Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh Boy

"The labs are cool when you counsul patients because that's what a pharmacist really does" - 3rd Year Pharmacy Student

That's what I was informed by my student guide yesterday. Now to be fair, they admitted they initially decided on pharmacy school for the money and only 'recently' decided it was because they wanted to help people.

Day one and I realize that there are many people who are unaware of what they are getting into.

Already I am labeled the troublemaker in the class. Everyone else is asking our speakers short, cute questions while I whip out a multi-layered question that initially stammers the speaker. Call it a surprise bitch slap if you will.

And several upper level people loved it or so I'm told.

Another item I am hearing repeatedly, especially when I mention where my preference is, is that 'retail is all about the money aspect of pharmacy.' I guess I'm going to have to re-educate those students as well to help dispell that myth as well.

I would say the first day has been successful. I am determined to not let my entire fall into the same traps as everyone else.

Perhaps I'm too much of a damned optimist...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 1: First Lesson? How To Deal With Pimps and Hoes

As this post is... well posted, I shall have just started my very first day as a pharmacy student. No, there is no ticker tape parade or a rousing performance by Wayne Newton.

Nothing fancy like that.

It is, however, the first step towards the completion of what is quickly becoming a lifetime goal. And it is also the first step towards more damn interesting musings by yours truly.

Who else is excited?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Accidentally Drunk

A few weeks ago I sat trying to explain the term 'Accidently Drunk' to two former co-workers who seemed unable to grasp my definition. My hope is that by posting my explanation here, that I am not the only one this happens to.

Or else I have some sort of problem, but I digress.

Now I don't drink that often, hell I'm lucky to see the inside of a bar once a month. I'm generally too busy to go out and get hammered every week like many of my peers do.

Here is where the term 'Accidentally Drunk' comes into play.

Occasionally I would go out to eat with friends to do apps and beer at a place like Applebee's. Mainly it was to blow off steam from the previous week and the initial plan was to head home and finish some homework afterwards.

Instead I found myself leaving a bar at 1am after a three hour session of beer pong. And I was completely sh-wasted.

What had started out as just a small gathering for dinner ended up turning into a night of drinking for six hours. Was it fun? You bet your ass it was fun. I rarely get to do things like that anymore. Was it planned? No way in hell.

I was 'accidentally drunk'. To be honest the night flowed so naturally that none of us realized we had been drinking as long as we had, nor had we noticed how drunk we were, until someone noticed it was after midnight.

Luckily at this point I was within walking distance of home.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me. A few months back my wife and I were going to watch a movie and decided to have some Captain and Coke to end a long day. I woke up the next morning to a splitting headache to find that we (myself mostly) had ended up drinking the entire bottle of Captain.

Was it planned? Nope, but again it was damn good fun.

Maybe I'm the only person this happens to because I almost never go out anymore. But I tell ya what, usually the most fun nights I have is when this happens.

Funny how that works...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stick Assectomy

Why is it every person I see in a pharmacy down here, at least those that are my age, seems to have a stick shoved so far up their ass it's branches are poking out their nose?

No one says hi, few smile, yet they imagine to project an aura of superiority. It's impressive in almost a sad way.

Am I that unusual in that I have a sense of humor and actually find joy in something other than being serious? Yes, sometimes shit sucks, but suck it up and carry on. I pray to Buddha that my classmates are not like that.

I'm fun, and damnit I won't have people rain on my parade.

Perhaps it has something to do with this area in general because I don't remember this many pharmacy folk being unapproachable in any of my other travels. Maybe there is a Paxil-deficiency in this region of the country.

Or maybe they just need some Fuckitol.

Followed by a Stick Assectomy.

Yep, that's it....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Personal Retrospection

As I sit here about to embark on the last leg of the journey which spawned the creation of this website, I find myself doing a bit of personal retrospection. I almost feel as if we should cue some sappy music... hold on...

Ok here we go, click play and continue on:

Anywho, when I started the little refresh of this blog I was more or less forced to go over the initial posts. Back when I was lucky to have twenty people stumble upon this site daily.

For one, I can actually write half-assed decently now. My recent re-write of my testicular adventure (note to self: copyright this name for future film use) was done because I realized I now could do a much better job of conveying such a story.

