Saturday, July 27, 2019

10 Reasons WHY your Pharmacist HATES GoodRx

1. GoodRx calls it a “coupon” — like it’s a barcode we scan at the register and it takes money off a prescription co-pay like a grocery coupon works at the register. They even show a commercial suggesting that’s how it works and that it takes only seconds. It doesn’t work that way. We have to reverse the billing we’ve done, enter in the information like an insurance card, rebill, and print new paperwork. This is extremely tedious and time-consuming, especially when people are in line at the register. 

2. When you use GoodRx, you're trading your personal and private health information for what amounts to a few bucks in savings for almost all transactions. Do you want your employer, or your insurance company, or anyone else to know you’re on anti-depressants, HIV medication, Viagra, or that you regularly get medication for genital warts? When you use GoodRx, ALL that data regarding your prescription transaction is collected and stored. GoodRx employs people to dig into it analyze it. And they use and sell that data. At one time they printed on their website that they consider your data an asset and if/when they sell their company YOUR PRIVATE DATA gets sold too. 




3. GoodRx prints a regular card with billing info on it which gives one discount then if you go to their website and put in the specific drug name you get an even deeper discount. Why is that? Because they’ve captured a specific instance of all your demographic information attached directly to the medication you had filled. This is a gold mine for them so they give a better discount. 

You also have to understand that at the pharmacy this is yet another billing nightmare. The patient gets the card handed to them by the physician or they get one in the mail and they hand it to us. So we use that billing. THEN at the register the patient pulls up the app and sees a price they expect to get at the register. When it doesn't match the pharmacy has to start all over. This wastes EVERYONE's time!

4. Using GoodRx fragments healthcare. People often get multiple prescriptions from their physician and then when they get specific GoodRx prices for each of the meds the best prices are most often not all offered at the same pharmacy. People will take each prescription to a different pharmacy to get the best GoodRx price. This is DANGEROUS! No one pharmacy knows exactly what the patient is taking and we have no idea if there are any interactions or issues. Fragmentation in healthcare is a SERIOUS problem. See this LINK.

5. GoodRx destroys the professionalism of Pharmacy. Your pharmacist provides a professional service. We went to years of schooling to keep you safe and make sure your prescriptions are correct, safe, and appropriate for you. GoodRx turns it into a cheap circus show of carnival barking where the only thing that matters is a few bucks. 

6. GoodRx takes precious time away from the pharmacy. We’re already strapped for time and GoodRx only makes it worse. Imagine you’re shopping on Amazon. Further suppose Amazon required you to put in your credit card billing information not only for every time you made a purchase but also for every single separate item you purchased online? A little tedious? You bet! And that’s the best way to describe what’s happening when you use GoodRx. The result of all this time we spend on GoodRx billing reduces the time for filling medications— so we have to speed up to keep up! And that too is DANGEROUS! Are you really ok that we are pressed for time filling your child’s antibiotic medication so someone else can save a few bucks?

7. GoodRx has people so brainwashed they insist we try it even when we already know the price will be better on their insurance. People no longer believe us and make us go through the tedious nonsense just to prove it to them. 

8. GoodRx takes money away from the pharmacy that fills the prescription. Part of the “amazing” savings is just lopped off the reimbursement the pharmacy receives. And when pharmacies make less money they turn to cutting pharmacist and tech hours at slower stores. You may save a few bucks on a prescription but overall you’re hurting the lives of the very people filling your prescription. See LINK.

9. GoodRx has infiltrated physician offices and have doctors and their staff convinced they're doing a good thing for their patients when they’re not. Moreover, we at the pharmacy would never tell a patient what their doctor's office visit should cost them. Yet physicians consistently pass out GoodRx cards to patients. This is the utmost in disrespect. 



10. GoodRx changes prescription filling from being centered around healthcare to being all about cost. I literally have patients every day more concerned (and in some cases totally consumed) about whether their prescription was run on GoodRx instead of having any interest in learning how to take the medication and what to look for with side effects. This too is INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS! Saving money is nice, but knowing how to take your medication and what to watch out for is much more important, don't you think?

