Sunday, December 28, 2008

While we bailout other businesses...

... why isn't our government taking a look at our healthcare system? I mean we all know it's seriously fucked. We all know that we as a nation could literally save billions of taxpayers dollars a year if some common sense was used.

Case in point, Albuterol CFC is almost officially dead (obit coming later this week) being replaced by it's step-brothers and sisters of the HFA family. The cost has gone from roughly $12 per CFC inhaler (that's prior to the shortage) to about $27 per HFA inhaler.

Now one would assume that medicaid would switch to paying for one of the albuterol HFA inhalers (either ProAir, Ventolin or Proventil). The most expensive of these is about $35 bucks or so. I mean, c'mon, that would be the logical thing to do right? So you know there is no way in hell they would do that. What do they pay for instead? Xopenex HFA.

They will pay for one of the most expensive inhalers out there instead of the cheapest.

The kicker? They have tried telling us that Xopenex and albuterol are the same things. Um...... no the fuck they are not. Advil and Motrin, that's the same thing. Vicodin and Lortab 5, that's the same thing. Xopenex and albuterol are NOT the same fucking thing. One is albuterol the other is levalbuterol. Sure they're in the same class and they do the same thing, but they are in no way the same medication. And then to tell me I can just switch it without the doc's ok? This little fuckin high school dropout running the phones, because ya know she's had oh so much schooling on medications, is trying to convince me I can do this. I finally hung up on the twat once I realized I wasn't going to get anywhere with her. And yes, I just used the word twat, sue me.

You have to wonder how many mindless techs she told this too who went ahead and did just what she suggested. That's downright scary. Luckily I had written her name down and was intending to report her until I heard similar stories from others whom had talked to other medicaid reps. Oh joy.

So while we give out billions do businesses who fucked themselves on their own, it's nice to know that our government is doing the same thing to themselves. Only problem is, who the hell is gonna bail them out?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ridin' the Short Bus

I'm going to quiz those of you who travel to this spectacular, yes I'm ego-building, blog. I would like for you to look at the picture below and pick one of the options below. That is all, no strings attached.

You drive up to your local pharmacy and notice this sign on the drive thru window (ignore the glare). You then proceed to do which of the following:

A) Sit in front of the window for 15 minutes hoping someone will notice

B) Ring the bell and then sit in front of the window for 15 minutes

C) Ring the bell a minimum of a dozen times in under two minutes, then sit there for 15 minutes

D) Bang on the window with your fist, and then sit there for 15 minutes

E) Honk your horn, and then sit at the window for 15 minutes.

Got your answer? Good. Now post it in the comments section. Make sure you post your address too. Why you may ask? So I can drive to your house, knock on your door, and smack you upside of the head with a 2x4. You are with the other 18 dumbfucks that followed one of these options the other day. Darwinism does not apply to you. When your giggling to yourself and playing with your belly button on a daily basis I really hope your content with yourself.

Whew I feel better

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Yearly Christmas Warning

I designated myself as the person who must give the yearly Christmas warning that so many people are unaware of. I mentioned it in passing last year, but I shall reiterate my point again this year.

Santa is a pedophile.

Right now you're going, "He is so full of shit" or "What the fuck is he thinking?" or "Someone got into the Lortabs today...", but hear my argument out before you judge.

First off he is a strange old fat man who caters only to children. Go google images for pedophile, I betcha 89% of the pics that pop up fit that description. Then he wants you to hop up in his lap and whisper in his ear what it would take for them to be happy. And he does this in a mall nonetheless. Eleven other months of the year, parents would scream pedophile and run like hell away from him. Yet for that one month a year it is perfectly acceptable.

Now think of some of the songs about him.

"He sees you when you're sleeping." So the creepy old man who likes to have kids on his lap is watching said child while he sleeps? What, is he sitting in the closet with rubber gloves and some KY?

"He knows if you've been bad or good." Once again, the sick son of a bitch is stalking your kid. He's probably got a satellite dedicated just to track his 'favorites' to see if they've been 'bad or good'.

But that's not all. You must leave a plate of cookies and milk out for him. You might think that may be innocent, but there is more sinister motives here. He uses the cookies to lure the kids to him. Then he heats the milk, a la warm milk toddy, in order to get them to fall asleep so he can have his way with him. I mean the man likes to go up and down chimneys, what does that say about him.

And the elves... don't get me fuckin started on the elves. The only adults he is around are little people? C'mon! I mean all he's missing is Bobo the monkey and he'd be Michael-freakin'-Jackson.

