Sunday, July 26, 2015

From The Mailbag, A Reader Concerned With The State Of My Relations To Federal Affairs.

The message, in its entirety:

So....How's Obama working out for you?! LOL

Glad you asked my friend, as I haven't had much of a chance here to tell folks  how many more prescriptions I'm filling these days from the Obamacare. Funny thing how people tend to give me more business once they're finally able to afford to see a doctor, and a little ironic how the reason I haven't had the time to tell you about all the extra prescriptions I've been filling is because of...all the extra prescriptions I've been filling.

That's the main effect I see as to how the Obama's working out for me. I'd call it a win win for me and my customers.

Of course there's more to a presidency than money for me, so I suppose we should take a minute and ponder some of the other workings out of the Obama administration:

-A quantum leap forward in rights for gays and lesbians.

- A solution to a vexing problem in the Middle East that doesn't involve a bunch of dead people.

-Long overdue recognition that pretending that the government of Cuba doesn't exist is kinda stupid.

-Acknowledgement, at the top federal level, of the idiotic gun culture so unique to us.

-Net neutrality is now federal policy.

-AT&T and T-Mobile were stopped from combining to make your cell phone service even worse than it is now.

-Comcast and Time Warner were stopped from combining to make your cable/internet service even worse than it is now.

-No more federal cheer leading for the likes of Lloyd Duplantis and his ilk. Pharmacists, you'll remember, who got their 15 minutes of fame during the Bush administration for denying women birth control prescriptions.

We'll classify those under "things you definitely wouldn't have got under a President McCain or Romney."

By the way, there have been developments on the Lloyd Duplantis front. Stay tuned.

Back to the Obama workings out though:

-A president who addresses the out of control criminal justice system we've created, and the personal, spiritual, and financial toll it takes on every American.

-An economy that didn't collapse after it was left on the brink by George The Lesser.

Those will go under "things you probably wouldn't have got under those other two guys."

It hasn't all been roses and sunshine though, to wit:

-George The Lesser's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are still limping along, although another way of looking at it would be two fewer wars have been started than during the previous administration.

-Guantanamo's still there.

-Zero action, at the federal level, regarding the idiotic gun culture so unique to us.

-A monstrosity of a trade deal is working it's way into law. If you haven't read about the Trans Pacific Partnership you should.

Those will go under "things that probably would have happened under a Republican administration."

All in all I'd give Obama a "B," mostly for the increased foot traffic going through my business these days. If I were rotting away in Guantanamo or humping around in Afghanistan, I'd be inclined to grade him a little lower.

Not quite sure why you care about my views so much my anonymous friend, but there you go.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Testify To Pharmacy Jesus My Friend......Testify......


And it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

Hello Mr Monkey, I asked advice from you a few years ago about leaving Walgreens for a Rite Aid position located where I wanted to live. I thought you would like to hear what happened.

It lasted 3 years. During that time, I was miserable. It got so bad, I was forced to flex my brain muscles more than I did in pharmacy school, to figure out how to get out. It is so pathetic, to spend $150k on student loans and pass classes that took all of my efforts for so many years, only to find myself equally pressured to get the fuck out of the very place I dedicated my life to be in.

I was threatened with trivial write ups over mentally ill customer complaints, sending a personal fax, putting a flu shot sign in the incorrect location, etc. These write ups, I was told, would lead to a final meeting that would possibly result in termination. I put my keys in the lock box, called the DPM and informed him I would never be back. They did not deserve a 2 week notice.

I started a home business with my wife, and all is well. I still Rph, doing some floating for the new Haggen stores. I now own my life again, sleep well at night, and wish the best for all of my pharmacy friends that are stuck in the corporate trenches.

I appreciate all of your thoughts and writings over the years, and they no doubt had a huge influence in my ultimate decision to leave and stand up for myself. For that, I thank you very much Mr. Monkey.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

From The Archives, And With a Special Dedication To A Certain Mr. Trump.

We've reached bottom now, right?

