The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Things I wish I could tell every pharmacy customer.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:05 am on Thursday, July 13, 2017

You know how you scroll thru your Facebook feed and you see all those suggested posts that include such incredulity such as “15 things your vet will never tell you” and “25 things your doctor hates about you”  or ” 10 things you should never say to so and so”.

Well I’d like to make my own list. X Things your pharmacist wishes you knew/understood.

  1. We don’t just count pills.  Actually, I hardly ever count anything.  I have techs for that.  I spend a great part of my day checking final prescriptions and counseling patients and doing a lot problem solving. We solve problems patients don’t even know they have, before they ever set foot into the pharmacy. God Willing, we get most of the solved before arrive.
  2. E scripts don’t fill themselves.  How many times per day do I have to tell a patient who has left a doctors office that the e-scripts sent  15 min ago isn’t ready because its unrealistic to expect it to be? They aren’t instantaneous  and they have to sit in a queue with a hundred other incoming e-scripts until they are pulled. Trust me, we fill them as fast as we can, but they often come in faster than they can be pulled.
  3. Your insurance is our biggest headache.  Your insurance is not a contract between me and it..its between YOU and it.  We are subject to whatever they have agreed to pay on your behalf.  If they don’t pay, then you have to..or go without.  There are some things we can fix, but most involve issues that are out of our control. I cannot magically make a non-covered item covered.
  4. We aren’t emotionally involved with your prescriptions…really.  You are, we know that, but for us its business. We don’t go home at night agonizing over your nexium copay, or the fact Dr Slovenly hasn’t returned our refill request. Its just another prescription.We also don’t take any joy in denying you anything.  REALLY. All we want to do is get your rx to you with the smallest amount of drama.
  5. You are the center of YOUR universe, and thats fine, but you have to share OUR universe with about 300 other people each and every day. someone gets to be no.1 and somebody has to be no. 300.  be gracious when you are closer to 300 than 1. We aren’t oblivious to priorities however.  If the person next to you is bleeding on the counter Ill probably rush that a little more than your birth control. Forgive me and them .
  6. We work very long hours and probably longer than you do without a lunch or a break.  My longest shift is 14 hours and my shortest shift is 8 “half” day.   We don’t find it funny when you comment about us eating on the  job.  can you go 14 hours without eating?
  7. True fact:  the worst day to ask for a refill when you are OUT of refills is FRIDAY.   You can pretty much expect not to see that RX until Tuesday.
  8. Drs really do not like phone calls from pharmacies…nope they really don’t, so unless you have a REALLY good reason to have ME call the dr on your behalf, I suggest you do it yourself.  He is accountable to you, not me…and he knows it. If you want something done above what the dr has decided is his normal policy and routine, YOU ask not me. I probably will not get past his receptionist, will end up in a voice mail and will be effectively blown off.
  9. If you abuse controlled substances, we will figure it out…usually LONG before the dr does.  Sad but true, and we aren’t afraid to share that information with him/her, and we are, in fact, legally expected to.
  10. We are part of your health care team, not your babysitter, your mother or your caregiver.You know that -ism about leading a horse to water?   You  are responsible for being responsible…
  11. Talking on your cell phone still is and will always be exceedingly inappropriate when we are trying to talk to you.
  12. You cannot return medications that didnt work or you don’t want.  Thats a federal law.  Once it leaves the pharmacy counter its yours…forever.  The only exception to that is if an error is made by the pharmacy. We try to keep those to a bare minimum.( and then it is destroyed)  Every patient deserves to know that every drug that passes into their hands has only been handled by the manufacturer, the distribution center and the pharmacy.
  13. Drs offices make a shockingly large amount of errors that you the patient will never see. Wrong drugs, wrong dosages, and wrong directions top the list.  And, unlike the pharmacy that has to report every error we make, there doesn’t appear to be any “chain of command” that the Dr’s offices have to report when we discover an error they have made.
  14. “I must be your best patient” is a comment I’ve heard a thousand times over the years.  My best patient has never said this. My patent answer is always ” You’re close”.
  15. ” I know you aren’t a doctor but…” is another comment Ive heard a thousand times also. Don’t say that anymore please.  Every pharmacist that has graduated in the last 10 years IS a doctor…and holds a doctorate of pharmacy and is indeed a doctor. I however am an old pharmacist and hold a BS in Pharmacy.  Sometimes its BullSh$% in pharmacy .These young pharmacists are very smart but don’t seem to know how to relate to the patients.  That is my gift.
  16. We like our patients but we’d really prefer NOT to speak to you while we are filling prescriptions.  Its a distraction and a source of errors.   Most of us have routines that we like to follow to ensure an accurate fill.  When we hear ” EXCUSE ME , can you…yada yada yada”, breaks that routine of concentration.
  17. WE like cookies at christmas too.  Cheers!


Comment by Loren Pechtel

July 15, 2017 @ 11:54 am

One thing about point #2–too much of a backlog says you’re understaffed. While really it’s management’s fault you’re going to take the blame because you’re the face we see.

Comment by Jono

July 21, 2017 @ 7:24 am

Number 11 is universally pervasive and so is the rudeness.

Comment by Tracey

August 5, 2017 @ 7:04 pm

I’ve been a pharmacist for 22 years. I completely concur and share in your frustration. Several times a year I long for retirement. I hope I get there before I’m mentally delirious or have died. Lol.

Comment by karen

August 7, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

Right On precisely!!! Well said, Chick, well said.

Comment by PharmGal

September 25, 2017 @ 10:29 am

Loren–pharmacy, like any industry has “peak times”–certain days and times of the week that tend to be busier than others. While I’m all for more staffing, that is not always the fix. Olive Garden at 7 PM on a Saturday—don’t matter how many cooks or waitresses, the tables fill up and it bottlenecks. Same at pharmacy when offices all send us a bunch of scripts at the same time. My pharmacy, for instance, only has two computer entry terminals. So say your script is “buried” in my queue. You might be script number 48 out of 50. Even with extra help, I can have st most two people typing all 47 scripts in front of yours–which then need to be filled and checked by the one pharmacist working. So at times you can pack the place full of bodies and you will still need to wait. So call ahead. Plan ahead. Come back later. Or shut up and be patient and grateful that someone is taking the time needed to do it right and not kill your rude ass.

Comment by Liz

September 25, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

ACTUALLY, Loren Pechtel, not all Dr offices or pharmacies use the same computer system, and they are not written in the same code. Because of this, there can be interface issues that delay the information from getting from point A to pint B. And heaven forbid the Prescriber, nurse, receptionist, etc forget to hit the send button because someone interrupted their train of thought while they were supposed to be sending your prescription. There are many moving parts involved in a prescription reaching the pharmacy and most of them are human…therefore NOT perfect. You do the math.

Comment by Paula

September 26, 2017 @ 12:28 pm

So true on eatery one

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