Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Think The Better Question Is Why Does It Take So Long For You To Pick Up Your Prescription?

Seriously. All you have to do is give me your goddamn money and walk away. Those are the only requirements you have to meet. Which means you have a hell of a lot of chutzpah asking what took me so long. There's no law that says you must take 5 minutes to make out a check. As a matter of fact, it's perfectly legal for you to make out most of your check ahead of time, before you even approach the counter. If I tried to do your DUR before you even presented me with a prescription, you might have a case for putting me in jail. So back the fuck off. 

You are also under no obligation to answer your phone the second it goes off. I however, am expected to take calls not only from your sorry ilk through the beginning, middle, and end of the prescription filling process, but from unimportant schleps like nurses and doctors with questions of the type that can't be answered by reading your prescription label. 

Which seem to be the only type of questions you can come up with. I love the "grab the bottle while simultaneously asking a question that can only be answered by looking at the bottle" maneuver. That speeds things up. Making both of us wait for you to put the goddamn bottle back down so I can tell you how many refills you have left after you realize you can't read the label that's been in front of your face for 30 seconds makes things nice and quick. Your commitment to speed in your own life only serves to motivate me to ask myself what I can do to make the prescription filling process faster.

Nothing. That's what I can do you fuck. You however, could speed things along quite nicely by not treating me telling you your copay amount as the beginning of a negotiating session. I am not a car dealer.  When I tell you how much your insurance company has determined your share of the cost of your prescription will be, you have two choices. 1) Accept it and pony up or 2) Don't pay it and go away. If you choose #2, I can return your prescription to you, but haggling will only rob us both of time we can never get back, and will never, ever, result in you paying one penny less. I don't care if it was $5 last time, I don't care what the status is of your deductible, and if I did, which let me say again that I don't, I would be powerless to change how much you owe me right now. 

It also helps when you decide you have insurance only after you hear how expensive your prescription will be. Nice and quick that'll make things.

Have you finished making out that check yet? Didn't think so. 

Yes. It was a bad day. I'll be back to my cheery self tomorrow. Maybe. No guarantees on that. 


Nancy said...

Poor Drugmonkey. It's like you were in my pharmacy, looking over my shoulder all day.

Feelin' your pain.

jewel30 said...

Yes, this describes my workplace exactly. Amazing how people are so much alike no matter where they are from. Every Sat. we spend about 45 mins. taking bags out of the customer pick up bins and reversing the claims and putting the drugs back in stock because no one has come to pick up the drug they had their Dr. write a prescription for, never will understand that. Sometimes it's the price but lots of times there isn't any co pay and they still don't pick it up.

Anonymous said...

standing in line behind these idiots is no joy wonder the script i'm standing in line for is clonazepam

Rev. T. Monkey said...

"As a matter of fact, it's perfectly legal for you to make out most of your check ahead of time, before you even approach the counter."

Thank you Drugmonkey, thank you!! I am driven crazy by people who wait for the cashier to give them a total before they fill in the payee information on the check. Why are people so thick?

Annapolitan said...

Poor Drug Monkey. I need a drink just reading the account of your day.

Anonymous said...

Drug monkey, I find it helps a lot if you just start with the basic assumption that the average american is a greedy, lazy, idiot. Then you can explain your patient's actions with much more ease.

Anonymous said...

The comment about haggling struck me--my husband's from the old country where haggling is a way of life (though I doubt there's much of a leg to stand on when wanting to work out a better price deal for a pharmaceutical--lucky him) and I just pictured this young professional in his new 'girlie' smock attempting to come to terms with Hayseed Hank who'd brought in a couple chickens and several dozen still-warm eggs.

But, as for the matter of picking up meds... from my perspective, after the anxiety of learning I had a 'condition' for which I'd have to take a daily pill the rest of the time, I had to further traumatize myself with calling in the refill request on an automatic refill machine--like my phone always took me over to the liquor dept., on hold almost forever, until finally someone figured how to transfer the call in-house. Once, I remembered to call back after a few days after the deficiency symptoms were too bad. So after that I ordered refills early so as not to actually run out of the drug (or refills), and sometimes they'd huff and puff about me not coming to pick it up before they wanted to throw it out. And when there was too much flak about ordering early, I got to telling them in the pharmacy I'd pay cash, but then I found that they'd charge p'rt near same as 3 fills as for 3 months worth whether or not I paid cash, so now I avoid the hassle, and go out to the abattoir and fix me up a year's worth at a time. My Hayseed Hank doesn't much care for the stench of dessicated thyroid, but I take it out to the garage and remind him that he likes my liverwurst.

(defiant)conviction said...

You are my [freakin] IDOL.

Come to Chicago and work for my pharmacy! Trust me, you will have PLENTY more rants to write about haha

DKLA said...

Those in the retail biz feel your pain DM.

I can't stand people saying they 'dropped the Rx off hours ago' when we had documentation that they were in the store 30 minutes ago. I tell everyone that leaves the store to give a call to see if the Rx is done. The alternative is a pissy, dumb-ass standing next to the register and do a staring contest to our backsides.