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Where is the Crazy RxMan?

I'm still here.

Life has been extremely crazy even for a guy who calls himself the Crazy RxMan.

My hours as staff pharmacist were cut to 32 a week. Upper management thinks that chopping several pharmacists' salaries by 20% is perfectly reasonable. It's not ok. We have kids. Some of mine are in college. And most of us still have school loans. I pay more each month in school loans than most Americans pay for their mortgage.

So yeah, I wasn't happy about the change.

But I was told I was the only one out of 200 stores in our division that complained.

Meanwhile some that were cut left the sinking ship to find other positions with other companies in a market where it's already hard to find a pharmacist job.

The rest of us scrambled around finding positions in the company with 40 hours a week. I was lucky and transferred to another staff pharmacist position with 40 hours.

And just when you thought I hated Snootyville, now it's even worse. This location is 50% busier than my last location with only 20% more tech help. My plea for more tech help was quickly beat down. I was told we have plenty of tech help. We're just inefficient.

Right....

The phones are ringing. People are waiting at both windows. I'm trying to reprocess someone's prescription on GoodRx (for an amazing $2.08 savings) while waiting on hold to get billing information for another patient who doesn't think it's her job to have her billing information with her. And yes, she's a Medicaid recipient. Another waiter has come up to the window while another patient is there at the window to tell me "You have several people in line now" (like I didn't know that). One of the callers is the corporate office asking me why I haven't done this week's MTM list. The other caller is someone wanting to know what "Refill: 0" means on their bottle.

But it's not a labor issue. It's an efficiency issue.

I hate my job. I hate the company. I hate the people who kept opening more and more pharmacy schools and flooded the market with hundreds of pharmacists who are willing to work for 20-30% less than we made just ten years ago.

As pharmacists we no longer have any control. One bad complaint and you're on a list. A few more check marks on the list and then you're canned and replaced by a new grad willing to work 60-70 hours a week and get paid for 40 hours at a rate less than what we were making ten years ago.

We used to be respected. We had professional jobs. We used to be the most trusted health care professional. 

Not anymore. All we are now are monkeys that work and work and work with no break and no lunch and make tons of money for GoodRx and the PBMs. 



This is the dark ages for pharmacy. We seriously need to band together and do something to save what's left of our careers. 

But it may be too late.

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Stab in the Back


In many states all across the nation, national pharmacy chains have reduced their pharmacists' hourly wage. But by far the biggest thing happening is that pharmacist hours are being reduced from 40 hours a week to 32. Slice it any way you want: It amounts to a 20% pay cut.

I recall the conference call at Goofmart Pharmacy very well. The director started off by saying how proud he is of all of our pharmacists for how hard we're all working. Then he went on to say that big changes are two weeks away and wanted to assure us that the changes were in no way a reflection on the financial stability of the company itself.

Then he rolled out the plan: Cut the hours open at slower stores and reduce the staff pharmacist position to 32 hours a week. The floor was then opened for questions. No one had any questions because we were all stunned. I know my mouth was hanging open.

After years, YEARS of loyalty working for Goofmart Pharmacy, I'm now being told that my wages were suddenly being cut by 20%. Fear flooded by body as I realized that all my obligations... house payment, car payment, kids in college, bills to pay, and retirement were now all in crisis. I just sat there, in shock, as I'm sure everyone else was.

I've written before about how the market is flooded with pharmacists and I'm sure simple supply and demand weighs into this, but I'm more convinced that the profit of pharmacies everywhere, affected by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) is also hugely responsible for this nonsense. Upper management signs off on deals for razor thin profits without thinking how it will really play out in the trenches. Based on all the other amazingly stupid ideas they roll out, I wouldn't be surprised.

My gut feeling, though, tells me that at my company this is more about taking advantage of a situation in the marketplace. Upper management saw an opportunity to stick it to the pharmacists simply because other companies are doing it. I can't go into details, obviously, but I can tell you that Goofmart Grocery implements and copies their competition, implementing new policies and procedures, only because the other grocery store is doing it. 

