Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why I don't work in retail!

"Why Your Pharmacist Hates You So Much"

Okay, so maybe hate is a strong word. . .but this is why I'm always rolling my eyes at you and sighing very deeply when you come to the pharmacy. Almost all customers have inevitably asked, "Why does my prescription take so damn long to fill?" Check this scenario:

You come to the counter. I am on the phone with a drunk dude who wants the phone number to the grocery store next door. After I instruct him on the virtues of 411, you tell me your doctor was to phone in your prescription to me. Your doctor hasn't and you are unwilling to wait until she does. Being in a generous mood, I call your doctor's office
and am put on hold for five minutes then informed that your prescription was phoned in to my competitor on the other side of town. Phoning the competitor, I am immediately placed on hold for five minutes before speaking to the tech, who puts me back on hold to talk to the pharmacist. Your prescription is then transferred to me, and now
I have to answer the two phone calls that have been put on hold while this was being done. Now I return to the counter to ask if we've ever filled prescriptions for you before. For some reason, you think that "for you" means "for your child" and you answer my question with a "yes," whereupon I go to the computer and see you are not on file.

The phone rings. You have left to do something very important, such as browse through monster truck magazines and do not hear three PA announcements requesting your return to the pharmacy. You return eventually, expecting to pick up the finished prescription. . .

The phone rings.. . .only to find that I need to ask your address, phone number, DOB, if you have any allergies and insurance coverage. You tell me you're allergic to codeine. Since the prescription is for Vicodin, naturally, I ask you what exactly codeine did to you when you took it. You said it made your stomach hurt and I roll my eyes (and sigh deeply) and write down "No Known Allergies." You tell me. . .

The phone rings.. . .you have insurance and spend the next five minutes looking for your card. You give up and expect me to be able to file your claim anyway. I call my competitor and am immediately put on hold. Upon reaching a human, I ask them what insurance they have on file for you. I get the information and file your claim, which is rejected because you changed jobs six months ago. An a$!hole barges his way to the counter to ask where the bread is.

The phone rings. I inform you that the insurance that the other pharmacy has on file for you isn't working. You produce another card in less than ten seconds that you seemed to be unable to find before. What you were really doing was hoping your old insurance would still work because the copay was cheaper. Your new card prominently displays the logo of Nebraska Blue Cross and although Nebraska Blue Cross does in fact handle millions of prescription claims everyday, for the group you belong to, the claim should go to a company called Caremark, whose logo is nowhere to be found on the card.

The phone rings. A lady comes to the counter wanting to know why the cherry flavored antacid works better than the lemon cream flavored antacid. What probably happened is that she had a milder case of heartburn when she took the cherry flavored brand, as they both use the exact same ingredient in the exact same strength. She will not be satisfied though until I confirm her belief that the cherry flavored brand is the superior product. I file your claim with Caremark, who rejects it because you had a thirty day supply of Vicodin filled 15 days ago at another pharmacy. You swear to me on your mother's. . .

The phone rings.. . .life that you did not have a Vicodin prescription filled recently. I call Caremark and am immediately placed on hold. The most beautiful man on the planet walks by and notices not a thing. He has never talked to the pharmacist and probably never will. Upon reaching a human at Caremark, I am informed that the Vicodin prescription was indeed filled at another of my competitors. When I tell you this, you say you got HYDROCODONE there, not Vicodin. Another little part of me dies.

The phone rings. It turns out that a few days after your doctor wrote your last prescription, she told you to take it more frequently, meaning that what Caremark thought was a thirty day supply was really only a 15 day supply with the new instructions. I call your doctor's office to confirm this and am immediately placed on hold. I call Caremark to get an override and am immediately placed on hold. My laser printer has a paper jam. It's time for my technician to go to lunch. Caremark issues the override and your claim goes through. Your insurance saves you 85 cents off the regular price of the prescription.

The phone rings. At the cash register you sign. . .

The phone rings.. . .the acknowledgment that you received a copy of my HIPAA policy and that I offered the required OBRA counseling for new prescriptions. You remark that you're glad that your last pharmacist told you you shouldn't take over the counter Tylenol along with Vicodin and that the acetaminophen that you're taking instead seems to be working pretty well. I break the news to you that Tylenol is simply a brand name for acetaminophen and you don't believe me. You fumble around looking for your checkbook and spend another two minutes making
out a check for $4.67. You ask why the tablets look different from those that you got at the other pharmacy. I explain they are from a different manufacturer. Tomorrow, you'll be back to inform me they don't work as well. NOW--imagine this wasn't you at all, but the person who dropped off their prescription three people ahead of you and you'll start to have an idea why. . .your prescription takes so damn long to fill!


Ann T Quittys thoughts said...

and this is why you work at a hospital. LOL

uturn555 said...

Wow... I really want to thank you for posting this because I was seriously thinking about going to school for 2 years to become a Pharmacy Technician but NOW I am so glad I decided not to do it!!

The schools never tell you what it's really like to work in these jobs.

See what you describe here is an HONEST, Real World account of what a Pharmacist has to put up with on a daily basis. The phone calls, the crazy customers who don't hae a CLUE what they need. Yes, ALL JOBS have issues but what your describing is just such a pain I know I would loose my temper and not be able to deal with it, thus, it's a good thing that people like me don't become pharmacist.

I would have WASTED 2 years of my time and a couple thousand dollars taking the classes and going to school each day before I finally graduated, found a job, then after 2 months of working, I would have realized I HATED this job and had to quit.

THANK YOU for being Honest!!

Mandi said...

Don't give up! I am very happily employed in a Hospital pharmacy! It is a completely different environment! Please, PLEASE! talk to a technician that works in a hospital setting before you give up on higher education!!