Fuck ’em if they don’t like it. Watch for OSHA violations and report them. Record your meeting and get them. You girls are harassed ever day in some stores. Get the pen camera. Record the harassment. If you are unsure, call me or Steve or Goose. We will guide you.
“Which cough syrup is good?” I was at the CVS close to my house. The pharmacist must have been disabled by Not-My-Job-Description-syndrome because she didn’t even look at me. Disclaimer: This was a set-up. I played the role of the typical patient. So, I used a language that any pharmacist understands. I got close to the counter. I waved my arms frantically until she looked at me. I said, “Hey, I’m talkin’ to you.” I really said that. Honestly.
Finally, I got that annoyed look I was expecting. “What do you want?”
She took a sip from her too-hot Vente Starbucks, pursed her lips and puffed two times. “Well?”
“I want a good cough syrup.”
She pointed, “Over on aisle number three.”
“A good one.”
“Nyquil,” she said, “Nyquil.” And she was gone.
I raised my arms, palms up. “Why won’t she talk to me?”
The technician shrugged her shoulders and gave me an intent Are-You-For-Real stare. “The pharmacist is very busy”, she said. End of story.
Since when did OTC medications have all of the therapeutic drugs with side effects, contraindications and dangers removed from the formulas? When did pharmacists decide that running the Prescription Mill at breakneck speed is more important than to triage for the patient in need, with a legitimate set of symptoms? Often it is a poor patient with a pinched twenty dollar bill from the grocery money. You are their only hope.
I know the answer to that question. It was when pharmacists quit being Druggists and started bowing to the commands of sophisticated prescription-filling software rather than the needs of the patient. Sick. Pain in his stomach. His mother standing at the counter, with anxiety darkening her face. These prescription-filling computer programs are stool pigeons too. When you walk away from the Prescription Mill and its insatiable need for speed for just five minutes they got you. A micro-notation is recorded under your name in the cloud.
A Druggist will not hesitate to help this mom choose what to do for her three year old son’s intractable stomach pain. It doesn’t matter to your bosses that you encouraged mom to get to the ER. The non-pharmacist MBA does not care that mom will pass the word to her family and friends that your drug store really is the store that looks out for the family’s health. The advertisements are not just blowing smoke.
A tattle-tale report is generated on the desk of another non-pharmacist MBA Master of the Universe. Too many like this and an everlasting not-a-team-player notation goes into your permanent record. The computer is stupid. You were practicing patient-centric pharmacy, what all of us should aspire to, and the computer is going to punish you with a simplistic report that you were dead in the water for seven minutes and eighteen seconds. And you wonder why you got passed over for that brand new store only three miles from your house.
I worked with a newly minted R.Ph. who did not know how to compound. Anything. The rudimentary Tamiflu suspension using the content of capsules and Ora-Sweet had her stymied. Her pharmacy school had forgotten that compounding is pharmacy’s quintessential skill. That new school, along with others, are in the business of churning out robo-dispensers who are NAPLEX-capable. Druggists were in the rear-view mirror. When you strip away talents, it seems like a net loss to me. This is a critical mistake. Made worse when the National Association of Retail Druggists changed the name to the National Community Pharmacists Association. Did Druggist shame them?
The pharmacy schools and the drug store chains let the centuries old Druggist culture die from lack of care. It probably has a lot to do with Profits. At least, that is how it looks to me. Patients are the ones who pay the price.
Every Druggist is a pharmacist, but not every pharmacist is a Druggist. There was a time, before Durham-Humphrey, when injured or sick patients chose between druggist and doctor. It was a simple question. Why go to the guy who is likely to hurt you? The Druggist will give you a pill. It is called Counter-Prescribing. The patient describes the symptoms. You prescribe an OTC that hits the spot. The satisfaction is enormous.
When you youngsters get the chance to acquire Druggist skills, do it eagerly. The chains don’t want you to, it could take your attention away from their beloved metrics. Well, fuck ‘em. Pharmacy is not their profession to run. It’s yours and don’t you forget it.