And to me, that's just a stab in the back. Thousands of pharmacists, some with new families, others with kids in college, with house payments, car payments, and desperately trying to save for retirement have been stabbed in the back by the company they worked so hard for... hours upon hours up and beyond the 40 hours they've been paid each week.

I'm not alone. Look at this poll I ran on Twitter:


Almost 60% feel the same way I do: This is nothing more than a stab in the back. People are struggling with it, like me, and some of us feel like it truly is the end of our careers as pharmacists.

A few weeks after this new policy was implemented, the RPM was at my store for a routine visit and to tell us about a new gift card for transfer program. The new program was to give a $25 gift card for EVERY transfer... NO LIMIT. If someone has ten transfers, they get $250. No restrictions. 

So I had to ask the RPM... how is it that the company has money to throw around for gift cards for transfers but had to cut pharmacist hours?

Upper management anticipated this question well in advance and she rattled off the chosen reply off her lips quite readily:

"It's to increase script count so we can get our stores up the amount of scripts needed to get the staff pharmacists back up to 40 hours again."

I could almost picture her in front of her mirror that morning practicing delivery of that lie.

I stared at her for a moment. She's become so accustomed to lying to people that her tell was almost imperceivable. But I guess upper management doesn't realize that we see narc addicts lie to us on a daily basis and we're experts at seeing lies. She could sense I was seeing through the lie and changed the subject.

I let her continue for a few minutes, then mentioned how I had personally noticed how the daily emails from the scheduler had increased as open shifts were listed everywhere. I asked how they were dealing with the crisis.

"What crisis?" she asked.

"I heard a lot of pharmacists have left the company in search of 40 hour a week jobs and there's a lot of chaos as others are scrambling for the hours that are left."

"Oh no. There's no problem. The change was well-received..."

And then she looked me straight in the eye and said...

"You're the only one that's complained about the hour change."

How one says such a lie is beyond me. Hundreds of pharmacists just had their pay cut by 20% and I'm the ONLY one with a problem with it? And she seriously expected me to buy that lie?

This isn't over, folks. In the next few weeks I plan to discuss what I'm going to do about it. Hopefully there will be enough interest with others to save our careers. One man alone can't do it, but all of us together CAN do something.

Stay tuned....


Monday, April 22, 2019

The No-Win Scenario

It's inevitable. At some point in your pharmacy career, you will be faced with the no-win scenario... your own Kobayashi Maru.

It happened to me recently. I muddled through it, but the consequences have yet to be determined. At some point I'm sure this will reflect negatively on my career. 

But there was nothing I could do. There was no way to win. 

Let me explain the situation...

Patient Number One: An elderly, dignified lady there to pick up medications for her and her daughter. She happens to be black, and that's part of the story.

Patient Number Two: A complete jerk about age 40, never ever happy with pharmacy service at our pharmacy. One time he came to the pharmacy when I was sitting IN A CHAIR typing scripts and tech was sitting IN A CHAIR taking a break. The jerk wasn't happy that he wasn't helped within five seconds and made a complaint with upper management. The next day all the chairs disappeared from the pharmacy. I should also add that this jerk has made a number of racial slurs on occasion.

The Scenario: The elegant lady steps up to the counter to get her medication. She's clearly next in line as we have a workflow direction from start to finish... a "start here" sign AND an "exit here" sign. Only an imbecile of epic proportions would ignore the signage.

Seconds after the lady steps up to get her medication, Imbecile Jerk steps past the "exit here" sign and stands right next to the lady. I mean he's RIGHT NEXT to her, invading her personal space. She then looks uncomfortable because it IS uncomfortable. He's trying to push his way into being first or bully her.


In a split second my mind considers the possible outcomes of this encounter. 

* I tell the lady that Imbecile Jerk is next and that I'll be with her in a moment. Then she'll think I'm a racist when she was clearly next in line. This will affect all future interactions with this lady. I'll be branded as a racist when I'm not and race relations in the United States will continue to decline. 