The moral of the story is... watch out for this sick pervert. Keep your kids away from him and check for cameras. Only you can stop this travesty from happening year after year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feel like pimpin'

I try not to pimp other website as that would make me no better than the advertisers were are inundated with on a regular basis. Then again, I do love bein' a pimp.

In any case, I have belong to a website for several years that creates some of the most remarkable wallpapers I have found. It is just one guy who is lucky enough to be doing this for a living from his home. You can get a glimpse of his work in the free gallery in the link below. Perhaps the most attractive part of the place is that he listens to the comments of members and incorporates their thoughts into adjustments or entire new wallpapers.

If you work for a business with a forward facing computer terminal, I personally use his wallpapers as a slide show to entertain customers. I've actually had a few join the site after the fact.

In any case, I think it's something that should definitely be checked out.

Digital Blasphemy

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Gotz Skillz

I was training some fresh meat... er a new tech earlier today and I happened to mention the bad ass skills you inadvertently acquire throughout the years. They are not anything one would normally think about, but they are tricks which may impress your friends.

1) Letter folding. I can tri-fold any paper to fit in an envelope like nobody's business. I would kick so much ass at a letter folding company, they would fire every one else leaving only me.

2) Opening child proof bottles with one hand. I'm like fucking Houdini when it comes to this one. It will occasionally shock people when they see it done. Surprised clowns don't do this trick at birthday parties.

3) I can visually ID damn near any tablet/capsule. This may be pathetic, but I generally have a photographic memory of the look of meds. I can tell you that its Levothyroxine 112mcg Lannett brand without consulting Ident-a-drug or any manual.

4) I can spot a bullshitter/druggie from a mile away. This is really handy when meeting people for the first time, especially a friend's significant other.

Yes I know you're highly impressed, and I'm sure that there are more that I am forgetting at the moment. Now aren't you all jealous of my fiance?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I write too much

Just realized as I glanced at my blogger dashboard that I am nearing two hundred posts. Think about that, that is 200 rambling, bitching, nonsensical posts. I never thought this would last more than a dozen posts personally. Blogging, contrary to what some may believe, is not as easy as it seems. It is quite difficult to come up with an original posting as I have often partially written a post, only to realize I posted the same thing nine months back. I'll actually get ideas for posts while at work or in class and will jot down the ideas on some scrap paper for later. I'm sure my fiance wonders just what the hell some of these things are when she sees them floating around.

And writers block... it bites you in the ass every couple months. Plus you have to make the posts entertaining and relevant for the readers. I don't just spew off whatever I want here, I do my best to entertain and educate the readers. It seems to be paying off as in recent weeks the readership has more than doubled, go me.

This has also become a good place to blow off steam. I read an unofficial study a few weeks back that said those in pharmacy have one of, if not the highest, incidences of alcoholism. Lord knows I can understand why.

It's also been interesting to keep a bit of anonymity while writing this. Another reason this blog was created was to cut down on the e-mails of my adventures at work. Several people who come here know who I am, and several times I have had to edit comments so as not to reveal specifics about me. That part has been interesting as well. I actually just got around to adding my disclaimer to the site, oops.

I could bitch and moan about the system more. I could go into the politics behind the industry and how we readily get reamed up the ass. I save those for Jim and TAP and TAestP and Drug Monkey as they are more experienced and more eloquent than I am at the moment. I am merely a college student on a long and arduous ride which sometimes proves to be immensely interesting. Ironically enough some of us do communicate back and forth regarding certain posts and issues.

It is currently Saturday night. This is my break from studying vaccines and immune responses for one of my finals next week. Ironic to think that the place I created to blow off steam is where I now come to relax now.

Time to get off the soap box and get back to work... and eventually write two hundred more posts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Beast.... Continued

Apparently the bat story is giving the testicle story a run for the most popular post on the blog. Funny how that posts involving me looking like a jackass are the most popular, but I digress.

My mother sent the bat story to one of the larger radio stations in the region. Apparently they liked it so much they sent me a sizable gift certificate and supposedly read it on the air. The latter I am still waiting to get a copy of from the radio station.

In any case I did some math and discovered that hunting the back amounted to $6.25 an hour. The moral of the story is, stay in school. It doesn't pay to hunt bats.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jingle Jingle Jingle

Christmas is the season of giving, being kind to your fellow man, and feeling like shit whenever you're out shopping. What's with the latter you may be asking? Everywhere you go you hear the 'jingle jingle jingle' of the Salvation Army Collection bins. And every time you walk right past one you either get a look from the person ringing the bell or just generally feel like a doofus.

