The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

The more things change, the more things….change.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:57 am on Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pharmacy Chick was schooled in the era of brand name meds.  The concept of generic meds were just starting to eek out when she was in school.  By the time I was out of school, they were becoming firmly established.  I worked in several pharmacies, and without any exception, they arranged all of their shelves by brand/generic:  Alphabet by brand with generic on the shelf next to it.  It made perfect sense to me, and served a pretty unique purpose to keep a person educated in what the generic name of a med is and vis-a-versa.  I liked it that way and when Pharmacy chick took over as manager, she kept it that way.  Every tech I had was well versed in brand/generic and had a good idea of the purpose of every drug.

About 6 years ago the Company decided to standardize all pharmacies.  I think this was an idea from one of those suited pipsqueaks without an RPH after their name in an attempt to justify their pay.  They decided that all pharmacies must go completely alphabetical.  Their rationale was “Relief help have trouble finding drugs”.  Are relief help stupid?  I dont think so.  If they are pharmacists, they should know what the brand name of any generic is, even if the brand is no longer stocked on the shelf.  Most of us talk in brand still…if I tell a tech to count out 30 each of Vicodin and 30 Flexeril, she knows exactly what to count out: 30  Hydrocod/Apap and 30 cyclobenzaprine.  If I need BRAND, I state so.

I fought this losing battle for a long time before they set down a must-have-done-by date.  Their only concession was we could/should still have sections set aside for topicals, eye/ears, inhalers, and the like, but they had to be alphabetized within each section.  W.h.a.t.e.v.e.r.

We finally did it.  And a new problem immediately surfaced,  and its a problem to this day.  Drugs keep moving around….because they keep changing their name.  Some generic houses like to “brand” their own generics and its like playing tag trying to keep up with them.  Our generic K-tab was Klor Con.  It was housed in the K’s….Then it disappeared….because it was substituted by Sandoz Potassium Chloride ER TABs and now resides in the P’s.   Generic Midrin has moved all over  Duradrin, Epidrin and others.  Lomotil was under L for  LONOX and now lives in the D’s under Diphenoxylate.  We have 2 patients on Deconamine.  What comes to us as a generic switches often…one manufacturer’s bottle says CDP-PSE and the other says PSE-CDP. 

ARGH.  the latest was our chewable multivitamins.  I went to the shelf to find them missing.  ” ALLRIGHT, where are the kids chewable vits?”  I asked.  “In the R’s”  I was told.  AND why might that be you might ask?  Because our new carrier is River’s Edge who has decided that everything they make has a “RE-” in front of the product name.  so their bottles say “RE-multi vit+Fluoride” or “RE-prenatal”.   I asked the tech to disregard the RE and put it under M for multivit. 

I could bore you with more, but the issue is the same.  When we had everything filed under brand and generic, the drug had a home….ONE home.  Now they move faster than a kid skipping out on his rent.

I am not sure the relief pharmacists will have any better luck finding the drugs in this system but surely now……I can’t!


Comment by pharmacist betrayed

May 20, 2009 @ 11:00 am

This has nothing to do with the post. i read your blog all the time and love it! another pharmacist friend of mine, the same one that will be in my story to follow acctually, told me about it and it helps to know others have the same frustrations. This is my saga…

two years about i hired a high school friend of mine as a technician. she was working on her pharmacy pre reqs and wanted to get some pharmacy experience. i was a bit hesitent to hire a friend but it has been a great two years.
i recently got married and so did a close friend of mine who is a pharmacist. we were in eachothers weddings and had both just returned from our honeymoons. I came to work one tuesday moring to find out that my pharmacist friend had called my workplace on monday and talked to my technician friend from high school. She had offered said friend a job at first under the impression that it was a pay raise for my tech friend. she never told me or warned me about this. She saw nothing wrong with calling one of my most senior techs and long time friends and trying to steal her away from me. i had two technicians quit right before my honeymoon and was trying to hire and train replacements, which she knew. the replacements were not working out (she only know part of that), and yet she still without hesitation called up to recrute my second most senior technician. had both not been longterm and close friends this might be easier to handle. The offer, much better is the way of hours but not is pay was increased to supercede the techs current pay. my techs are union so i can’t offer a competative pay. i am so hurt. forgiveness is VERY difficult. i just needed to share. thanks to those who read and empathize.
Well I hope you feel better by letting this out here. Its hitting below the belt stealing a friends technicians. While the Chick doesn’t believe in Karma per se, she does believe that what goes around comes around. He will get his…eventually. Its time to let it go, or it will eat you up.

Comment by was1

May 20, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

i could say i feel your pain, but i like my alphabetical pharmacy. before i took over at this place they used the generic-next-to-the-brand system. hydrocodone was all over the place. some with V for vicodin, some with N for norco and some with L for lortab/lorcet. verapamil was likewise confused not knowing if it was calan or isoptin. either way, both systems beat the even older system of shelving products by manufacturerer. an abbott section, merck section, upjohn section, etc. that left everybody scratching their heads. !)

Comment by Carol

May 20, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

Yup, htis idea came from a bonehead stuffed shirt who hasn’t worked in a pharmacy in 20 years.

I do relief exclusively. I am booked 2-3 months ahead since I don’t screw up (much:) I have never had problems finding drugs. And I have seen many, many different ways of organizing things. By generic name. By brand name. By company. By type of product (injectable, eye/ear etc) by CLASS of product (antibiotic etc) and so on and so on…

Comment by Jaded Rx Intern

May 24, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

I’ve worked for years in an ‘alphabetical’ pharmacy. For me (and my thinking), it’s second nature. Now granted, we’ve had our generic name shuffles (Epidrin/Migrin-A/Migquin, and recently moving our Klor-Con from the Ps…). However, I had one rotation at a small independent pharmacy and his drugs were stored by brand. It was a weird change of pace, but I did like the challenge it provided (once or twice I had to stop and think, “I don’t know the brand name for this long-time generic”). Although it would have been better if his shelving was actually in alphabetical order; Phenytoin before Trazodone?

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