Surely we have. I've said that so many times over the course of the last decade, and been proven wrong every single time. But tonight it has to be true.

Because let me recap for you where we stand in the political life of this country right now. A commie, left leaning, profane half crazy blogger who calls himself a monkey and would call John McCain a butcher of innocent lives in the service of empire, who would have surely taken part in any and all demonstrations against the stupid, unjust, illegal dance of death this country was responsible for in Vietnam.....

....who wouldn't have hesitated to shout in John McCain's face what he thought of his career choice had he been 20 years older and ever had the chance....

....still has more respect for John McCain.....

Than the man who was at the top of the last set of national polls of likely Republican voters.

Surely we can't sink any lower.

Original blogpost airdate  November 05, 2008

A True Story About John McCain I Can Tell You Now That The Election Is Over.

I don't have to tell most of you that John McCain was a fighter pilot in the Navy during the Vietnam War. I don't have to tell you that he was shot down, captured, held prisoner and tortured by the Vietnamese for 5 and a half years.

And I don't mean the kind of torture that we do in Guantanamo where we're careful not to leave any marks. The Vietnamese didn't care anything about leaving marks. They beat the living piss out of John McCain and then would hang him from the ceiling in his cell by his broken arms when they were done. That's why you never saw him raise his arms during the campaign. He can't. At one point during his captivity he weighed less than a hundred pounds. That's not the story I want to tell you though. The story I want to tell you starts in that prison cell, with the voice of a person named David Ifshin.

Ifshin was president of the National Student Association, and in 1970 he went to Hanoi to urge American troops to turn against the war. His words were broadcast over Radio Hanoi repeatedly and into the cell that was John McCain's living hell.

You might expect that the two men would have gone on to become bitter lifelong enemies. You would be wrong. Ifshin went on to be general counsel of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, a fact that didn't sit very well with many of the veterans of the war Ifshin had railed against. Some of these veterans heckled the president during his first Memorial Day speech, waving signs that read "Tell us about David Ifshin"

John McCain gave a speech on the floor of the Senate that day. “Let me tell you about David Ifshin…" McCain said. "David is a friend of mine.”

"I wanted the protesters to know that they were bearing false witness against a good man." McCain said later."His friendship honored me and honors me still."

 You see, although both McCain and Ifshin came to radically different conclusions, both men passionately believed in doing what was best for the country. Both men came to see that in the other and to respect the others' commitment.

I was going to write a tongue in cheek post tonight about kicking the Republicans when they were down. It would have been really funny. But after hearing Obama's victory speech tonight, I decided to tell you this story instead. Because my friends, I can't help but feel there was a tectonic shift in this country tonight. A much welcome shift in the tone we are going to get from our leader over the next 8 years. After hearing the man I had hoped so long for, finally making the speech that I so longed for him to make, well, a post about kicking the Republicans when they were down just seemed so.........Bushy.

And Bush already seems like ancient history, doesn't he?

I'll be dammed if there isn't a little hope in the land tonight.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Spawn Of Lloyd Duplantis Of Gray, Louisiana Are Back. And Wal-Mart Tells A Big Fucking Lie.

The Drugmonkey is pissed this night my friends. The kind of spit in your eye hellraising pissed that was so common in my Bush administration prime. If you've been with me that long you may remember Lloyd Duplantis of Gray, Louisiana. The "pharmacist" who had his 15 minutes of fame back in the day for refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, once telling National Public Radio they were "the most dangerous chemicals that have ever been put on the market." The Drugmonkey viciously destroyed Lloyd afterwards. To the point where if you Google "Lloyd Duplantis " right now, the first two results are posts from this very blog,  above his own store's website. 


But I also knew the work of vigilance against these pharmacy pretenders is never done. I wrote this back in 2009:

...don't think you should stop kicking the likes of Lloyd Duplantis of Gray, Louisiana and his ilk. 
Because you and I both know they'll be back. Pat yourself on the ass for awhile and get ready to huddle up for the next play. 

