hours. Her day care center charged her extra for anything after 6 pm and she couldn’t afford the fees.  I called our regional manager but “it was out of her hands”

After a month, they cut my pharmacists hours to ZERO overlap. We had been using 2 full time pharmacists and a 3/4 time pharmacist.  They moved my 3/4 time pharmacist to the float pool, which made her pretty mad since she has two school age kids and needed some kind of regular schedule. We were only supposed to work 8 hours at a time but if somebody was sick and no help was found, they expected us to stay all day. Im 62 years old.  I am not used to standing on my feet for nearly 14 hours.  I wanted health insurance that was affordable so I kept working. They had flooded the market with coupons to entice people to transfer to our “new” store, and sure, my numbers went up, but so did the wait times and a lot of the customers I had for the last 30 some years began to grumble. It was no longer their community pharmacy. They were absolutely right.

________________

He quit after about 6 months and decided to do some work at our company, in a different state.  His relo package required he work for 2 years to keep his signing bonus and moving bills paid.. He was relocated to some Godforsaken small town where the tumbleweeds outnumbered the cars. It was the largest store in town so they had the “corner on the market” he said.

________________

he says:  I didn’t think it could be worse but it was.  We closed earlier, but everything I did was micromanaged. I wasn’t a “former owner”, I was just an employee to be controlled.  I was given projections each week that I was expected to achieve.  I am old school, I really am… so when I was required to go to a class to give vaccinations, I was not thrilled.  I managed to push it off for a while, but I eventually couldnt dodge it anymore.  I was not a good at giving shots  I literally had to will my hands not to shake. If I was a customer, I wouldn’t have wanted somebody like me giving me a shot!

My manager was nearly 1/3rd my age, having been out of pharmacy school for only a year.  She was nice, but had no idea how to be a leader, talk to customers, or manage employees.  She was brilliant with her technical drug knowledge but completely ignorant in many other things. She was offended when older people wanted to talk to me. She treated me like an old codger.

The company rules were oppressive…a long list of tasks to do, reports to keep, forms to fill out each day-week-month, and insufficient time to do it.  Tho it was officially against the rules to work off the clock, they knew we had to do it to keep up with their requirements and since we had only a certain amount of dollars we could spend each week on labor, we were really locked between a rock and hard space. They even scheduled meetings we had to attend but said we couldn’t submit for pay for the time to attend them ( which I was sure was against the rules), but when I protested , I was told because it was listed in our job requirements it wasn’t required to be paid time.  To this day I am sure some rules were being broken, but I can’t prove it.

I dont understand…Why do they hate us?

This profession has fallen so far that its not recognizable to what it was when I started.  Patient care has been replaced with performance goals for Script counts, labor models, inventory limits,  and vaccination quotas.

___________________________________________-

He quit precisely 2 years and 1 day after his contract expired.  He moved himself and his wife to a small retirement community and retired his license.  ” I am not rich, but I have enough. 2 years and 6 months of corporate pharmacy took more years off my life than the 30 years I owned my own business.

” Get out when you can, kiddo”.  That’s advice I plan on taking my friend….its that ” when you can” thats a little cloudy in the crystal ball….

 

 

 

 

Taking everything out of context

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:21 pm on Saturday, February 23, 2013

Almost no post I have ever written has been so misunderstood that the post I wrote Sept 10 2010 about a  misfill that occurred at a different pharmacy. I  knew it was a mis filled prescription because I happened to have seen the hardcopy earlier in the day.  The post was about a script brought in for Oxycodone 30mg tabs and because I didnt’ have it, I sent her elsewhere.  She (for some reason unknown to me) called me back later because the tabs she had received looked a lot different than what she had received before.  She had never been MY patient so it still confounds ME why she called me.  To make a long story short, she had been given Oxycontin 30mg intead of immediate release oxycodone.  Its an error anybody could make if they didn’t read the script correctly, but one that any pharmacist should catch right way when the directions didn’t match the release form of the med.  One would not take CONTIN every 4 hours.

Now I suspect if I had written about Metoprolol, or Depakote, or any number of drugs that have IR and CR formulations, this post would have been about as ho-hum as it gets, BUT because I wrote about a narcotic, nearly every comment turned into a public commentary on narcotic drug use with people posturing on both sides and slamming the entire profession of pharmacy ( and me) that included a lot of name calling and accusations. The most recent was some guy named Bill, who descended into Chick-bashing by calling me a apartment-dwelling-cat-loving-people-hating technician.