* I tell the Imbecile Jerk that he needs to step over to the "wait here to protect patient privacy" which will infuriate him. He will think I'm putting her ahead of him. And HE WILL complain. In a normal world an upper manager would listen to my side of the story and dismiss the complaint. But we don't live in a normal world. We live in a world where upper management is also populated by imbeciles that accept any complaint at face value despite how preposterous it is.

* The lady and Imbecile Jerk interact and argue over who was next, causing Imbecile Jerk to throw out racial slurs and the whole thing will just be horribly ugly and at some point in the future I'll end up signing another warning letter because upper management will say it's all my fault.

I'm not Captain Kirk and I have no way of reprogramming the situation. In the split second my pulse quickens and I feel sick knowing there is no way to win. Oh why, or why did I choose a career working with the public? Why? Why have I chosen this constant daily punishment? 

In that moment of dread and fear I decide to do the only thing I felt I could do. I lied. I broke a commandment. Angels in heaven recorded it. Satan smiled as he prepared a special room for me in hell.

I told the lady that I was still working on filling her prescription and that I'd have it ready in a few minutes. She looked a little disappointed but mostly relieved to get away from Imbecile Jerk standing next to her.

I quickly grabbed the jerk's medication off the shelf. It's a zero co-pay because he's on Medicaid and he's off without saying anything (or signing our signature capture device because he refuses every time). Thank the old gods and the new ones in Westeros because Imbecile Jerk is gone.

When the lady returns I apologize for the behavior of the man that stepped up right next to her. I told her that the guy "has issues" (which isn't a lie -- he's a total psycho) and doesn't understand personal space. She was understanding and nice about it.

So did I win the No-Win Scenario? Maybe. But based on the bad luck I've had so far in this job I'm sure there's something about this encounter that will bite me in the butt eventually.

Monday, April 15, 2019

I'll Be Talking to YOUR Supervisor

Hello, Goofmart Pharmacy, this is Crazy RxMan, how may I help you?

"Yes, who is this?"

This is Crazy.

"I spoke to a gentleman the other day with a really cute name. Is he there?"

Mickey is his name. He's off today.

"No, it wasn't Mickey. Does he go by another name? Who else works there?"

I'm Crazy. We have Flynn and Tim the techs and Mickey the other pharmacist.

"No, it was a really cute name. What's his name?"

Mickey. Like Mickey Mouse. He's the only other person here with me and the techs.

"NO NO NO. That's NOT it. It was Tuesday that I called. Who was there TUESDAY???!"

Mickey and Flynn work here on Tuesday. Mickey works the entire day.

"Well it wasn't Mickey. I don't know what YOUR issue is, but I'll be talking to your supervisor."


<click>

Monday, April 8, 2019

@GoodRx Tactic: When Faced with a Difficult Question, LIE

When faced with hard questions on Twitter, Doug Hirsch chose to not answer the questions and then falsely accused your friendly neighborhood Crazy RxMan of threatening him, his business, and his family. 

Doug Hirsch, you're a creepy liar.

Dear reader, if you're a regular follower of the Crazy RxMan then you know I'm no fan of GoodRx. GoodRx adds a LOT of extra work at the pharmacy, adds time to fill a prescription, reduces profits at the pharmacy, fragments healthcare, and it's all for "amazing savings" that usually amounts to just a few bucks for the average consumer. And, most damning of all, it is COMPLETELY at the EXPENSE of YOUR personal, private, and confidential health information.

If you truly and honestly think that you're just getting a lower price at the pharmacy counter by using GoodRx without the cost being shifted somewhere else then quite frankly, you're naive. Nothing is free in this world. That cost is your private health care information.

I've written a number of blog posts on GoodRx. This LINK will give you a comprehensive list of EVERY blog post I've written about GoodRx.

A friend of mine on Twitter and fellow pharmacist, @GeekPharm, had an exchange of tweets with Doug Hirsch (@DougJoe) on Twitter. Doug decided to get involved with a discussion he wasn't actually involved in to begin with. Here's the brief exchange:



Here Doug Hirsch denies that GoodRx sells private information, but when specifically pinned down on the company's intentions with private and personal patient data, he deflects answering the question.

