Saturday, August 30, 2014

Doctors have a New Job!

Now doctors are PRICE NEGOTIATORS:

Ring... ring...

"Hello, thank you for calling Goofmart Pharmacy. This is Crazy RxMan, how may I help you?"

"This is Dr. Shatner. What's your price on generic Cortef 20mg, quantity 60?"

I fiddle on the computer. It doesn't have Siri.

"$38.00 on our club card."

"That seems high. I'll call you back." <click>

Ring... ring... 

"Hello, thank you for calling Goofmart Pharmacy. This is Crazy RxMan, how may I help you?"

Yes, this is Dr. Shatner again. Wagmart has the same thing for $28.80. CostLow has the Cortef for $26.50. What can you do now?"

"We don't match prices if it is below our cost. We hardly dispense that medication so we're not eligible for rebates so I can't match the price."

"But my patient wants to come to Goofmart. Come on now, what's your best price?"

"$38.00 on our club card."

"I'll call you back." <click>

Ring... ring... 

"Hello, thank you for calling Goofmart Pharmacy. This is Crazy RxMan, how may I help you?"

"This is Dr. Shatner. I want to call in that script for Cortef..."

The doctor calls in the script. After we finish the call, I don't hand the script to the technician. I already know what is about to happen.

<Ten minutes pass>

Ring... ring... 

"Hello, thank you for calling Goofmart Pharmacy. This is Crazy RxMan, how may I help you?"

"This is Dr. Shatner again. About that Cortef script... I was able to negotiate a better price with another pharmacy, so I'm going to cancel the script I just gave you on the phone, unless you can offer me a lower price..."

"$38.00 on our club card."

<click>

I shred the script.

Price negotiation is not a doctor's duty, nor should there be any price haggling among professionals. This is not the job of a pharmacist or doctor. What this doctor did was DEprofessionalize our professions. If I wasn't so busy bagging up people's grocery purchases at the register, I would have told him all about professionalism.

5 comments:

Wordly said...

I think I see the problem. Goofmart pays too much for its grocery baggers.

Anonymous said...

I bet he just wanted to make you work, knowing full well his patient wouldn't fill it there.

Anonymous said...

the obvious thing to do is call him to negotiate a price for an office visit, maybe for one of your patients. wonder what he'd think?

Mundane Art said...

Can you explain why prices can differ drastically between pharmacies? I filled my dog's meds for $180. Because she was in pain, I didn't shop around. After I shopped around to plan for the refill. Every where else was $40! I went back to the original pharmacy to make sure there wasn't an error. He very nicely looked into it and it was their correct price. He was so apologetic even though it wasn't his fault.

I also want to thank you for this blog. I'm a professional that has to deal with medical professionals in my work. I also have a lot of my own rx's. Instead of being annoyed at the pharmacy I'm now empathetic. I try to be a model customer.

Crazy RxMan said...

Pharmacies and pharmacy chains usually deal with one supplier. As such they have to charge based on the wholesale price from the supplier. These prices are further determined by economic forces of supply and demand. Generally, the bigger the retail pharmacy, the better the buying power in the market place.

It's hard to say exactly what went on in your case, but with pet meds there is not as many people trying to buy the med, so fewer buyers often means higher cost.

I'm glad you like the blog. I hear that a lot. :)