Well it's playtime again my friends. From Mother Jones, the magazine that once broke the story of Mitt Romney's "47 percent" foot in mouth episode: 

When Brittany Cartrett lost her pregnancy in March, her doctor prescribed misoprostol to help her complete the miscarriage. The drug, which would allow her to avoid a more invasive surgical procedure, is the same one used to induce many abortions. Which is why, Cartrett suspects, two different pharmacies in central Georgia refused to fill her prescription.

Yup, we've been down this road. See if you can detect a difference this time though:

Cartrett slammed one of those pharmacies, the Walmart in Milledgeville, Georgia, in a Facebook post published last week. When she asked the pharmacist why she wouldn't fill her prescription, Cartrett claims, "She looks at me over her nose and says, 'Because I couldn't think of a reason why you would need that prescription.'" Cartrett says she then explained that she'd had a miscarriage, and the pharmacist replied, "I don't feel like there is a reason why you would need it, so we refused to fill it."

Did you see it? Not even pretending to have a good reason anymore. No trumped up safety concerns. No thinly veiled medical rationale. Just "I don't think you need it and you don't need to know why"

That is, until it gets to the level of the corporate spin doctor. This is where it really gets crazy folks:

Walmart, however, disputes that its pharmacist refused to fill the prescription on principal. She refused, says Brian Nick, a company spokesman, because the prescription did not follow FDA guidelines.

Everyone in the pharmacy profession just shot scotch out of their nose. Even if they were drinking water, scotch is what came out. Even if no beverage at all was around, the sheer ridiculousness of this explanation caused single malt to flow through sinuses. Because Wal-Mart, through its spokesman, just seemed to say that prescriptions that do not follow official FDA guidelines should not be filled.

Which is unadulterated bullshit. Lloyd Duplantis wasn't allowed to spew bullshit into my profession and you're not either Wal-Mart. Prepare to be called.

It's estimated 76% of all prescriptions of Seroquel are for off-label, non FDA approved uses. Which I'm sure means Wal-Mart dispenses 76% less Seroquel than its competitors. Right Wal-Mart?


I bet you never allow any amitriptyline for neuralgia to ever leave your place either, right? And no trazodone to treat insomnia. Because there are no official FDA guidelines for that either.

I could go on all night. Because the list of prescription drugs used off label is endless, and Wal-Mart knows it.

But for some reason......only the off label use of misoprostol seems to show up on your radar. What could that reason be?

Because.... that off label use of Seroquel I mentioned really has raised some serious safety concerns, unlike anything to do with misoprostol.  Yet... I don't see any Wal-Mart pharmacists taking a stand on off label Seroquel.

So again, what could the reason be?  That just this one drug......out of zillions that are used off the one to be concerned about?

Everyone reading this now knows the reason Mr. Wal-Mart corporate hack, so you can cut the crap. That pharmacist of yours didn't fill that prescription because she's an anti-abortion zealot who thinks she's entitled to put her beliefs above the people she is obligated to serve, and is also too stupid to know misoprostol has a myriad of uses that wouldn't raise her self-righteous, hypocritical hackles.

Tell the truth Wal-Mart. If you're going to take a stand and give cover to your employees when they attempt to force others to live by their moral code, at least don't lie.

Because while not everyone agrees on the abortion issue, there's a pretty clear consensus among all faiths that liars go to hell.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Potential Posts Are So Many, The Time Is So Short.

So I just got back from Hawaii. Which is awesome. I cannot change the fact some colonial imperialist stole the place awhile back so I might as well take advantage. You should too.

Many things going on in the world of pills while i was away evidently. If I don't write soon about me calling bullshit on APhA and the spawn of Lloyd Duplantis of Gray, Louisiana again rearing their ugly heads please start prodding me to do so. For now though I only have time for this quickie. This is the actual first sentence of an actual story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal I was perusing  through on the flight home:

Exxon Mobil Corp Chief executive Rex Tillerson received total compensation valued at $33 million last year, up 18% from $28 million given in 2013. 