Holy shit, could I almost be a writer now?

My struggles with surviving my undergrad is apparent to me even though it may not be to you. Actually this post might make it more apparent... although I wish I woulda saved that idea for a post title.

With how much I have changed these past few years, I wonder just who I will be at the end of the next four years. Hopefully I won't be a woman, but you never know, stranger things have happened.

And to all of those who told me to give up four years ago and that I would never make it, I have but one thing to say.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Scrubs In a Pharmacy

No, not those scrubs.

Seeing as I am entering a new pharmacy later this week, one of my first questions was what the dress code is. In case some of you may have not gathered, I take great care in ensuring that I look professional when in a pharmacy. I'm probably the only guy in his early 20s that has roughly two dozen dress shirts and ties of various colors.

Hell I was once told to dress down at my previous employer because I was making their pharmacists look bad. Alas, that is another story...

Wearing simply blue and khaki on a daily basis is maddening. I love colors, especially bold vibrant colors. It's part of the reason why I'm an artist on the side. In a lot of ways it's like being confined to a tiny room when you're claustrophobic, so naturally I was excited at the proposition of finally bursting from that room.

The answer I received was... perplexing to say the least. While the store manager was not entirely certain of the dress code in the pharmacy, she was pretty sure that scrubs were the acquired attire for techs.

Excuse me? Scrubs in a retail pharmacy? What the hell for?

Sure we deal with bodily fluids on a daily... wait, no we don't. Well then there's all of the dangerous particulates and solutions we... er, not really.

So what's the real reason?

Today we deal with the problem that the majority of people do not view pharmacy as a professional service. As organizations like Walmart and Giant Eagle try to redefine pharmacy as merely another segment of a retailer, we struggle to gain back what was once ours.

In addition, the face of pharmacy for 95% of the public is retail pharmacy. No matter how you want to argue it, they truly are completely unaware of the differing pharmacy disciplines that are out there.

Why on Earth, then, would you want a sizable portion of your visible workforce clothed in something like scrubs? Trying to ride the coattails of the assistance, yes that is a poor choice in wording, of other medical professionals is not a viable answer. There is a perfectly legitimate reason for those individuals to wear scrubs for work.

When I did an impromptu survey (Note: Impromptu means asking two dozen or so people in my checkout line) I found that the majority of people couldn't understand why there would be people wearing scrubs in a pharmacy. Two of them actually laughed at the idea and called it ridiculous.

These are the views of the public mind you, not mine. In a very very unscientific survey.

Retail pharmacy is a business and in a business you should dress in appropriate attire. Business casual is probably as lax of a dress code as a pharmacy should have. I learned a long time ago that there is a correlation between how you dress and how a patient reacts to you.

Indirectly it changes how you act. When I told a couple of my pharmacy friends about this, several of them responded that they loved the idea because it would be like wearing PJs at work. That is precisely not the feeling you should be going for in a work environment.

Sure, there will be people who will argue against me on this. They will probably argue that as a medical profession we reserve the right to wear the same clothing as our brethren. And when you're working a medical building, I see no problem with that whatsoever.

It just seems vastly inappropriate to have to wear attire like this in this type of environment. Naturally I will abide by whatever dress code is enforced and count the days until I'm an intern.

And that day cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Refresh

About two weeks ago I was forced to visit this site using Internet Explorer. I do everything my power not to use that pile of crap, but in this instance I was glad I did.

I noticed that a couple things didn't line up properly on the site design. Being an stickler for aesthetic appeal, I've spent most of the last two weeks tweaking various things in order to get them to work properly.

Most notable is a new header, but I've also toned the colors down some so it's not as much as a punch in the face. Links should be easier to see, added a cute lil favicon, social media buttons are a bit more organized and there shouldn't be the small, but nagging, issues that I had noticed on other browsers.

Not the overhaul I wanted, but it'll do until I can decide on a new design I like.

Oh and the wife and I are having a boy. Something to mold in my image now.

*Cue evil laugh*

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Back.....

As of Thursday morning, yours truly will once again be setting foot in a pharmacy.

It has been over three months now since I have done so, and for me that has been three months too many. Naturally there will be a bit of training to do, but I never thought I would be so excited to see drug seekers again.

