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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

These Are Our Terms

I was inspired by this conversation related to me recently: 

"‘I’m sick of making extra trips up here. You all are never open past 6 on the weekend and at Rite Aid someone would sell me my prescriptions even after the pharmacy is closed.’
‘No sir our hours have us closing at 6 both days so I apologize for that inconvenience.’
‘Rite Aid had much better customer service than Walgreens.’
‘Thanks for choosing Walgreens and have a great rest of your day.’
#readthepostedhours #takeyourscriptssomewhereelse #sosickofapologizingforthingsoutofourcontrol"

Fine. He's frustrated with the Rite Aid to Walgreens switch. I get it.
And there are plenty of people forced to use a pharmacy, not necessarily the one of their choice.

However, if you do choose to do business with a new pharmacy, do not blame the workers. Learn to live within the confines they have established.

What really bothers me about people in general is their attitude that we should change our business to accommodate them. If you choose to do business with a company, you have to live within their established operation.
If you leave my pharmacy which is open from 8-10 M-F and 9-6 Sat and Sun, for a pharmacy which is open 8-6 M-F and CLOSED weekends, you cannot complain to the new pharmacy that "my last pharmacy had more convenient hours and you need to change yours to accommodate my needs". You chose to leave convenience for price or quality or whatever reason that felt more important to you.

I recently spoke with a man whose daughter switched schools. The new school required they purchase a specific calculator. He proceeded to send messages to the school complaining there were cheaper versions available; that this expensive calculator ($90.00) was unnecessary for her school (she'd likely use it for the rest of her academic career, including through college); and he shouldn't be forced to purchase it. As I tried to explain to him, YOU chose the school. YOU chose to leave her old school. YOU have to live within the parameters they offer.
You don't get to complain.
Either accept the terms and move on or, simply move. On. . .

The same goes with choosing your pharmacy.
I'm sorry we no longer live in a time when pharmacies (and all retailers, for that matter) were closed on Sundays and Holidays. You had one option if your forgot your prescription refill or the gravy on Thanksgiving - Suck it up, Buttercup.

The best part of living in America right now? The freedom of choice. You can choose to switch pharmacies. 
(But the other one is too far away.) That is still a choice.
(But the other one doesn't take my insurance.) Heard of Mail Order? Maybe change medications and use discount cards?
You can "But But But" all day long, but it doesn't change the fact that you have a choice.
Just don't complain to me about your choice. I didn't make it and I don't care. I have people to help who did choose me and love what I have to offer.
("If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.")

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Don't Break Me Down

CP: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to discuss a strange request. 
ME: What now? 
Myself: You need to phind some phriends. These discussions are killing us. 
CP: Well, the issues are killing me so it's only phair I share. 
ME: Phine. What's got your panties in a bundle this week? 
CP: I received a prescription for birth control. 
ME: You're on the pill? 
CP: No, dimwit. At work. It came via e-script for a patient. 
Myself: Makes a whole lot more sense. 
CP: Moving on. It was for 12 tablets. 
ME: Okay. So you fill the pack, she takes the 12 tablets, then tosses the rest. Easy Peasy. 
CP: Except she wanted me to only sell her the 12 tablets. 
Myself: Like, pop them out? 
CP: Exactly. 
ME: How would that work? 
Myself: Do you get to pick which 12 tablets? Like 3 blue, 7 pink, and 2 white? 
CP: Right? They come in a set. 
ME: It's like trying to open a 12-pack of beer. I really only feel like drinking 9 tonight. I'm just going to leave the other 3 here. Can you prorate the cost for me? Thanks. 
Myself: Do people really expect that elsewhere? Like taking 3 rolls of toilet paper out of a 4-pack? 
CP: Well there are the people who only need 2 tablets of Bisacodyl for their bowel preps and don't want to buy the 25-count box. 
ME: Maybe we should just change our business model. We could be the first to open bulk containers and allow patients to purchase only what they need. 
CP: You mean like we already do? With 100-, 500-, and 1000-ct bottles behind the counter? 
ME: No. We open all the packages. Birth control, vitamin drops, OTC products, creams and other topicals, and ooh! inhalers!
Myself: What? How would we do that? 
ME: We just have a community inhaler open at all times. We could charge patients by the puff. 
CP: You've lost it, my phriend. Although we could cut the costs to patients. If each patient had her own MDI (the plastic mouthpiece), we could just insert the canister, allow them their dose of 1 or 2 puffs, then charge them accordingly. 
ME: No cooties! 
CP: Yes. Thank you. 
Myself: So did birth control girl buy the whole pack? 
CP: Yes. She had no choice. I'm not sure why it was an issue anyway. She had no copay on her insurance. I just explained perhaps she'd need it again and would have enough for another round. 
ME: Like buying the full case of beer in anticipation. 
CP: Precisely. Which is what I did after this conversation. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Shot In The Arm

