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Tuesday, December 29, 2015


When will pharmacies look to new revenue streams that exist outside insurance company reimbursements? In a capitalistic society, we exist to make money. Pharmacies already utilise ads on receipts and patient leaflets. When are they going to think bigger?
Soccer has team sponsorships on all their jerseys.
Baseball includes ads within the game: "That stolen base was brought to you by Biff's Bail Bondsmen."
Basketball has sponsored timeouts.
Football has everything sponsored, from the coin toss to the two-minute warning.

What about Pharmacy?
1. I'm thinking we need to get sponsors for our white coats. Find a local dry cleaner or national company to sponsor them.
"These white coats kept clean with the power of OxiClean!" I'm not saying we need to go all NASCAR and have clothing that is made up entirely of patches stitched together, but a tasteful patch on the shoulder or chest would look swell.

2. My favourite idea is to team up with an insurance company (not pharmacy related) and some celebrity to sponsor DURs. Every time we complete a Drug Utilization Review, a message would print on the patient's receipt: "This DUR Double Check brought to you by State Farm", with a picture of Aaron Rodgers.

3. Any State Prescription Drug Monitoring Reports that result in the successful arrest of a patient, or even prevention of the filling of a prescription, could be sponsored by Crime Stoppers. Better yet, we could even get McGruff the Crime Dog to pop up on our screens!

4. MTMs could be sponsored by attorneys.
"This consult brought to you by the law firm of Dewey, Screwem, and Howe."

5. Immunizations need love too. Why not a cross-promotion with other companies?
"Today's shot brought to you by Jameson."
"Since you care about your health protection as much as we do about your personal protection, today's vaccination was brought to you by Smith & Wesson".

Monday, December 28, 2015

Vitamin Bingo

You know it's been one of those days when you've been waiting since Monday for a refill for a patient and it's now Friday and the phone finally rings and this happens:

A Lapsed Nurse: Hi. This is ALN calling from Random On Call Prescribers Network.
CP: Good evening. Welcome to Pee Wee's Playhouse.
ALN: Um...I'd like to call in a prescription.
CP: And I'd like to take one from you. I'd call that kismet...or fate. Or would you prefer destiny?
ALN: Um...Apparently one of our patients was supposed to have a prescription called in earlier this week.
CP: Yes. Captain Jack. Poor lad. Been waiting since Monday.
ALN: Okay. I'm a nurse and I'm going to phone in this prescription on behalf of Dr. Zoffis.
CP: For Cyanocobalamin?
ALN: Huh?
CP: Cyanocobalamin.
ALN: <crickets>
CP: Okay. What is the prescription?
ALN: B12 injection.
CP: So...cyanocobalamin, then?
ALN: Um...<whispers as she reads> there it is. Yes. I guess that is what it says.
CP: Okay. And?
ALN: One injection per week with 11 refills.
CP: So I should give 4 injections for a month with 11 refills?
ALN: Wait. Four? <counts weeks in a month in her head> Yes. 4 shots for one month.
CP: Thanks. I see now why you're semi-retired.

Friday, December 18, 2015

You're the Only One...

Even though we ALL, as a profession, seem to care about our licenses and jobs, there appear to be more and more of us who get questioned about our professionalism. When we call prescribers and their offices, we are accustomed to hearing:
"You're the only pharmacy that gives us a hard time about this".
"No other pharmacy has a problem with how we write these."
"Why is your pharmacy the only one that calls us on this?"
"You're the first pharmacy to tell us this."

This is true across the country. Pharmacists in all cities and all states have shared stories about how they are the "only pharmacy that calls or complains" about a particular office. It's time we reciprocate, in kind.

1. You are the only office that refuses to give us CTP numbers for non-doctor prescribers on phone-ins.
2. Why does your office give us such a hard time when we call and tell you that you cannot sign a fax using an electronic signature?
3. You're the only office that tells me stamped signatures are totally legal in the state (they're not).
4. Why is your office the only one that doesn't accept faxed refill requests?
5. Why is your office the only one that makes the pharmacist fax for patients' refills instead of the patient calling?
6. Why is your office the only one that loses e-scripts they supposedly sent to my pharmacy?
7. Yours is the only office that takes our prior authorization forms and trashes them without reading them and blames us when the patients' medications aren't approved...because you don't take faxes from pharmacies.
8. Why is your office the only one that writes "not our patient" on the faxed refill request, when I am looking at the previous prescription handwritten by the prescriber in the office?
9. Your office is the only one that can't figure out how to approve e-script refill requests and instead denies them, only to send an approval later in the day.
10. Why is your office the only one that knows there is a problem with their e-script software, as you told me 3 pharmacies have called so far today, and you shrug it off as inconsequential?

Friday, December 11, 2015


Compare and contrast. I always hated those words when I was school. As we get older and our experiences broaden, we are more able to understand how to argue points.
At least I thought that to be true. Until yesterday...

Pretty Sure It's Comparing Oranges: Will this new medication work for me?
CP: Possibly. It's designed to give you relief all day as opposed to just 4-6 hours at a time.
PSICO: I have a whole collection of expensive medications that didn't do shit.
CP: Well, shit happens. So hopefully these will do shit. See you in 15 minutes.