And no worries, I'm not done at Wally World yet. I'll be doing the both for the time being to keep my hours up where I need them. Thus I'll have stories from both there AND the pharmacy.

It's a bloggers dream!

And now to prepare for school...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Would You Like Your Plavix Toasted?

Ran into a guy on my way to lunch yesterday at work. He was standing near the pharmacy section of the store looking perplexed at all of the various pill boxes. Naturally, I decided to ask if he needed help.

He replied yes, he had lost his 7 day box this morning. I asked him what happened to it when he told me a short story.
You see I filled my box for the week with all of my medications. I then proceeded to put it in the microwave, on high, and set it for five minutes. I do not know why I did this.

After it dinged, I saw that everything had melted together. I tried to suck up the liquid with a straw, but the straw melted too. Now I guess I need a new pill box to hold everything.
**Letting that digest**

If you had guessed I stood there wide-eyed with mouth gaping, you would be completely correct. Why on Earth this man had done this, not even he had known. It is one of the most strange things I have ever had a patient tell me in the ten years I've been associated.

I guess, whenever I have the opportunity again, the next time I take a prescription from a patient, I will have to ask them if they want it toasted. Or melted.


Friday, August 20, 2010

How I Almost Lost A Testicle: Redux

Tonight I decided to do a rewrite of one of my very first posts on this blog. The original can be found here.

I have no shame. Truly I don't.

Case in point, of the more fun stories I like to tell about myself is a story most would shy away from. You see, at one point in my very young life there was a very real possibility that I would lose a testicle.

How is this a fun story you may be asking? Because I cannot do anything in an ordinary way.

Living in the dorms during your freshman year in college provides ample opportunity for... creative activities. I'm talking about nights where we created downhill stairwell skiing. These were MENSA moments I tell ya.

One of these nights we were occupying our time by throwing things at each other. It was a manly game to determine who could either have quick enough reflexes to catch said object or to see how could endure the most pain from not catching it. Again, genius stuff right here.

In the midst of a flying batteries and small bouncy balls, my buddy decides to take aim at myself. Using moves straight out of The Matrix, or at least I thought so, I jumped and twisted in spectacular form... and promptly was nailed directly in the nuts.

This was no glancing blow, the object thrown had the accuracy of a heat seeking missle. What made things worse is that in my attempt to look uber cool, I had left said testicle hanging freely in the air.

It was like waving a big ole chocolate cake in front of a hungry fat kid.

Immediately I collapsed as the typical wave of nausea and pretty colors flooded my senses. Being the young and cocky male I was at that time, I put on a tough face and continued on with the night, although with a noticeable limp for the next couple days.

That was that. Or was it?

About a month later, my girlfriend at the time and I spent a weekend day at an amusement park. It was a fun day, full of exhilerating rides, over priced food and screaming children.

I awoke the next morning in our hotel room with an odd pain in my loins. Attempting to climb out of bed and stand up, I promptly collapsed back onto the bed. Once I finally willed myself erect, I found myself walking bow-legged. You'd think I'd been riding a horse all day or something.

Thinking I had broken something, we drove the two hours home on a bumpy freeway as I plotted a visit to the local urgent care. Every bump felt like a hot poker being shoved in... well my poker. My girlfriend at the time initially found it funny and, had it not been for her legit concern as the day wore on, I probably would not have went to see a doc.

Again, cocky young male at this time.

Once in the exam room, I was hit with a barage of STD (or STI or whatever you want to call them now) questions. It was almost as if he was trying to trick me into admitting to cross-dressing while working a hooker specializing in midgets. Question after question after question as I sat there with my fun parts throbbing.

Finally he decided that I wasn't sleeping with half of the city and that I needed to produce a urine sample. I was promptly given, at the time what seemed like, a 20 gallon bucket to fill up. Normally this wouldn't have been bad except that when I went to go I was walked in... three times.

The last time I was tempted to ask the woman if she wanted to help, but was too afraid she would actually say yes.

When the doc finally comes back, he tells me that he thinks that my testicle is twisted (like a meatball in spaghetti he says) and that I may need to have surgery immediately to remove it. First, he wants an ultrasound to double check the damage.