ME: CP, what are your thoughts on this article?
CP: I read the article with interest. Who wouldn't want kids to get vaccines?
Myself: Goats need shots too!
CP: Kids, as in Children. Tiny Humans.
Myself: Of course.
ME: I sense something amiss or you wouldn't be talking to us.
CP: Well, the Senator had me agreeing with him until his brain farted this quote through his mouth: “You’re literally in and out of there in 15 minutes, as opposed to making an appointment with your doctor, waiting an hour, going through all the procedure, and ultimately it’s less expensive," Diegnan said."
Myself: Apparently he didn't speak with any pharmacists about this proposed bill.
CP: It's politics. He came up with a good idea, but ran with it and opened his mouth before researching it.
ME: Did he make sure ALL insurances will cover vaccines for children as young as 3yo at a pharmacy? Did he include language that mandated extra tech help (since many pharmacies have cut tech AND intern hours) during vaccine season? Did he allow pharmacists to receive reimbursement for the extra work through direct billing? (We have had an NPI since we started administering vaccines. Wouldn't it be nice if we could bill the insurance for the administration fee since WE are the ones administering?)
CP: Right. It's great that you're improving access to healthcare. It's tremendous and laudable and you should definitely pat yourself on the back. HOWEVER, do not guarantee how I will do my job, Senator. I'll make you a deal, Senator. Come to my pharmacy. Work with me for a couple hours. I'll show you everything I have to do in a day and you can play tech for me. When you understand my job, then you can tell people how it works. Until you pay me a visit and ask what I want or need, do not open your mouth and speak for me. It's people like you (politicians and prescribers) who speak before thinking and make our jobs more difficult.
ME: Well stated. I'd like to add that, not only should he make sure ALL insurances allow billing of vaccines for children, but that it's easy to bill medical and prescription insurance through any pharmacy. How about mandating that ALL insurances pay for preventive care for ALL patients, regardless of age? I especially like the part where the pharmacists should get paid the administration fee. If we receive prescribing rights, he should ensure that we as pharmacists get the credit for writing the prescriptions as well. I mean, it's only fair since pharmacies are paying some prescriber to use her name as a protocol doctor in many states. Pay me instead, right?
CP: Definitely.
Myself: But what about the poor goats?!


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

How The Retail Mind Warps

When it's been one of those days/weeks/hours and your brain turns to mush. . . 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Shingrix Battle Royale

Uber-Tech: We got Shingrix in today!
CP: Amazing!
UT: What should we do with it?
CP: Ideally we'd administer it.
UT: Right. But how shall we decide who gets it?
CP: Good question.
UT: Call off the list?
CP: The list we shredded a few months ago?
UT: First come, first-served?
CP: Nah. There's no phun in that. People have been acting like asses every time they inquire as to our current stock. We need to exploit this behaviour.
UT: Cage match?
CP: Better.
UT: Gladiator?
CP: I like it. I'm thinking Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
UT: Aha. Two men enter, one man leaves!
CP: Can't you just picture it? Throw them all in the Dome and drop their walkers and canes down to use as weapons. I'd be willing to bet they'd get rather creative with their attacks.
UT: Well they have acted quite poorly throughout this whole manufacturer backorder/supply shortage over the last 6 months. They seriously act as though it is life-and-death.
CP: Exactly. Let's run with this. Perhaps we can get GSK to sponsor the Dome. We can hold matches every Friday and Saturday, before the early-bird dinner specials start.
UT: We could even have winner bracket battles for the second shot in 2 to 6 months.
CP: Yes! Repeat business. We could make cult heroes out of the winners; get them a Facebook page and twitter phollowing. We could sell the pay-per-view rights or livestream it in the nursing homes.
UT: Imagine the merchandise. Otto "The Octogenarian" Walkers. Connie "The Cardiac Kid" Canes.
CP: I like it. I think we found our new revenue stream to combat the DIR and PBM fees. We could even extend this to other medications on backorder. "Join us next week when new battles take place for Lorazepam and Methocarbamol!"