@GeekPharm tries to pin him down again, using a screen shot from one of my blog posts:



And again, let me explain to you that the GoodRx website used this exact phrase about your personal information:

"As we develop our business, we may buy or sell assets, and, depending upon the transaction, YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION may be one of the transferred assets."

This is NOT a typo. They published this on their website. It wasn't long after I posted a blog post about it that they changed their wording. You can use the Wayback Machine and dial it up! 

When faced with the screen shot, Hirsch ran like a scared puppy pissing all the way down the street.



And as @GeekPharm points out, he didn't deny what is (or what was) published on their own website.

And if you didn't catch it, Hirsch accused ME of threatening him, his company, and his family.

Hirsch, you're a miserable liar.

Once again, here is the LINK to EVERY blog post I've made about GoodRx. SHOW ME where I ever threatened anyone! I have not deleted any blog posts. Don't believe it? Then look on the Wayback Machine. It's a permanent record of everything ever posted on the Internet. And it will show that not only did your company publish the part about private data being an asset, it will also show that there is NO threat made by me to you, your family, or your miserable company.

People, when the CEO of a company defends their nefarious activities by making false accusations, maybe it's really time to legally delve into the matter and look at what's really going on behind the curtain. There's some seriously wrong things going on a GoodRx and YOUR personal and private health information is being bought and sold on the open market like a commodity. When faced with the hard questions, instead of denying it, the CEO tries to shift the attention first to other company's policies and procedures and then tries to make me out to be threat.

Doug Hirsch, you're a sad, sorry little man for making that accusation. The only threat I am to you is exposing the truth, and that scares the hell out of you.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Shingrix Nut

A lady came by on Tuesday to ask if we have Shingrix. I said no, but we’re getting some on Friday. "Come in on Saturday — there’s no wait," I said...

She stops back in 15 minutes. 

She wants to make sure. I said yes.

She calls an hour later to ask Flynn the tech to write her name down for two shots: her and her husband. He tells her no problem.

Wednesday she calls to make sure we’re going to hold two shots for her. I said yes, of course. She wants to know if she will have to get a third booster because Saturday will be six months and a day and she was told two to six months for the booster. I tell her it’s only a day and not to worry about it.

Thursday she called and spoke to Mickey the manager. He assured her we would save two shots for her and her husband.

Friday she calls in the morning to check if we received our shipment. Flynn the tech confirms it and that we will definitely hold two shots for her and her husband.

Friday she shows up at 5pm when we’re in complete dinner hour chaos and says they’re there to get their shots.

I look at her, puzzled. I said, "It’s not Saturday."

She says, "But tomorrow will be past six months. I have to have it today. And I don't want you to run out."

I’m quite perturbed now. The demon inside me is ready to appear. I’m trying to fill like forty-three prescriptions at the same time when this nut job shows up when we’re going crazy.

Flynn tries to work with her insurance. Our “don’t you just love it” software has some flaws when you’re inputting insurance info. I end up calling the insurance company to verify the info. We have the right info but because it was entered slightly incorrect the first time it won’t let you change it. It keeps telling you that you already put it in. Even if you delete the info and start fresh it tells you that it’s already in there. It's a huge bug with the new software.

The lady sees I’m upset and asks Flynn, “Is he going to hurt me since he’s mad?”

The demon appears.

“Did you really just ask that? I’m a healthcare professional!”

She says she was just kidding.

Flynn puts it on a discount card and we plan to just figure out the insurance later since we're swamped. While he’s been fussing with the software I’ve been filling scripts like mad.

I get the shots ready and ask, "Who’s first?"

She decides to go first. 

I ask, "Ok, which arm?"

She can’t decide. 

The demon appears again.

"Ok, YOU stand aside while YOU figure it out. Let me do your husband's shot."

Ok ok ok, left arm!” She wails.

Then she makes her husband go in the room with her and hold her hand.

Euthanize me. Seriously. I don't even care if it's painful. Anything is better than this.