 Hold on though, 'cause you don't get the whole picture until you read the last sentence:

In February, Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil, the largest and richest U.S. oil company reported that its quarterly profit dropped 21% as production declined. 

Read that first and last sentence again. Do it.

And so it goes my friends. Sigh......

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Socialist Invasion Has Begun, And Rubber Bands Are The New Symbol of Surrender.

Big changes reportedly happening at the Pharmacy America used to trust my friends, first and foremost, that artificial corporate person is no longer an American citizen. Remember that vaguely patriotic Walgreen's logo that used to abound in the pill counting world?  Well it no longer fits the global monstrosity that is the new "Walgreens/Boots alliance," and has been relegated to the trash heap of history. Right wing Fox news types take note, the country's largest drug chain is no follower of the doctrine of American exceptionalism, as evidenced by the new logo scrubbed of every trace of red, white, and blue:

Holy crap that thing looks like some sort of campaign sign for the Green party. Could European pussies be replacing good old American corporate assholes? 


Let's break away from the Foxy type of reporting for a minute though and check in with reality. This comes from a source deep in the bowels of the new company who says:

As you’re probably aware, Walgreens “bought out” Alliance Boots. Bought out being the most vague of terms, as (Former Boots and now acting CEO of the new corporation) Stefano Pessina is a much, much smarter businessman that Gregory Wasson was, as the latter was a pharmacist who kissed asses all the way to the top. So Pessina outmaneuvered him at every turn, and now the “Walgreens Boots Alliance” still keeps the Walgreens name, but the upper level of finance is 85% people from the Boots dominion.

USA!!! US....wait....wha? But you thought any country with universal health care automatically had a system on the verge of collapse because evil bureaucrats didn't let anyone make a profit, didn't you? Well guess what dittohead, the land of the National Health Service produced a corporate asshole that just took your home grown one to the cleaners.

Perhaps those Europeans did overestimate American competence just a bit though:

As you also probably know, Walgreens as a company has pledged to cut some obnoxious amount of money.  This is because, when they were preparing for the merger, they were talking out of their ass as much as they could in order to inflate their expectations.  This fell pretty flat on its face, and I’m sure Pessina was thrilled to see the forecasts that he inherited.

Before you get too flustered though, you might be happy to know that some of the language of business is Universal. Mainly the stupid micro-managing bullshit part:

So the initial plan to recoup this billion dollars of loss was to minimize amber vial returns. Logic being that while we only get minimal credit for open stock bottles, we get no credit for pills that are in store prescription bottles. So make sure you use the pills that are in those vials (from return to stocks et. al) before anything out of the stock bottles. This makes sense, right? 
Except the fact that they literally paid someone 50,000 dollars to come up with the idea of.....

Get ready for this. This is great.....

  “rubber banding amber vials to the stock bottle it belongs to so technicians know to use it first” 

BBBBWWWWWWAAAAAHHHHAAAAHHHHHAAAHHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! I seriously put this in contention for some sort of  "stupidest bullshit directive of all time" award, but upon reflection, I realized the current champion, Rite Aid's "no more than 5 labels printed at a time" rule, had absolutely zero impact on revenue, while this time-waster at least is grounded in an attempt to maximize credits. The rubber band thing will have to settle in at number two.

This part of the experience will be no surprise to those of you plugging away inside a corporate swamp though:

they’re so committed to the idea that I receive eight e-mails a week about making sure those rubber banded vials are all over your shelf, and I actually had a visit from a guy from Deerfield because my store was “a high risk store.”  

I wonder if they sent each store a supply of official rubber bands to be used in this program, in order to keep the risk as low as possible? My money says there's a good chance.

