Thursday, May 8, 2014

The "Imitation" Product

Like most pharmacies, we sell a house generic of most popular medications. One of these is Zyrtec-D. It comes in a white/green box so it can have the same color scheme as the brand.

I gave up a long time ago on trying to save the customer money and selling them on the house brand. I don't have time to explain brand/generic and FDA legal requirements to people. If you want to blow your money on brand, go right ahead.

But one of the technicians still does her best to make money for The Authorities. These are the same Authorities that are constantly trying to cut her hours, but she's doing her job. She'd make a great technician for the company but eventually The Authorities will run her off just like they do all good technicians.

So a few days ago she saved someone some lunch money by getting them to buy the house brand. A few days later, though, the lady appeared before me on a Saturday.

"I took one tablet of your 'imitation' Zyrtec and it didn't do nuthin' for me," she spit out. She actually spit because a missing tooth allows a little spittle to escape.

Now I thought for a moment... should I try to explain to her that maybe she didn't even need Zyrtec-D to begin with? Those TV commercials are pretty convincing, after all, but what if her condition doesn't match her choice to get the advertised OTC product? I get at least three people daily asking for a specific product which doesn't have anything to do with their condition.

So I thought, maybe I should try to spend the time to counsel her, ask her about her allergies, symptoms, etc., all the while avoiding her spittle while she answered. Maybe I can get her to keep the product she purchased and not have to go through the whole complicated refund regimen on the register? Or maybe I can earn her business and get her to bring all her prescriptions to our pharmacy for future business?

My careful weighing of the options lasted less than a microsecond.

"Ok. Here's the brand. I'll charge you for the difference."

And that's it rolls in the real world of pharmacy. 


Anonymous said...

Ahha, if the picture you used was the Goofmart store brand, I know where you work! The store brand beer is really good, too, btw. Haven't tried the wine.

Anonymous said...

I use generic RXs or generic OTC and I can't tell the difference between the generics and Brand Names. Meds work and that's all that matter.

Maybe because RX generics have hard to pronounce names so people like your customers prefer Brand Name since its easier to say?

Anonymous said...

It's because, with numerous *other* consumer products, the house brand is *not* equivalent to the name brand. Go through the grocery store and you will see products like bleach where the cheap brand is simply diluted compared to the name brand. You will see household chemicals (cleaners, etc.) where the off-brand doesn't even have the same active ingredients. Your customers have had experience with such things, and they don't realize drugs are more heavily regulated.