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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why Do You Come Here?

Your money is your money. What you choose to do with it is entirely up to you. How you spend it, where you spend it, entirely up to you.
What is not up to you is expecting a business to conform to your rules for your convenience.
Can we special order items for you? Of course.
Will we match prices for you? Certainly.
What I will not do is waste my time calling multiple pharmacies around the area on a list of 6 medications to get you the best deal. Sometimes, if a pharmacy knows another pharmacy is calling, they will give an inflated price. (This happened regularly with me at a couple locations, including an independent.)
This makes it difficult to verify the price you are quoting me.
***This gets you mad at me for me trying to help you.***

If you want the convenience of picking up all your medications at one location, accept their prices. However, if I am the highest-priced pharmacy on all 6 medications, why do you come here? Am I the only pharmacist willing to match prices?
The other problem with matching prices is my acquisition cost may be quite different from that of the other pharmacies. If they got a kick ass deal on Mylan's version but I have Par's generic, I cannot sell it to you for less than my cost. That's bad business. Not every pharmacy uses the same manufacturer for every generic they stock.
Again, I do not mind matching prices. I encourage people to seek a better price if they have no insurance. I can and will adjust my prices where possible.
Just don't be like this guy:

Time Wasted Arguing That Prices Are Negotiable: You were supposed to match my prices.
CP: I'm sorry. When did you tell us this?
TWATPAN: Monday night. I brought in a list.
CP: It's Wednesday and we just received the prescriptions. I looked at the list but there are no prices on there.
TWATPAN: You were supposed to call them. I get Jantoven not Warfarin. That's wrong.
CP: You want Jantoven?
TWATPAN: Did I stutter?
CP: <calls competitor> Their Jantoven is more than we charge. Ours is cheaper.
TWATPAN: I said I take Warfarin.
CP: Apparently you did stutter. I specifically asked if it was Jantoven and you said "did I stutter?" Let's try this again. Here are the prices they are charging. Since your one medication is below my cost, I will charge you my cost while matching the other 5 prices.
TWATPAN: First you do away with your $4 list, now you won't match prices!
CP: We never had a $4 list and I did match your prices. Are you even paying attention? I think it's about time to knock the rust off my Klingon. Pretty sure no one would notice.

<2 hours later, TWATPAN returns>

TWATPAN: You gave me the wrong prices.
CP: Pretty sure you were standing there glaring at me while I called the other pharmacy and repeated the prices out loud and you were nodding your head in assent. Or it was someone else who looked like you and acted like a toddler who didn't get a sucker. Please tell me you don't have a twin.
TWATPAN: I called them and they gave me lower prices.
CP: Since I was not privy to that conversation, what, exactly, did they say?
TWATPAN: They said with their in-store discount card, my prices would be even lower.
CP: Of course they did. That's incentive for you to go there. I can't match special offers. The cash price is the cash price. If one tire location offers free mount and balance with purchase you have to buy the tires there. You can't bring your own tires purchased elsewhere and take advantage of the free mount and balance only.
TWATPAN: You're going to lose a lot of business.
CP: Really? So far you have monopolized nearly a solid hour of manpower today. You were here for 35 minutes earlier. You called us 3 times and now you're back for another round of arguing. I lost nearly $75.00 on your 6 medications plus an hour of payroll. If you went to the other pharmacy, I would actually come out ahead.
TWATPAN: One of these days I'm going to leave.
CP: I'd like to ask you a question that has been gnawing at me since your first visit.
CP: Why do you come here? It's not for the prices. It's not for the convenience. I didn't force you to do business with me. You are free to leave at any time. Please. Why. Do. You. Come. Here?
TWATPAN: <disgusted look. storms off>
CP: Must be my award-winning personality.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Pharmacist = Medication Mentor

The most common complaint people have against my posts is that normal people do not understand the inner workings of the pharmacy. Good Point. Just as I don't understand the inner workings of the restaurant business or working the line at GM or selling stocks, I don't expect everyone to have the level of knowledge I possess about my profession.
HOWEVER, I know how to learn more about the other trades. I research it. I ask questions of the people who know what they are talking about. THEN, after getting the answers I sought, I take my newfound knowledge and improve whatever I was trying to accomplish. 

In the pharmacy world, people prefer to take what I tell them, ignore it, argue with me about it, then complain about what I told them. 
Insurance information changed? I will tell you you have a deductible. 
You will argue with me because you believe you are correct. You're not. 

I understand that it is easy for people to develop preconceived ideas. I also understand it is increasingly difficult to change these preconceptions in spite of mountains of evidence to the contrary. But YOU asked ME for my professional advice. Accept it. Improve your life with it. Remember it for next time. 

A Pretty Hollow Aged Gentleman Ignoring Advice: My wife has high blood pressure. 
CP: Phrom putting up with you?
APHAGIA: What? No. She has lots of drainage and a cough. What should I get?
CP: Away phrom her.
APHAGIA: No. To treat her.
CP: Oh. I'd say chlorpheniramine. Works quicker than the 24 hour antihistamines and shouldn't make her drowsy like Benadryl.
APHAGIA: Her doctor said no antihistamines.
CP: Curious. Why would he say that?
APHAGIA: They can increase her blood pressure.
CP: That's backwards.
APHAGIA: How so?
CP: Sudafed, which is a decongestant, can increase her blood pressure. It's also not going to do anything for her cough or the fact she is leaking. Her other choices phrom the myriad possibilities out there (read: four ingredients) include Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant that's not too good at its job and can cause nervousness, and Guaifenesin, an expectorant which she does not need if she has a dry, postnasal drip-induced cough. She has an acute condition and needs an appropriate medication.
APHAGIA: I'll just get her this Robitussin DM. It's for cough.
CP: Sure thing. Can you just sign this release phorm phor me, please?
APHAGIA: Sure. What is it?
CP: It's a standard in the pharmacy world now. It states: "I, the patient or the patient's representative who was sent to the store to ask appropriate questions and select the most appropriate therapy for my/their conditions, completely refused the expert professional's advice after a lengthy discussion and will not hold said pharmacist accountable when the medication does not work, my/their condition(s) worsen, and I am phorced to come back to the pharmacy phor the correct (original product suggested) or return to the pharmacy with prescriptions due to a worsening of initial symptoms that would have been thwarted had I listened to your expertise phrom the outset. This document serves to indemnify the pharmacist phrom all accountability due to ignorance of professional services provided here today.
APHAGIA: Wow. Seems wordy.
CP: I am witty with words and I read lots of medical studies and legal updates. It seeps in. Think of it as leaving the hospital AMA or leaving the doctor after your wife's visit for her HBP checkup and deciding not to phollow his advice on treating the HBP with medication and dietary changes. Would you do that?
CP: Still want this Robitussin DM?
CP: I was right and you lied to me.
APHAGIA About what?
CP: Your wife's high blood pressure. It is phrom putting up with you.