There's more than rubber bands afoot in the new order though. It seems the Europeans aren't too bad at good old American downsizing:

Now, obviously, unless 75% of your stores are completely inept (which, in all fairness, I have met some of my peers and walked away wondering that sometimes) they’re not wasting a billion dollars a year on drugs that the technician just doesn’t pick up off the shelf.  So they went to plan B, which is “firebomb every level above store level.”  This is honestly kind of nice, because it gives us the nice thought that maybe they realize they can’t cut any more from store level (I know this is a pipe dream). 
Walgreens initially had a position known as a community leader - this position was a front store manager somewhere that was also responsible for the six stores around them and making sure things ran smoothly.  Walgreens has “pumped up” this position to take the manager out of the store and responsible for about 15 stores instead of about 5, and is calling them the “District Manager” - based on my experiences with the former community leaders, they are going to have the basic pharmacy understanding of a technician school graduate on their first day.  They’re also slashing the “district manager / district pharmacy supervisor” positions in almost half - the half that doesn’t make it can step down to the new “district manager” position (at a pay cut), and the half that does make the cut is now responsible for twice as many stores.  They did the same trimming for the level above them, and cut out 4 markets, evenly dispersing them over the rest.

And now a war on District Managers, which actually.....makes sense. When I was at Rite Aid we went through an extended period where we were District Managerless, and during that time company emails consistently ranked "vacant" as the second or third best district in various company metrics. I'm pretty sure Vacant even kicked everybody's ass and came in first a few times.

Let's sum up:

So end-game here is a couple things:
1)  The suits who have been trying to make us do more with less now all the sudden have to cover more ground with less help, which is a nice twist on what we’ve had to do for a while. 
2)  Someone, somewhere in this merger has given me hope that someone might have a glimmer of the idea that “you can save as much money by cutting a middle-management paper-pusher who is making 150,000 a year as you can by cutting 15,000 tech hours in his spot, and the tech hours are more productive” 
3)  I’m going to have a whole new level of high school graduate telling me how a pharmacy should be run, and complaining that I’m overpaid.

 Time will tell how profitable the British socialists will be. In the meantime, I think I might buy stock in a rubber band company. Whichever one Fox News says will never succeed. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Let's Go For The Trifecta. Stuff That Somehow Didn't Get Me Fired Part 3.

Blogpost original air date December 21st, 2007

I May Be Single Handedly Responsible For Every Chain Pharmacy In This Country Being Woefully Understaffed

Why? Because Corpo-pharmacy bigwigs know that the very second I am not drowning in prescriptions, things like this start happening to their displays.

The horses have been going at it for two days now. If anyone bothers to notice, and figure out the source, It'll probably make my lobbying for more tech help a little harder.

Does make the 12 hour day go a bit quicker though.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Stuff That Somehow Didn't Get Me Fired, Part 2

Blogpost original airdate: Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Story Of Unparalleled Customer Service. In Your Face Walgreens.

I had been getting the living piss beat out of me for about 9 and a half hours. A customer interrupted the filling of another's prescription to ask if we had a product called "air." I shit you not. If there is a company out there that is dumb enough to name a product "air," I don't want to know about it and will happily blow off anyone wanting to buy it. Then the phone rings. This is the unedited beginning of the conversation:

Me: Thank you for calling corpo-pharmacy, may I help you?

Dumbass: IS THERE A (name of corpo pharmacy chain here) OFF THE LAWRENCE EXPRESSWAY??

Here is a summary of my thoughts over the next two seconds:

Well hello to you too.

There is one highway in this little town. Its name isn't Lawrence.

The nearest city that is big enough to name its highways would be at least 80 miles away.

There is no guarantee that is the city this person is talking about.

Fuck this guy.

"Yeah, you take the first exit after the big overpass, make a right at the light, and it's in the strip center with the McDonalds. " Is what I said. Or something like that. I don't remember exactly, as it was a totally random set of directions for a city that existed only in my mind. If I had been given the name of a real city maybe I would have done better.

The sound the dumbass made before he hung up the phone was something like..."hhhuuurroookk"

I immediately felt bad. What if I just steered some prissy-ass white boy into the ghetto and a carjacking? What if he was trying to get a prescription filled for a kid who didn't know Daddy was both extremely dumb and extremely rude? Crap. Maybe this time the Drugmonkey had gone too far.