<PSICO strolls down to pickup>
Uber-Tech: Any questions for the pharmacist today?
PSICO: Are these going to help?
UT: I heard you talking to the pharmacist. Stop back by the counsel window on your way.
PSICO: Why are these so cheap?
UT: Not sure. Ask CP.
<PSICO pulls in at Consultation Station>

CP: Hello.
PSICO: Hello, it's me. I was wondering...
CP: Stop it.
PSICO: I already know these aren't going to work.
CP: Okay. I'll bite. Why are these not going to work?
PSICO: The Gabapentin I picked up last time cost me $35.79.
CP: Okay.
PSICO: The Morphine you just sold me only cost $19.96.
CP: Okay. That's good. It cost less.
PSICO: No. It's inferior.
CP: Sorry?
PSICO: Haven't you ever bought something in a store and knew it was different from the top-of-the-line stuff? Like Ragu.
CP: Ragu is top-of-the-line?
PSICO: Yes. And then you buy the stuff next to it that's not as expensive and it's all watered down and nowhere near the same quality. This isn't going to work because it's cheap and watered down.
CP: Seriously? That has got to be the weirdest theory I have ever heard.
PSICO: It's true.
CP: No. No it's not. It's not even close. It's like comparing Taco Kits with Tampons; Skateboards with String Cheese; Star Wars with Gone With The Wind.
PSICO: Well I'll try it but it's not going to work.
CP: Positive thinking may. If you think it won't work, it won't. If you think generic Ragu sucks, it does.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

No Respect

CP: Thank you for calling the Dangerfield Drug Depot, this is CP. How may I help you?
Implacable Little Lady: Why was this so expensive?
CP: Your insurance has this in its highest tier. It's listed on your card that way.
ILL: But why? My doctor told me it wasn't expensive. He said he picked a cheap medication.
CP: Well, he was wrong.
ILL: But he said.
CP: Well, from now on, tell him the CP  told you all your office visits are free. He can't charge you.
ILL: That's not nice of you at all.
CP: How is it not?
ILL: It's not professional.
CP: Neither is your doctor. He's rather overstepping his bounds. As a doctor, especially a specialist in the ophthalmology field, he should know that he is prescribing a brand name drug. If not, he should do more research before he tells people the ins and outs of my job.
ILL: Well he has every right!
CP: I'm sorry? He has every right to do what?
ILL: To tell me if it's expensive.
CP: Why?
ILL: I am within my right to ask him and it's within his right to answer me.
CP: But not with incorrect information. It IS within his right to do research. Even though your most trusted prescriber gave you WRONG information, you are going to vehemently defend his right to provide said information?
ILL: I asked him. It's his right.
CP: No. Not really. It is not within his right to give blatantly wrong information under the guise of professional trust. A better question here would be: If you have such blind faith in professionals, why does his word trump mine? I mean, it's not as if I'm the pharmacist and I have the knowledge about medications and I do this all day.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Fairly Average Patient Purporting Extensive Research: What is a good recommendation for phlu prevention this time of year, my good chemist?
CP: First, thank you for asking. Tis kind of you to put so much faith in your local pharmacist. I am humbled by your respect.
FAPPER: You are the go-to source for all things medication related.
CP: I'm blushing...To answer your question, there are a number of things you can do. Start with your annual phlu shot, continue with good hygiene habits, (wash hands, cough into your arm, try not to breathe around people), stay home when you are sick, and rest when your body needs it.
FAPPER: Sounds pretty easy.
CP: Basic stuff, in fact.
FAPPER: What about natural OTC remedies?
CP: Such as?
FAPPER: Oscillococcinum?
CP: It works as well as my other favourite recommendation.
FAPPER: What's that?
CP: Well, before I go to bed each night, I make myself a VPL. I take phresh cloves of garlic, drill holes through them, then string them together to make a necklace. I wear it to bed each night. When I wake I am rephreshed, and, more importantly, alive.
CP: Vampire Protection Lei. It wards off the vampires so I don't wake in the morning with holes in my neck, pale from exsanguination.
FAPPER: Vampires don't exist.
CP: How do you know?
FAPPER: I just do.
CP: How can you prove they don't?
FAPPER: I just know.
CP: Ah. Well, I believe in them. My faith in their existence is further proven by the fact that I awake each morning having not been drained by them.
FAPPER: That makes no sense.
CP: It is as logical as your belief in Oscillococcinum.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

More of the Same

CP: Hello! This is CP. Is this Lady Who Sees Bad Prescriber?
LWSBP: Yes. This is She.
CP: Were you aware your prescriber was calling in a new medication today. And that she was requesting DAW for you to get brand?
LWSBP: She was supposed to call in a new prescription, but for the same medication I've always had.
CP: I see. Well this is for Corgard.
LWSBP: I've always taken Propranolol.
CP: Yes. Which is Inderal. Which is why I am calling. I tried to call the office but they are gone.
LWSBP: She looked it up in her little book and said they were the same thing.
CP: Who did?
LWSBP: The Nurse Practitioner.
CP: Your NP researched your medication you have been taking for years, the generic name of which you and she knew, and managed to come up with the wrong answer?
LWSBP: She said it was the same as Inderal. She said Propranolol.
CP: Well this is why I called. I will have to agree with her: they are the same in that they are both beta-blockers. However, that is where the sameness ends. For example, let us suppose you are putting together a fruit tray and you are asked to bring bananas. Going to the store and substituting tomatoes, because they are a fruit, for the bananas is not going to be the same.
LWSBP: So what do we do?
CP: I will call your prescriber and get you your Propranolol.
LWSBP: No tomatoes?
CP: No tomatoes.