Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ask for the NON-DROWSY Sudafed

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

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

Almost ALWAYS they feel the need to stress the "non-drowsy" part of their sentence. Then when you grab a box for them, they'll ask, "Are you sure that's the non-drowsy one?" while giving you the squint.

When you try to explain to them that there isn't a drowsy version, they just look at you like you're insane. 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?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Demotivational Hump Day... Some Problems

Some problems in pharmacy are like
a Reese's peanut butter cup...
they can't be solved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Squint of Death

A lady comes in and asks for her medication. I go to will call. There's nothing there.

"It may have been here awhile," she says.

I tell her we don't have anything for her.

"YES YOU DO!" she says, angrily.

I verify her name and date of birth. I verify her address. I look on the computer. The last time Goofmart filled anything for her was two and half years ago, and that was at another location. I tell her that.

"Nope, the doctor called it in HERE," she says.

"Maybe it was called into Flea Circus Drugs down the street, or Wagmart across the street?" I ask her.


"I don't have anything here and I don't know what to tell you."

She rolls her eyes. She grabs a business card off the counter and squints at me as she walks away.

I can't wait to see what nonsense she's going to say to Goofmart in her complaint.

Monday, June 27, 2016


Dear Narc Patient,

Today you've come to the pharmacy with a prescription from your "pain management clinic."

It clearly states on the prescription the following:

"Do not fill until [Future Date]"

[Future Date] is not today. No, there is no confusion there. No, the physician didn't make a mistake. No, I'm not going to call them and ask them to change it. No, I don't care what they told you at the office... this is a legal document and my license is on the line for what is written there, regardless of what you think the physician "meant." No, I don't care if the "other guy" would do it for you. He's not me.

You're free to take the prescription and go back to the clinic and get a new prescription that doesn't have that printed on it. But calling the clinic at the window won't accomplish anything except get the people in line behind you upset because you're in their way.

I'm sorry that you're in pain. I'm sorry that you didn't take your last prescription for Oxycodone the way it was prescribed and that now you're completely out of your medication. I believe you when you say your physician said you could take more of the medication if you needed to. But that still doesn't change the fact that he/she wrote "Do not fill until [Future Date]" on THIS prescription. And no, I won't give you some tablets to get you to [Future Date]. No, I don't care if your insurance will pay for it today, and no I don't care if you want to pay cash.

Of course you're free to take your prescription somewhere else. If by chance the other pharmacist misses this or doesn't obey the delimiter, that doesn't mean you can come back here next month and tell me the "other pharmacy" let you fill it before [Future Date] and tell me it's ok for me to do it.

No, I'm not trying to cause you pain. I'm not trying to kill you. I am not trying to be mean, or insensitive, or brutish. And calling me all these names and whatever else you can think of doesn't change the situation either.

Talking to the store manager isn't going to help. They don't have final jurisdiction in this matter and we've been down that road already.

So, actually, the best course of action is to leave the prescription with me and come back on [Future Date]. Just one thing... though... that doesn't mean it will be ready when I open the door on [Future Date]. I'll actually need time to fill it on that date.

Thank you,

Every Pharmacist, Everywhere 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ban on Prescription Drug Advertising

My recent visit to the ASHP website revealed a recent article entitled "Pharmacist Association Calls for Ban on Prescription Drug Advertising." That association is ASHP.

All well and good, except at the top of the page there's an ad... for a prescription drug:

Oh well, nice try guys. Let's go ahead and kick off that ban by starting with your own website... ok?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Know When to Fold 'Em

An insanely tall lady in her late 50s approaches me at the counter. She LOOKS like she has conjunctivitis (pink eye) and she clearly needs an antibiotic, but she wants to argue with me that she has the same exact thing she had in 1984 and she asks me what we have over the counter for her eye. I tell her that she needs to see a doctor PRONTO. Why people keep thinking that we have over the counter antibiotics is beyond me?! We've never had that. I'm sorry.

During the course of our conversation, she somehow gets the idea in her head that I have told her she needs an oral antibiotic. I correct her-- no, she probably needs something for the eye but that the doctor will make sure. I tell her there are antibiotic drops for the eye and make a couple of suggestions but that she really needs to be examined by a doctor. She asks me if the "drops" will upset her stomach and once again I realize she thinks I'm suggesting an oral antibiotic. Mind you I NEVER said anything about an ORAL antibiotic. Finally she gets the message and leaves after touching everything on the counter and now it's time to disinfect everything.

