Friday, February 25, 2011

Useless Term of the Day: Generic Utilization

Last week at work one of our newer tech's asked me what the phrase "Generic Utilization" meant. He had seen it on a memo from our DM and couldn't quite grasp what it meant.

The more I thought about it and tried to explain it to him, the more I realized how utterly ridiculous the term was.

The memo itself was telling us that we needed to increase our generic utilization. How though? 95% of what receive is filled as a generic (if one exists) right off the bat. The remaining 5% are either on a brand for a specific reason or are anal retentive and refuse to switch.

So how precisely are we to effect that? Why waste time and energy focusing on something of which we have very little control.

Can someone out there with a bigger and more developed brain explain it in any better fashion?


Anonymous said...

there isn't much that can be done except refusing to get the medicine.

When I worked at CVS, we got a new pharmacy manager. He was of the opinion that if people wanted brand name Prozac, then they could get it at another pharmacy, he would't order it. At the very best, he would transfer it from another pharmacy to help them get rid of whatever stock they have of it.

So short of refusing to fill it and making the people go to another pharmacy, not much can be done. it doesn't help for some of the people who have like 4-5 scripts a month who are long time customers though.

wellillbe said...

Most though not all brand drugs do have therapeutic alternatives, ie losartan vs avapro etc that an enterprising person could contact the patient adv them of the savings and if permission is granted call the dr and ask if the therapeutic alt would work and get an rx. The Med d patients are ever so thankful to be kept out of the donought hole a little longer..

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, at a retail store with already 95% generic usage, there is nothing you can do.

At the managed care/pbm level the term generic utilization is far from ridiculous. It is an important cost savings measure to reduce the per member per year expenditures.

The DM probably has some generic memo that he sends to all pharmacies. He/She doesn't sound like an effective leader. As DM he/she should be providing leadership, the memo should have contained his/her ideas on how you can impact generic utilization.

The memo should be filed in the trashcan and the Dm should get a swift smack to the head.

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear that the business of pharmacies outweighs the wants of the patients. If a patient wants a branded drug, sell it to him. You will make a profit either way. What ever happened to the customer is always right?

T. Timothy Ngo said...

I like what you have to say.

I graduated 12 years ago with a Marketing International business degree from a well known State University.

2 Years ago and after years of working, I learned that I truely loved helping people and I made the decision to become a Pharmacist.

After getting several rejection letters from Pharmacy Schools, I'm starting to feel that I'm the only one recognizing my transformation and the strides that I've made as a student and as a person.

I value your insight because there is more to a profession and a person than just what shows up on a transcript or scores on an exam. I read your post because it's opinionated, sometimes thought provoking, and stimulates me to draw my own conclusions to a topic.

Thanks. And keep it up.

Mark said...

@ Anon 2/26/11 7:26am

You don't necessarily ALWAYS make a profit selling a branded drug unless it's a cash transaction.

Bottom line: The CUSTOMER may always be right, but the PATIENT is not always right. Big difference,

Mad Pharmacy Tech said...

This has always been a point of contention in my retail job simply because it's virtually impossible to achieve what the higher ups want us to do. My store is around 96% and has been for years. They want 97% so we lose "points" for that because of it.

Funny story...Every time the pharmacy supervisor would come in, he'd ask us what we were doing to get people to switch and get the rate up. Conveniently, one of our staunchest users of brand only happened to be at the counter. We told him she always was asked, but refused to switch, to the point she would yell at us before we even said hi "Don't you dare ask me to switch to generic!" We told him if he could convince her, we'd try harder. He went over to her, started to tell her how cheaper alternatives would save her money, and before he could finish the sentence she looked him dead in the eye and said "If you want me to keep getting my 15 meds here, don't you dare ask me to change to generic. I will take my business to Walgreens and tell all my friends to never come back here because this pharmacy tells you what to take." He tried to say it was better but she told him she didn't give a shit, her insurance allowed her to get brand and she was getting brand. If he wanted to save money, he could get a cheaper suit.

It was priceless. We told him after she left "That's why we don't bother anymore."