Now I have nothing against what they do, I think it's a great endeavor. The thing is I went to a few places after work and ran into four of those. I hardly ever have cash on me normally, yet alone enough to cover four donation bins. If I had the money, I would most certainly give it to them.

Instead you get looks from the other three. They remind me of the looks your parents would give you when you did something bad when you were younger. The, "I'm disappointed in you look" when all you really wanted was for them to scream at you. Ya know, that look.

Perhaps they should start handing out stickers when you donate each time so they'll at least know you're not a chump. Plus I'm a poor college student as it is, so it's not like I have cash flowin outta my ass.

Just a random musing at the end of a long day...

Monday, December 8, 2008

MRSA shall be defeated!

A few months ago the major public presses were going wild with a rise in MRSA infections. For those who don't remember, MRSA, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, is an infection which is resistant to most forms of treatment. There are several strains which have been isolated which are resistant to virtually all known forms of treatment. Essentially if are infected with MRSA, which usually happens in communal settings (mainly a hospital), chances are the docs may have a hell of a time getting rid of it.

It is a very serious problem which will only becoming worse over the coming years. Over prescribing of antibiotics and generally lack of understanding of bacteria has effectively left only the strongest of the strains remaining. Most of these are gram negative bacteria, which are even harder to fight due to their double membranes.

In recent years the mechanism behind resistance in bacteria has begun to be understood. There are several factors regarding it, the permeability of the outer membrane, side chains of the antibiotics, polarity, etc, but the big bad boy have been the efflux pumps. Efflux pumps remove antibiotics from the cell once they finally make their way in. Think of them like a bilge pump on a ship. Except that these pumps, in the most resistant strains, move EVERYTHING out. It's like the mother of all shop vacs in a cell. And it's a huge pain in the ass when trying to kill it.

There are several options on how to combat this, none of which are viable at the moment. You can increase the permeability of the bacteria (basically let the antibiotics in faster than they can be pumped out), bind a substrate to the pump (pretty much put a plug in it) and the last option is to alter what the pumps push out. While reading through all these studies, most of which read like a thick ass pound cake, I came across a treatment in the later option that was rather intriguing. They have found that Verapmil and Reserpine inhibit the pumps and allow antibiotic concentrations to rise.

Think about that now. How long have those drugs existed? How many people the world over have been on such a regiment? That's pretty damn cool if you ask me, that something which has been used for years and years has yet another viable function.

They will never be used in humans as a treatment as the levels needed to inhibit the pumps are highly neurotoxic. There is also issues with purification of the needed amounts of the compounds. What they are doing instead is using those two drugs as a start point to construct new, less toxic variations to inhibit pump function. It is one of the most promising fields of micro and molecular biology at the moment.

Stumbled across this while writing a paper on antibiotic resistance in bacteria for my microbiology class. Was a vastly interesting tidbit that I thought all the other pharmacy nerds would enjoy.

Now back to my macroeconomics paper on universal health care :D

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another what would you do...

Let's say you're the owner of several pharmacies. Let's also say that over the past few years you have caught several employees stealing drugs from you, namely hydrocodone, and selling them on the street. Additionally one of those persons was a store manager who attempted to sell 4,000 tablets to an undercover federal agent.

Now let's also assume that you know a clerk in one of your stores is stealing the same items. Would you then order nearly 30,000 tablets to keep on hand for that store?

If you answer yes, you are the owner of the place I work for. Bunch of fuckin dumbasses...

Friday, December 5, 2008

A 'Me First' Society

If there is one thing I have learned over the past year it is how immensely selfish and greedy people are in this country. In pharmacy you see it on a regular basis, people want their medications right now and for no cost, despite the fact there is considerable cost and time put into their medications. It is a 'Me First' and 'Right Now' mentality that causes the majority of the problems on a daily basis.

It appears as if this has moved into every aspect of our lives. The majority of the reason we are in this economic crisis is that businesses often put their own goals ahead of the country's, and everyone else's, goals. They became extremely greedy and we are now paying the price for it. Greed is not a bad thing, it is what causes us to strive to become better than what we are, but in excess it is crippling.