The next day I arrive midday and the tech tells me that the insanely tall lady was there in the morning with an Rx for Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment and that she was upset because I told her to talk to her doctor about "drops" for the eye and she wondered if I gave her wrong information. My partner Mickey assured her that ointment was just as good as drops and she would be fine. I think the worst of it is now over...

Later in the day, I see her approaching the pharmacy once again. This time she has several file folders in her arms and she's heading my way. As a pharmacist you need to know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away... and know when to run. 

I should have run!

She opens her folder with pages and pages of hand written notes about her eye issue from 1984. No, I'm not kidding. She tells me about EIGHT different medicines she was given for her eye condition in 1984 and how each one caused her some side effect or problem. She ended up going to three different doctors and finally ended up at a dermatologist who said she had ocular rosacea.

And so now the insanely tall woman starts grilling me about the ointment and what side effects she's going to experience. I counsel her as best I can, but there are a certain number of people out there that are just... how shall we say... sensitive to everything or think that every medication causes them an issue. I tell her that because of her past experience she will likely experience some side effect (who knows what) but that I think the doctor made the best decision with the ointment for her. She leaves, but I have a feeling there will be detailed notes added to her current file with my name in it.

So I've decided to write a song about it...

On a warm March mornin' in a pharmacy behind the counter,
I met up with the tall woman; with a red eye that would weep.
She continued askin' me questions
Until she allowed me to speak.

So I says, "Lady, I've made my life out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their conditions are by what was in their eye.
So if you don't mind my sayin', conjunctivitis is your case,
You need an antibiotic for your eye, was my advice."

So she returned the next mornin' with a script for an ointment
She wasn't happy cause I told her to get some drops for her sight
I'm not an eye guy, but that ointment was just right,
If you're gonna take my advice, ya gotta learn to listen, alright!

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never fill a prescription when you're stuck at the register,
There'll be time enough for countin' pills when the counseling is done.

Now Ev'ry pharmacist knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what scripts to throw away and knowing which ones to fill.
'Cause ev'ry patient is a winner and ev'ry patient a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to give them the right pills.

So when she finished grillin', she turned away from the window,
Closed up her 1984 folder and headed out of town.
And somewhere in the darkness, I know she'll be back...
My times a comin', she'll be back with a frown.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
I'll know when to fill a prescription or when it's the right time,
To run out of that pharmacy before the countin' is done!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Easy Open?

Ok, so I don't get it.

You unscrew the cap on a new bottle of medication. And there it is, a nicely printed tab that says "Easy open -- just pull here."

You pull. It creates a mess. 

Ok, so maybe I didn't pull right. Maybe somehow it was ME that screwed up the instructions. After all, who better to screw up instructions than a pharmacist or pharmacy technician? It's not like we type up instructions 1,000 times on a daily basis, right?

So I try again while filling another prescription. 

Nope. Same damn thing.

It must be me. Maybe because I'm a super hero I have super strength and somehow, some way that's causing the problem. I'll just slow down on the next one. Whatever it is, statistically the next one should work right, right?

Nope, did it again. Ok, this is getting ridiculous. Perhaps it's the weather? Or Karma? Or something I ate. Whatever it is, statistically the next one should work right, right?

Oh, the heck with it. I'll go home. What I need to do is relax with a new book. I'll just curl up and rest with my latest book delivered by Amazon...


Monday, June 20, 2016

Retraction: The Key to a Happier Innoculation

So a frantic lady comes in on Thursday evening wanting another syringe to give her daughter a vitamin B-12 shot. She said she broke off the needle in the bottle when she was trying to draw it up. She asked if it was ok if the needle was in there. I said probably but I offered to give her a fresh bottle of B-12. She declined.

So I gave her four extra syringes and sent her off.

She comes back on Friday to tell me that she was able to draw out the solution but she freaked out because at first she thought the syringe broke off in her daughter's arm. She was about to take her to the 'Mergency room when she finally figured it out. The needle retracted into the syringe.

I said that the name of the syringe kind of clues you in to begin with. She asked what I meant by that. I said they're called VANISH POINT syringes. (Remember the story about Mary Mess?)

Then I reminded her that a week ago when she picked up the Rx that I told her the syringe would retract. She said she didn't know what that meant then but gets it now. And of course, that's what happened before and there is no broken off needle in the B-12 vial. That one retracted too.