So, Bill T, pardon my language, but you are an ass with a huge chip on your shoulder.  READ the POST.  Then READ IT AGAIN.  Leave the comments out of it.  I didn’t write the comments,  other people did.  Maybe your attitude  is your own Karma.

Leave me out of it.  You owe me one serious apology Bill.

 

 

Addicted: to BEVERAGES?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:54 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I would imagine if you think about it, you might agree with me.  Look around the next time you are out and about.  Everybody seems to have a beverage in their hands.  Im not kidding.  It seems everywhere  I go, somebody has some kind of beverage container in their hands.  I go to church on Sunday mornings and people have coffee cups, and beverage holders, and invariably our relatively new carpet has beverage stains on it already from spillage of said beverage.

What is it about some people that they can’t go 20 minutes without sucking on a drink? My best friend is among this group.  She brings some beverage everywhere she goes…and much to her husbands dismay, often tips it over.  Because she is a lover of a straw, she won’t buy a spillproof cup so  she keeps tipping her cups everywhere. I dont care what she spills on HER carpet, but I kinda mind what she spills on MINE.

What brings me to this post is something that happened last week in the pharmacy.  The tech was checking out this lady who was paying for her prescription.  She came in with one of those giant plastic cups that (presumably) you bring into a restaurant and they will refill it for some reduced price. To me it looked like a pail…with a handle on the side.  I was in the counting area when I heard a shriek and then ” OMG I am SO SORRY!” then the tech took off  to grab as many towels as possible.  This stupid woman had tipped it over ( the lid popped off) and sticky soda was running all over my pharmacy counter like a brown river. It took nearly a whole roll to clean up the sticky mess and pretty much stopped the checkout line for 10 min.

A few months prior, we had a relief pharmacist who tried ( unsuccessfully) to balance her own beverage on the cash pan, and tipped it over and flooded the entire contents of the cash pan with coke.  The book keeper was not thrilled.  I heard all about it the next day.

Another time, a year or so ago, a different relief pharmacist tipped over her Jamba Juice on my computer key pad..completely ruined it.

In the pharmacy I have a rule:  NO beverages on the dispensing counter. Any beverage that is not in a screw top container may only be consumed by the sink…far away from any drug products.  Some companies I have heard actually BAN any beverages in the pharmacy.  THAT is a bit extreme when you consider we work without a lunch or break.  Take away my coke and you may have violence on your hands.  Somedays that coke is the only nutrition this pharmacist gets. Sad, but true.  Nevertheless I dont need to be sucking on that coke 24-7…and I dont haul it with me on every errand, and usually the only thing thats in my cup holder in my car is some loose change , a chapstick, and a blue tooth headset with a dead battery.

One of my pharmacist friends works for a clinic style pharmacy that did a major remodel.  They enlarged their waiting room, put in a couch, some fancy chairs, a TV, ( and get this) a CARPETED floor.  They wanted to copy the environment of the dr’s offices up stairs I guess. The pharmacy is lovely,  with muted blues and greys, and very calming.  They hung a sign:  No Food or Drink ( in english and spanish).  The pharmacy manager said they barely had the carpet down a week when somebody spilled a coffee beverage on the carpet. Apparently the sign didn’t apply to her.

Leave your cups in the car…you aren’t going to die of dehydration.  I promise.

 

Mutual and Westward? I am calling you out!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:09 am on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I am a little righteously indignated this morning ( if thats even a word.).  If you are involved in the world of pharmacy you know that drug shortages and back orders are more commonplace than they used to be. I never have an answer for this. We are the USA after all.  This isnt Berzerkistan. Over the last few months Doxycycline has been in ever shorter and shorter supply and eventually I ran out of all Doxy Hyclate 50 and 100mg tabs and caps.  This is pretty huge because we use a lot of that med on a daily basis.

If we have found it at a competitor, we have sent it there, and likewise, they have sent to us if we happened to have scored a bottle.  Last Friday and yesterday we got out first real shipment in: 2 bottles from Mutual Pharmaceuticals and 1 from Westward…..at $2300 and 2000 apiece for a bottle of 500.   WHAAAAT???  This is a cheap product that used to be under 50 bucks for the 500ct.

Can you say PRICE GOUGING ?

I dare you to respond…any of you in the industry!  I point my finger to your overstuffed shirt, and accuse you of collusion, price fixing, price gouging…whatever. You have no ethics whatsoever.

I havent opened any of these bottles and in my opinion they dont exist. I tried to refill ( and bill) a rx to an insurance for this and when I sent my cost of 139.00 for 60 tabs, it came back with a reimbursement of 5.28.  NOPE. not gonna happen.

I hate you Mutual and Westward.  you are a used kleenex in my mind.