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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A(nother) Letter to Corporate

Dear Corporate,
You cannot sell what people do not want to buy.
It is simple economics. No Demand Equals No Sales. Easy.
Then why does it fall on me to increase the harassment of my patients by pushing vaccinations on them?
Fine. Don't call it a quota. If I don't have a mandatory goal to meet, then why is my bonus negatively impacted if I miss the numbers you assign? (Sorry, some companies call it a "budgeted amount" of shots to be administered. Semantics.)

I am not talking about seasonal flu shots. Now that every pharmacy gives them, the competition is watered down and the playing field is level. People will get flu shots wherever they happen to be when the mood to get pricked strikes them.

I am talking about Zostavax and the others. (It depends on your state laws.)
We have pestered our patients for the past few years. Those who want them have received them. Those who need them, got them. Those who have said "no" will continue to say "no".
This is not a "suggestive sell" item you can just place at the checkout counter like a pack of gum or a clearance item or a roll of tape.

CP: Is this all you need today?
Customer Randomly Asking for Prescriptions: Yes. Just that.
CP: Ok.
CRAP: And maybe some Tic Tacs and...how about one of those vaccines y'all are offerin'
CP: Oh? Perhaps a Shingles Shot? Or TDaP? Maybe a little MMR with some Hep A and Hep B?
CRAP: Sure. Hit me with the lot.

Requiring me to give more shots to people who don't want them is like mandating that Ford dealers in 1959 sell more Edsels.
It's also reminiscent of the "upsell" at the register of electronics stores. "Would you like to purchase the optional extended warranty we are offering today?" I know they make the company money. Few people want them. Fewer people purchase them.

Merck is launching a new advertising campaign promoting Zostavax. I wonder if corporate adjusted my "budgeted amount" of shots to account for the expected surge. I will still get asked why my numbers aren't improving. I can hear them now: "There have been plenty of ads made to promote awareness, and we budgeted you for more so why aren't you giving more shots?"

Can't we just focus on providing better service to our patients?
Can't we focus on taking our time filling prescriptions accurately?
This would be like asking a collision repair garage to increase the number of repairs it does. It would be like a snow plow service being forced to explain why their numbers are down...during the summer.
We are not salespeople. The reason we work for a corporation is so you can handle the business and promotion side of things.
I am a pharmacist. I have a professional job to do and a license to worry about.
You are a corporate suit who works in an air conditioned building, sits at a desk, and gets to eat lunch. Our jobs are different.
Now go do your job and leave me alone to do mine.

1 comment:

  1. Pass this on to your management, for what it's worth. It's 100% true.

    I started going to a certain chain pharmacy about 10 years ago. I don't take many meds, but am very compliant about what I do take, so I go there about once a month. We recently moved to the opposite end of an adjacent city, so I now have to drive 10 miles to that pharmacy. There's a Walgreen's not 3 blocks away, and another pharmacy maybe 5 blocks. I won't even consider changing. My pharmacists (there are 2 there) have proven to be friendly, knowledgeable, and never too busy to answer a question or just make nice for a minute. The techs are fabulous - always friendly, efficient, and great at dissecting how my cop insurance works. I know they're all busy as hell, but they never treat me like it. This is what keeps me going back and makes me willing to go out of my way for the privilege.

    Like I said, for what it's worth.