Naturally the woman doing the ultrasound was a woman in her mid-50s. Also naturally, the gel they used was fresh out of the freezer. Shrinkage plus near Medicare-aged woman is not the dream situation of a young guy. Luckily the woman was very professional and I slowly began to forget that she was massaging my gel covered balls.

Never did get her phone number though.

Seeing the inside of your manhood is an awe-inspiring experience. You almost wanna pat the screen on the back and give them an 'Atta boy!'.

After my exhilarating massage, I found my way back to the exam room. The doc came back a few minutes later with a diagonis.


What had happened was that the trauma of being nailed in the junk had caused urine to back up the urethra and into the epididymis. More or less, my nut was infected.

To make things even more interesting, I later found out that the doc who treated me was the brother of one of the pharmacists I worked with. It made for an interesting meeting when he stopped by one of the store a months later. Judging from his face, I was obviously a memorable case.

So let this be a life lesson for all who read this. Hitting a guy in his jewels, while perhaps funny and stress-reducing, can lead to serious complications. I paid several hundred dollars to play 20 STD questions with a doc and have a testicular massage by my grandma.

It's not fun.

Alas, I still have my testicle... actually both of them. Now aren't you glad you know that?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who Needs A Pharmacist

Ask yourself this question. Seriously, right now, ask it.

Ask the person nearest to you as well. See what their response is.

Now we all know people who are trying to save a buck and with our current economic situation, there really is nothing wrong with that.

Which is why so many people are being enticed by various $4 generic programs and, god forbid, the free drug programs instituted at numerous pharmacy chains across the country. We all know at least one person who one of the programs on a regular basis.

But does that person understand what these programs mean to pharmacy?

So let's take a small, tentative step towards a long-term remedy. It's as simple as the title of this post.

Who needs a pharmacist?

Who needs someone to monitor the complex interactions of the drugs they take?

Who needs someone to explain, in layman's terms, what your doctor does not?

Who needs someone to advise you on how to pacify your screaming and ill child when your doctor does not call you back?

Who needs someone to dispense facts and not merely what is being pushed on the television?

Who needs someone to run interference for them between insurance companies, nurses and doctors and do so without complaint?

Who needs a pharmacist, right?

If you use these programs, ask your self this question. If you know someone who does, ask them instead.

Because if you continue to support these 'cheaper' programs, not only are you devaluing the profession of pharmacy, but are setting the profession on a path where you may find yourself limited pharmacy resources.

What will happen is because you, and your friends and their friends, decided that it was more worth saving a handful of dollars than support what is one of the most important medical professions in a person's life?

What will happen if your pharmacist is suddenly gone?

It may seem like an impossible thought, but it's truly not. Currently, pharmacy is the whipping boy of the medical world. We have no clear voice to stand up and say, "What about us?". While your doctor may complain about being shafted by insurance reimbursements, at least he is getting paid above cost.

Ask yourself, or the person, if they realize that pharmacies lose money in countless prescriptions on a daily basis.

Ask them if they realize the actual cost of a prescription, prior to the drug cost, is around $10 per fill.

Then ask them if it makes sense that some pharmacies are dispensing these drugs to patients at a minimum of a $6 lost per prescription?

And because we all have to be able to offer some sort of competition to maintain business, everyone is affected by the ill advised actions of one chain pharmacy. There's a reason the pharmacy in your hometown recently closed. And this is one of them.

Take a step back and ask yourself is it worth it. Ask if saving those few dollars is worth losing the interaction that so many take for granted on a daily basis.

Ask yourself who needs a pharmacist.

The answer will ultimately always be, "I do."

It's time to stand up for your pharmacist. We're doing the best we can at this time, but we need a bigger voice. It may be as simple as asking your insurance why they insist on paying us, sometimes, mere change over the cost?

One must walk before they can run, and these small steps should be taken now. If we are to save the profession from the dangerous path it is being pushed for, we all must work together.

So I ask again, who really needs a pharmacist?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Way To Piss Me Off

I am currently stuck with.. lets say a less than desirable TV provider. Okay, I take it back, I would really like to burn their HQ down, but that's another blog post from a jail cell.

Honestly I don't need to watch a ton of TV. There are a handful of shows that I watch on a dedicated basis (House, Castle, Dexter and Top Chef come to mind) and when I do watch it, it's usually something nerdy.