One of the items which bothers me the most about elections is the emphasis on tax cuts. To the common man, a tax cut appears at instant cash in their pocket. But think of what one is giving up by not paying those taxes. Education, for one, loses funding as does several other areas of government. What happens then? People whine that their streets aren’t being fixed or that there’s too many students per teachers, yet they aren’t willing to pay more to get what they want. The local school district is facing such a crisis that they are considering closing school for January, moving to a 4 day week, closing one of the schools and eradicating classes such as Music, Gym, Art and other ‘non-essential’ classes. Everyone knows that those aforementioned classes are really what sparks creativity in young students and helps to encourage them to learn more.

Using education cuts as an example, the quality of education will decrease even farther. Today we are well behind the education of virtually every other developed nation in the world and are, in fact, dangerously close to dropping below that of some undeveloped nations. Even the brightest individual will not be able to succeed without a proper education.

Now those without kids are thinking this won’t affect them and they’ll still have that extra money from the cash cuts. Then consider this, lower education standards results in a lower quality worker. Do you want the person working on your car or building your house or perhaps even your doctor have insufficient skills compared to their counterparts in other nations? It will in fact cost more in the long run to make up for these deficiencies. Yes you have your $1,000 today, but you may wind up paying far far more than that over the coming years.

Then again no one seems to think about the big picture. Education was just an example, there are numerous other areas which would suffer. Already we have doled out trillions of dollars to big business, another debate for another post, yet we are still promising tax cuts. How the hell does that make any sense?

Detractors state that an individual should be able to keep as much of their income as possible as that was what the country was founded for. That is true, except for the fact that 21st century America has a far deeper infrastructure than 18th century America. Those days are long gone, and one needs to contribute to ‘Big Government’ to maintain our standard of living. There is one simple solution though…

We as a people must stop being so selfish. Take my education example, the amount needed to rid the district of the deficit, per person, is comparatively miniscule. I would have to give up a month of cable, PER YEAR, to rid the deficit. Think about that of a minute. Think of all the non-essential items we purchase which could be put to such better use. Those items of which we don’t need, but make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Sure you might have five plasma tv’s in your house, but your kids won’t be able to read. God forbid you might actually feel a little difficulty in one's life (note: that statement was overly generalized).

I say tax me more, I feel I pay too little as it is. I am willing to give up the ability to purchase a few DVDs per month or that PS3 game if it means the quality of life in America will be better. And, not to sound arrogant, but you should be able to. We are the most powerful, and richest, country in the world and there is no reason we should have these problems.

It takes more of a man to help others than to help one’s self. Perhaps we need to remind the American public of that. And perhaps I’ll start by posting that right outside the pharmacy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First Act as President

After good ole W was elected I realize that truly anybody, even the mentally disabled, can become president. I therefore decided that some day I shall run for president and will, in fact, win.

Today, I decided what my first act will be. I shall standardize all insurance cars. No more throwing on labels for UHC, Express Scripts, WHI, all on the same goddamn card so you don't know who to bill it under. No more having 3 different 'group' numbers on the card, only to have none of them work. No more fancy designs on them with the needed information in tiny type on the back. And most of all, no more waiting until six weeks after coverage starts to issue said cards. If you can print the letter saying coverage is changing, you can print the damn card at the same time. It ain't rocket science.

All new cards will have the following

* Processor name clearly identified at the top along with active date
* RXPCN and RXBIN in bold type below that
* Patients name, ID number and Rx group number CLEARLY labeled
* Phone number for me to call and bitch at them when they still fuck this up
* No fancy designs with other logos and needless information on it. If you do so, I will personally go to the insurances headquarters and kick every person there square in the nuts
* You will send the card to the patient one month prior to service being activated. No exceptions
* If you do change mid month you will give the pharmacy the new info in the reject. No more calling the help desk and talking for 40 min to Skahewrwea Dododobop from India who can speak three words of English.

That's it. That's all I want on the card is some clear information. They did it for credit cards, why the hell can't they do it for insurance cards.

I will be one helluva president, just you wait...

Monday, December 1, 2008

I wanna be Dr. House

I have become enamored with the show House over the past year. While I had watched it off and on its first season, it wasn't until a few months ago that I truly got into it. Now it is one of the few shows I watch on a daily basis. Part of what makes it fun is that he is a complete ass to his patients, much like we would all like to be asses when they deserve it. It is also fun to kind of play along and try to guess what the condition is.

Via Wikipedia I stumbled upon a blog which analyzes the medical aspect of the episodes. I personally love this kind of stuff and often he picks out the same miscues I noticed.

For those of you who have not seen the show, try to catch an episode the next chance you'll get. It's absolutely brilliant.

For those of you who do watch it, check out the blog that analyzes it, Polite Dissent