He found it. The dumbass fucking found it. I think the key was my mentioning of the McDonalds. "Take a right and look for the McDonalds" just might work in any situation really. I wondered if Burger King might be the key to getting the guy's insurance card to work.

I suppose I could use Google to find out where the Lawrence Expressway is, but at this point I really don't want to know. I also don't want to know where you can buy air.

I hate all people.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

We'll File This Under "Stuff That Somehow Didn't Get Me Fired"

Blogpost original air date : Friday, October 20, 2006

My Employer Really Needs To Give Me More To Do......

.....because when it gets to the point where I'm bored enough to clean, bad things can happen.

Such a point was reached a couple weeks ago. It was a beautiful day and most people had sense enough not to waste it in a drugstore. This left me with a choice of staring blankly at the family planning section while listening to the likes of John Mayer serenade me through the in store music system, or do a badly-needed reorganization of the miscellaneous "we don't need this but don't want to throw it away" section at the back of the happy little pill room. I went with option one as long as I could, about an hour, before the sound of "No Such Thing" was like that of an icepick being driven through my eardrum.

Fine. I'll clean something.

One of the first things I found was a pile of old auxiliary labels. You know, the "may cause drowsiness" type stickers we put on your vial so our ass is covered when you take 10 Xanax then wrap your car around a tree. These days, most of them are printed along with your label and not put on separately, meaning the half empty box of "for anal use only" tags I found would probably never be used. How sad. If only there were some way for these little stickers not to go to waste.

I looked back at the family planning section.

Why not a little experiment? You know, in the name of science, the way the TV show "Candid camera" was all about science. I discreetly slipped over to where my favorite type of Trojans were on display. Two rows side by side, perfect. One row got the "for anal use only" stickers on their front corner, one didn't. After two weeks, here's what I can report:

3 boxes of anal condoms picked up and put back when the customer realized they weren't designed for the planned hole.

1 customer carefully looking over his options and going with the anal prophylactics.

1 customer question to me as to what the difference was. I assured the customer they were both the same product and was shocked, just shocked, that someone could be so immature as to put these stickers on as some sort of sick joke. The customer still went non-anal.

Today I saw the store manager taking the labels off, so these will be my final results. Damn.

Although I do still have some "for the ear" stickers left.......

Monday, March 09, 2015

Here's What The Big Deal Was About At That Bridge In Alabama This Weekend. I Told You About It 8 Years Ago.

Original Blogpost Airdate : January 15, 2007

Free At Last, They Took Your Life. They Could Not Take Your Pride.

At the danger of repeating myself, damn you used to come up with the best lines Bono. Used to.

In case you're wondering why there's no mail today, I'll tell you a little story that might go a ways towards explaining:

In 1965, some smart people in Selma, Alabama noticed something. Only around half of the people in their town were registered to vote, and it seemed that most of those that weren't were black folks. As smart as they were they couldn't seem to figure out why. They all knew Ninety-five years earlier these words were put into the United States Constitution, which meant there was no way the black folks could possibly be being kept from voting on purpose:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

"Maybe it's some sort of typo", some thought. Others said that maybe no one bothered to tell the crackers in the state capital of Montgomery that these words had been put in the document that is the supreme law of this country. They knew the crackers weren't very smart, so maybe no one had bothered to explain to the crackers what the big words in the 15th Amendment actually meant. They decided to walk over to Montgomery to ask the crackers what was up. Here's what happened:

The man in the light coat on the ground is John Lewis. The cops were so jealous of how smart he was they fractured his skull trying to get a look at his brain. Later that year Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which told the not so bright crackers in language they could understand that they had to let black folks vote. The end of the Voting Rights Act Reads:

"P.S. -We mean it this time. Seriously."

There's one more picture I want you to see that will tell you how the story ended. Take a look:

That's Congressman John Lewis getting sworn in this month to his 10th term by Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi. That's right my friends, today the Drugmonkey actually told you a story with a happy ending. May you remember it long after the bills resume their flight to your mailbox.