I'm also a bit of an insomniac. Most of these posts are written well after 10pm. In fact, I'm not much of a morning person at all. What makes this even more trying is that I despise coffee.

How's that for cruel?

So when I'm wide awake late at night, as I am right now, I start surfin my usual late night channels. Namely History, Nat Geo, Discovery, Smithsonian HD and Food Network. On nights like tonight, there's not a whole lot to choose from.

Ah, but nights like tonight are made that much worse by my shitty cable provider.

You see back in early July, we were informed that they would be adding a few new HD channels, one of which would be The Science Channel. Now I don't get the non-HD version, so naturally the inner nerd in me was jumping up and down.

Seriously. If I hadn't found pharmacy I probably would have gone into astrophysics or something of that nature.

Now, on nights like tonight, I see all of the awesome shows on The Science Channel... except I cannot watch them. You see the channel appears, but I cannot access it. It's the only channel I'm supposed to have, that I cannot view.

They blame it on a local outage. An outage which has lasted six weeks and counting. And it only effects one freakin' channel.


Here I sit, itchin' to watch Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman and I cannot. It's like a kick in the balls, if a nerd does have balls that is.

Maybe since I don't have anything to watch I should go and burn that building down... maybe they took my stapler too.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Miss the Bitchy Pharmacy Customers

Yep, you're reading that title correctly. No, I have not lost my mind.

The customer base between that of Walmart and a pharmacy isn't all that different. What is different, however, is how you are able to deal with such customers. In a pharmacy you have your co-workers to break the tension, to laugh about a situation if you will. When the customer leaves, you can step away and focus on something else.

You can't do that as a cashier. You're stuck on your own little island, fuming to a certain extent, that not only have these people survived in life so long, but the fact that they will procreate more than I will.

The idiots will truly rule the world at some point.

Here is but a small sample of some of the bullshit I see on a daily basis:
Had a customer bring three carts overflowing with items to my line. After I scanned about 90% of it, and the total had reached nearly $700, they informed me that they only had brought $100 with and would have to return some of it.

Who in their right freakin' mind would think that you could attempt to buy that much stuff with $100? Hell they had a $125 vacuum in their cart too.. is math really that freakin' hard?
Woman comes to the line and proceeds to bitch for five minutes about how difficult it is to view the screen on the credit card machine. After lecturing me about how we're singling people ou and such, I kindly asked her if she could remove her sunglasses to help her see the screen.

She adamantly refused and stated she shouldn't have to. Whatever.
"I think this should be three dollars"

"Well you can think that, but I can't change the price of it just because you say I should."

"And why the hell not? It is because I'm black?"
After fixing a problem where an over sensitive scanner duplicated an item on a 100+ item order:

Woman: "Can't they get anything right here?"

Man: "That's what happens when you hire people who didn't finish high school and live in trailer parks."

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.... wait....

My job pays my bills, My job pays my bills...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 100,000th Visitor

August 9th, 2010 at 10:28:01pm was a historic moment for this site. It was at this moment that we had our 100,000th visitor to my blessed rants.

I honor you, 100,00th visitor and thank you for visiting me on your iPhone. St. Elizabeth, Missouri appears to be a small town just like the area I grew up in.

Your award is the $100,000 bill at the top of this post. All retailers will take it, although you may want to ask if they can make change first. Print off as many copies as you'd like, it's my treat to you.

No one else is allowed to do so though. If I find out someone else is using our 100,00th visitors award, I will find you and introduce you to the pleasure of Fleet Enemas... many of them. Unless you're into that kind of thing... then we'll have to find some other punishment.

Like making you watch this movie. Yea, that's right, I'll do it.

Now that that is clarified, enjoy your award my Missourian friend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Type of Industry is Pharmacy?

Is pharmacy a product based industry or a service based industry?

Surprisingly there are many pharmacists that I have talked to that state we are a product based industry. Even more perplexing, they state that we need to become MORE product based and that programs like MTMs are worthless and will never do anything for the profession.

To me, that seems like a massively ill-conceived idea.

