Thursday, May 22, 2014

Patients Get Specific

If you're a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, this will make perfect sense to you.

People, for whatever reason, feel the need to add extra words to their request or statement. Example:

"Where's the non-drowsy Claritin-D?"

Sometimes they feel the need to stress the "non-drowsy" part of their sentence. And when you try to explain to them that there isn't a drowsy version, they just look at you like you're pulling a fast one on them. I think it might be the power of advertising... a TV ad which tells the views to "Ask for the non-drowsy Zyrtec-D at your pharmacy counter!" so that's exactly what they do. Have we become so dumb-downed in our society that everything must have a clarifying adjective added?

It just sounds stupid on our end. It would be like asking:

"Where's your pain-relieving Tylenol?"

Oh, that's right next to the non-pain-relieving Tylenol.

"Do you have any vitamin-containing supplements?"

Yes, it's on the aisle with the placebo vitamins.

"Where are your sterile band aids?"

We keep them separate from the non-sterile band aids to prevent contamination.

And all this makes perfect sense... until you get this question, which I did yesterday:

"Where's the non-drowsy Benedryl?"


Anonymous said...

Non drowsy Benedryl...HAHAHAHA! Benedryl, or, more specifically, the store brand stuff that is a lot cheaper than the name brand, knocks me on my ass each and every time I take it. I need to take it while near my bed or I'm not making it to bed! I am amused that ZzzQuil is just Benedryl, but they market it so that people are willing to spend more money to get it. Just get the cheap, generic Diphenhydramine, people, that's all it is.

Anonymous said...

Actually there is a 'Non Pain Relieving' Tylenol and its called Simply Sleep, with Tylenol on the front.
I've read some of your blog, it can be funny, but not everyone is as smart as you are, clearly.
I understand this is a blog, but its a little intimidating to know pharmacists and techs have a good laugh on those that don't know medications as well as you.
I'm not a Dr, med student or pharmacist, just a medicated American who would rather not be.

Crazy RxMan said...

What I'm poking fun at is the companies that are advertising their OTC medications with clarifying adjectives that are unnecessary and redundant. They are unnecessary and redundant. They are unnecessary and redundant. (Am I making my point?. They think John Q. Public is stupid and needs to ask for "non-drowsy Claritin-D."

"Simply Sleep" is a product containing diphenhydramine (brand name Benedryl). It is an antihistamine which causes drowsiness. It's the same thing in ZzzQuil. ZzzQuil is made by NyQuil and they put their "NyQuil" name on it because of the perceived brand appeal. Mostly it is to fool the less intelligent into thinking that it is some new magic product for sleep. The company Tylenol (that markets the DRUG acetaminophen) is SIMPLY doing the same thing (pun intended).

From a business standpoint I understand the appeal of branding to sell other products. Most of the public is clearly confused by all the OTC medication choices which actually boil down to just a handful of options.

What I take exception with is companies that have so run out of ideas that they market drugs that have been around for decades under a new name. They charge more money for their "amazing new drug" when it is available in generic for so much less.

Please see for an example of how powerful advertising and branding really is among the weak-minded.

If you think your pharmacist is laughing, imagine all the laughter in the board rooms of ZzzQuil and Simply Sleep.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago, I had a lady that had to have "Claritin Clear." She would not buy the Claritin, and went somewhere else to find a real pharmacy that knew what they were talking about.


Anonymous said...

Your examples (i.e. pain relieving Tylenol) are actually a little different than "Non-Drowsy Claritin". Non-drowsy is highlighting the absence of a side's not actually what the medication is intended to treat. An example of that for Tylenol would be "Gentle on your stomach Tylenol".
Either can laugh all you want, but by linking those phrases with the brand name, Claritin's helping people to ask for the product (without the side effects) that they actually want/need.