"I was wondering if you could possibly spot me enough of my meds for a week cause I won't have the money for my co-pays until I get paid next week."An innocuous question, no?
I'm sure most of you are thinking that it is a completely unreasonable request and, as pharmacists, we should see no issue with heeding her request.
Which would be true... unless you had a bit more information.
First, the total amount on her seven medication was $1. I'm pretty sure there is enough change in my couch to total a buck.
Second, she asked this while her blinged-out iPhone 4 sat on our counter. A quick glance at said phone showed numerous pages of apps and, from what I could see on the page showing, numerous paid apps.
Knowing this, does your answer change?
Apparently this person, and many others, can fork over money for a pointless app which makes a farting nose for their phone, but they don't have the dollar for the medications which help keep them alive?
Does anyone else see the issue with this?
Look, I know what it's like not to have money, I live with it every day. I put off buying new shoes for over year until I could not glue or tape them anymore. Why? Because we needed that money for bills, diapers and other necessities.
It was not absolutely required to live, so I did not purchase it. Being able to provide basic needs should supersede any other frivolous spending at all times.
I don't care if someone splurges on themselves every once in a while and, in fact, it can be a good thing. But when you do so at the expense of your basic needs which may harm you, or others, what the hell is the point?
The better question is how we can let low-income individuals, whom for various reasons the public is supporting, be allowed to sign expensive phone contracts or fill said phones of paid apps? How is that fiscally responsible? They can't pay more than a dollar for their medications, but they can pay over $100/month for their iPhone.
Too often in today we rely on others to fix our own problems. We "pass the buck" far far too often and do not take responsibility for our actions.
And it's sad to see.
Ultimately the pharmacist decided not to spot her any of her medications partially for the reasons I mentioned and partially because this is a regular occurrence with said patient. There is only so much charity and hand holding we can do before the patient needs to stand up for themselves.
Cruel? Perhaps. Unprofessional? Maybe. Except for when she came back an hour later and paid with a crisp $20 bill.
Funny how that works.