Friday, April 4, 2008

A Note to All Pharmacy Customers

Once a prescription leaves the pharmacy, you cannot bring it back. I really don't know how to make this more clear. That means that if you get home and decide that you really didn't want to pay $150 for brand name Paxil when you could have paid $10 for the generic, you're stuck with it. Sorry. Try again next month.

I swear people think we're just making this shit up. They don't realize it's a federal law. Did you know we have to destroy any medication that leaves the pharmacy and is brought back to us? We can't use it again. It's not like a sweater you bought and later realized it doesn't quite fit right. I'm talking about medication here.

"But Pharmacy Mike, I never even opened my prescription bag!"

That's wonderful that you say so. First of all, how can I be 100% sure of this? It's not exactly difficult to open a bag carefully and then restaple it. Second of all, even if the bag was never opened, how do I know you didn't leave that bag sitting in your car on a sweltering hot day for 18 hours. How do I know you didn't bring the stuff into a sauna with you (as stupid as that sounds, knowing some of my customers, it wouldn't surprise me)? Hell, how do I know you don't run a basement medication counterfeiting laboratory, and you switched out the real meds for fake ones?

I know I'm getting ridiculous here, but all these things are possibilities, even if they're very remote possibilities.

Moreover, I'm tired of the excuses. "No one told me I couldn't bring it back. Can't I get some kind of store credit." Listen buddy... If no one told you, it's because you didn't ask. It would be hard to find a single person who works in any pharmacy who doesn't know a customer can't return medication once it's left the pharmacy. That might be the first law (other than the HIPAA policies) that employees learn.

Here's another excuse: "My neighbor came and picked up my medication for me, and she didn't know which ones I needed. I don't take this one anymore." Sorry, that's not my fault. That's another thing I recommend; If you send someone to pick up prescriptions for you, tell them how many and which drugs you should be getting. Give them a list if you have to.

Actually, I'm going to go off on a tangent now because I think that is even more annoying than trying to return meds. If you use a busy pharmacy, chances are the staff will not be able to remember every prescription they filled for you, especially if they were all called in at separate times. That means that more than likely, your medication will be in several different bags in our bins. Yes, ideally we'd love to put all of them in a single bag. The reality though is that we fill nearly 500 prescriptions per day, and we simply do not have the time to do it. Therefore, it is the CUSTOMER'S responsibility to know how many prescriptions are to be picked up. It's not the pharmacy's responsibility to make sure you leave with all your prescriptions.

I can't count how many times I get a phone call 10 minutes after a customer left our counter saying that they only were given 3 prescriptions instead of 4 like it should have been. The person always complains about how he thought we "knew what we were doing," so he assumed we would give him all the prescriptions he needed. Now, he'll have to drive ALL THE WAY back to the store (which is usually an arduous 5 minutes away) to get the last one.

Anyway... those were just a few things that were irking me from this week. As I was writing this, I got called in on my day off because a pharmacist is sick. Let's see now... I stayed nearly 3 hours late one day to cover for someone, an hour late the next day because we were busy, and now I'm getting called in for 6 additional hours on my day off. That's a nice 50 hour work week there. Didn't I say I was feeling pretty tired from work a couple weeks ago? This didn't really help the cause.


Anonymous said...

Do you get time and half for all the overtime you put in Pharmacy Mike?

Pharmacy Mike said...

Nope... no time and a half. Pharmacists are salaried employees in my company.

All the extra hours amount to very little difference in my paycheck anyway because I'm single, don't own a home, and have no dependents. Therefore, I get taxed like crazy.

I don't mind paying the taxes because I can afford it whereas I know lots of others can't. I just don't like working a ton of extra hours for practically nothing.

Carol said...

Tell them no to the next extra-hours request. After all, it's not like you own the store. Otherwise, you get burned out, tired and then you get sick. Ask me how I know!

My personal pet peeve are those clients that call and say,"fill everything" and then bitch about how they got something they didn't want, or didn't get something they did want. I don't care if your med list sound like ,"the white round one for my sugars,the orange one with the face on it, the little pink one and my bedtime pill" At least it gives me something to work from!

susan said...

When I was working in a pharmacy last summer as a cashier, a customer screamed at me because I hadn't given her all of her prescriptions. She said she had to drive an hour back to pick it up and blamed it all on me. It never ceases to amaze me how people REFUSE to take personal responsbility. Unbelievable. A good rule of thumb is to ask "how many are you picking up?"

Anonymous said...

You have to come hit up Vancouver Washington, aka tax heaven. Income tax free and can do all my shopping a skip and a hop across the river in Portland. Great area for young single people, lots to do outdoors wise as well as art, music, breweries and shopping.
Keep fighting the good fight!

Anonymous said...

Don't you have caller ID? Just don't pick up a call from the store or DM.