Part of the problem that what a pharmacist does is not accurately portrayed to the non-pharmacy public. I cannot even say the non-medical public because there are many medical professionals who do not know what a pharmacist can do. I covered this fact alone in a few months back.

If anything, we need to do more to be seen as a service based industry.

Sure we dispense a product that is sold and the surrounding areas of the store do the same. But that is not what a pharmacy is.

The classical definition of pharmacy is 'the art of preparing and dispensing medication'. I think a more accurate definition would be, 'the study and understanding of how medications react and treat disorders in the body.'

Or something of that nature.

The PBMs can justify the fact they pay us as a product based industry because that's how everyone else views us. No one cries wolf because no one sees anything wrong.

What would happen if doctors were reimbursed solely for the materials they use in an office visit? What would happen if a dentist was paid only for the cost of the filling used during a procedure?

There would be a nationwide outrage, would there not be?

Yet this is precisely what happens on a daily basis in a pharmacy and we are supposed to take it in stride.

What's more, it's not even PBMs that are shooting us in the foot. The four dollar generic program instituted by Walmart a few years ago was the biggest punch in the crotch the profession has endured. As if that wasn't bad enough, other organizations are resorting to giving away meds for free to 'compete'.

Low prices. Always.


So not only are we already viewed by the public just as someone who puts pills in a bottle, we also do so for free.

How can we function like this?

In truth, we can't. Simple economics state that we cannot continue to devalue our product without devaluing ourselves. We're already dangerously close to a point where the public views us on the same level as the cashier at McDonald's.

And then where we be? Everyone is trying to take the next step in the evolution of the profession, but no one is acknowledging the problems we currently have. Instead, most put on a happy face, throw around terms like 'MTMs' and 'Revolutionary Clinics' and assume all is well.

All is not well, and all will not be well until we start to resolve these problems.

The first step could be as simple as reaffirming to our patients that we provide a service to them. Obviously you can't say that point blank, but you can certainly start presenting yourself in ways that will lend credence to that idea.

Of course the first step is a baby one, as it's the next step that'll be the big one.

Until the majority of pharmacists in this country began to stand up for themselves and take a stand, we won't see this happen. No longer can we afford to sit idly by and be the quiet profession in the medical community.

We have been the whipping boy for far too long, and it's time to assert who we are and what we do.

What type of industry is pharmacy? An irreplaceable service that is being squandered by people ignorant of what the profession actually is.

And that is damned sad.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weird Customer of the Day

Not a pharmacy customer, but still one of those head scratchers... no, one of those where you bash your head in the wall repeatedly.

Woman comes to the counter with a cart and four gift cards. She insists on putting ten bucks on each card and that I must ring them up separately.

Okay, whatever, I'll indulge you.

I then ring up the rest of her items for a total of thirty something bucks... when she gives me the gift cards I just rang up as payment.

Now what in the hell would possess someone to do that? It happened three days ago and I still cannot figure out even an illogical thinking process.

Any ideas?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Who doesn't like Bimbos?

Strollin' into the glorious Walmart in which I grace my presence today and I notice they redid the sales wall. This is good because there's usually cheap food. I like food... especially when it's cheap.

And then I see this:

My first question is who in the hell decided this would be a good name for a company? Can you imagine the conversation that lead up to that one?

D-Bag #1 - So what do you think we should call this new company? Super Duper Bread?

D-Bag #2 - That's not a bad idea, but it needs something more....

D-Bag #1 - How about 'Natural Super Duper Bread'?

D-Bag #2 - Hmmm I think it's missing something, but I can't quite put my finger on it

D-Bag #3 talking to D-Bag #4 in the background - Dude she was suchhhh a bimbo, I mean good lord man

D-Bag #2 - That's it! Bimbo!

D-Bag #1 - My god man, that's genius!
Then they give it a cute little bear mascot, because as we all know, the word bimbo causes us all to think of a pillsbury doughboy rip off and not of a stacked blond with the intelligence of a yak.

And then if that wasn't enough it has to be 'Soft, White, Family Bimbo' bread.

Really? A soft white family bimbo? That sounds like a show on Fox or the CW.

On this day, Bimbo Bread company, I salute you. Just not in the normal way I'd salute a bimbo.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Facebook, Twitter and a dog named Boo

Ok, maybe Boo is Old MD's dog, but the title sounded catchy in my head.

Since the countdown to school is getting progressively smaller, I've decided to do a bit of cleaning up around this place. I'm debating a full fledged redesign as I doubt I'll have time over the next few years once everything begins.

As of right now, there are small changes around the site.

On the left column you'll notice a new Facebook link. I took a page out of The Redheaded Pharmacist and started one up for this site. Whether or not it's a worthwhile endeavor I have no idea, but I thought it would be worth trying out at least, especially considering the emails I recieve.

Also if you jump into the specific URL link to a post, you'll now see icons for Twitter and Facebook for ease of sharing. Originally I wanted them on the main page as well for each post, but I've run into a bit of a programming hitch and I'll have to delay that.

I know you all are salivating in anticipation.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Here's A Way To Save Money on Healthcare

Every one is talking about different ways to reduce the cost of healthcare for individuals and the government. I, Phathead, have devised a simple solution that could save millions, if not billions, on a yearly basis.

Stop the copy cat drugs.

You're probably going, 'WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAA that's such a MIND BLOW." I know, right?

Seriously though, do we need an Aricept XR? Did we need a Coreg CR? Was there a legit need for Nexium to come out right as Prilosec was going off patent?*

Soon the ads will start and doctors will start prescribing because since it has XR (or CR or HD or whatever the hell else you want after it) it has to be better! And at 200% the price of the old product, that doubles it's effectiveness!

That's where the Lipitor HD post came from. There's no reason it exists except to make more money. It's not our fault Pfizer or Merck or whoever has few drugs in their pipeline. They should not, however, be allowed to take advantage of patients who can barely remember to take their medication, yet alone understand how it works.

If the APhA really wants to help patients, why not start a grassroots campaign to educate consumers of this fact? How much shelf space and inventory costs can you save if you no longer have to stock these useless items?

And it's simple. Truly, and utterly simple. But no one has the gonads to stand up and say stop.

Hell, maybe Lipitor HD isn't too far off the cuff after all...

*Note, I realize that there are some drugs that are more beneficial when Big Pharma pulls something like this. I also know that there are many that are not.

Monday, August 2, 2010

When You Don't Know an Answer, Just Make Up Something

Believe it or not, at one point in my life I was a rather shy and introverted individual. Actually, not just at one point, for the most of my life.

Through various means I have climbed out of that shell, so trust me when I say that when someone asks you a question that you don't know, one can have a tendency to panic or not want to take the steps needed to answer it.

Never once though did I make up a false answer just to pacify a customer.

A few nights ago I was kickin' ass at the register at Big Evil, like I usually do, when I overheard the conversation of the elderly couple I was checking out. They were both upset as she now needed a walker to get around, but they didn't have the money to spend on one.

I inquired what precisely they were looking for, and the husband informed me that they had just been to the pharmacy and asked if Medicare would cover it. Apparently two of the people behind the counter told them Medicare only covers drugs and in no way covers something like a walker.


They were both very upset for obvious reasons, even more so because they had already looked at the prices for various walkers.

Immediately I stopped scanning their items and whipped out a piece of paper. I told them the steps that they would need to take; getting a Rx from a doctor, what part they would have to pay for, how to get their supplemental to cover the rest of need be. I told them about the differences in basic walkers and the four-wheeled variety and how Medicare will pay much less of the four wheeled variety if they choose to go that route.

I also told them their best bet is probably to find one of the local medical supply companies in town as they are often more specially trained in that area and would be able to help them with any other problems they may have.

To say they both looked flabbergasted was an understatement. He asked how I knew all of this, and I explained my current situation.

To which he replied, "Well why the hell aren't you working back there with those numbskulls?"

As they were leaving I explained that if they had any more questions, I am found here most nights and would be more than happy to assist them further.

It was my first taste of pharmacy in two months and I relished it. Although I was left wondering just why in the hell they would tell them that sort of thing to believe with.

My guess is that either those people were vastly misinformed, they simply did not know the answer or they did not want to answer. That time of night there is only a tech and pharmacist on duty, so I know a RPh was involved at some point.

And that bothers me. Makes me wonder who else they shoo away when they don't want to answer something.

Now, I'm real excited to start working over there...