What I usually do to get them to hang up at the register is to tell them it is a HIPAA violation (you're passing/confirming drug info and other personal information). They either hang up or I force them to wait till they are finished. Through clenched teeth [aka smile].

Anonymous said...

You sound angry, but when people are rude and disrespectful, you have full right to be angry. I need to work on being much more aggressive/assertive with rude customers. I am usually caught off guard by these rude, miserable people and just stand there in shock. But seriously, some people act like complete assholes for no reason at the pharmacy and I'm gonna start saying "oh hell no" and just flat out tell them they are rude. We don't have to put up with that, because when someone shits on you, it really does ruin your mood/day

Charlie said...

I walk up to the counter and say, "Pills for Charlie." You go to the bin and...

my cell phone rings

But seriously.

My favorite was a lady coming to pick up Topamax for her adult MR/DD daughter on Part D. The Rx never got filled somehow, and the good people at W.H.I. were giving me the ever helpful "DUR REJECT ERROR".

Five times I told the woman, "Your daughter's prescription benefit is choosing to not provide benefits for this fill. Would you like me to call them to pursue this further?"

Five times she said, "This should have been filled and ready before I got here!" (nevermind that the pills were already counted.)

After the fifth time with this go-around, I declared, "FINE! I'LL CASH IT OUT!" My R.Ph. started cracking up, and I walked over to the register and said, "Your total is $386.72."

You can imagine the hilarity that ensued.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh...these are the posts that keep me coming back to this little "blog garden." Sometimes when I'm behind the counter I don't feel like anyone out there really understands how frustrating retail pharmacy truly is. I work all day in a rushed frenzie without breaks to lengthen the lives of complete idiots...but at least there's Drugmonkey's blog to look forward to at the end of the day.

Thank you Drugmonkey.

Phrustrated Pharmacist said...

What the hell is "Hayseed Hank" blubbering about? Seems to me this is exactly the type of person DM is describing. Look, anonymous (if that is your real name), calling in a refill over the phone is not too freakin' hard. No, really. If "your phone took you over to the liquor dept." then it is an alcoholic phone and can't be trusted. That is, unless, your phone is in search of scotch (right DM?). I read that thing 4 times and still have no idea what you are trying to tell us. You can't negotiate copays or warm eggs at the pharmacy or a pharmacy blog site. Leave us poor pharmacists alone. Have fun at your "abattoir" - later.

Nana Jackie said...

You just made my hellish night in hospital pharmacy hell seem a little less hellish. You retail guys occupy a whole other level of hell. Guess I'll keep to my version of hell; at least I don't have to deal with the hella stupid public.

Anonymous said...

ya know what really pisses me off...when I walk to the counter and go to scan the Rx...and they say, "wait! don't scan that yet!" And starts asking questions about some stupid OTC product...finally, after much pondering, they say, can go ahead...

thanks for wasting my time while I have about 25 due in 10mins and only one other person back there.

Anonymous said...

How bout this one I had on the phone at my pharmacy today:

Customer: (after asking about a drug interaction) I am having some teeth extracted and need some dentures made. How long does that take?

Me: How long for which one?

Customer: the dentures!

Me: I have no idea.

Customer: What about the tooth extraction?

Me: I have no idea.

Utah Savage said...

Drugmonkey, I follow you on twitter. And I'm a mere consumer of drugs, not another pharmacist. But I do like your snarky comments and perhaps I will learn to be a better customer at the counter by listening to all of you rage against the ignoramus. I am, no doubt, a drug taking ignoramus, but I love my pharmacist. Especially the handsome one. Perhaps part of the reason I love my pharmacist is my medicare part D, special case poverty exemption that makes my several thousands dollars worth of drugs dirt cheap. As I recall, when I was paying the full freight I did not love my pharmacist quite so much.

Katie Schwartz said...

You'll be happy to know that I never blame my pharmacist for my shortcomings. I love my pharmdaddy of doom!

I e-stalk my refill request. I show up an hour or two later, it's filled and, and, and I have an account, so he charges my credit card. My transactions are smooth and swift.

Sorry your customers are douchey.

Katie Schwartz said...

I think I prefer douchetards over douchey.

Anonymous said...

Customer trying to fill a lortab prescription from a dentist while another Lortab prescription is ready for her,on being told that she could not have both,she snapped and dropped a couple of F bombs and said "this one is for my tooth pain and the other prescription is from my gynecologist "!!.I have read of this happening to my colleagues,but I always thought it was kind of a pharmacy legend,until yesterday.
Yesterday I told another patient that it might take about 15 minutes to fill his prescription ,he huffed and puffed and said "that long !!,then I am going to take my prescription to Walgreens ".Walgreens and less than 15 minutes haha,not in these parts idiot.
Two jokesters in one day,bless my Pharmacy ,made my day much easier to get through.

Cliomatix said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and am currently working my way through your archives.

But as a European, it is still puzzling to me why pharmacy visits take so long in the US. My wife and I had concocted the theory that the retailers force the pharmacists to take 20min to count the pills to increase store sales, but that does not seem to be the case.

In Europe (mind you governmental health care system), when I go into the pharmacy, I give them the prescription, they fetch the box or count the pills right then and there (often in front of my eyes), tell me what it costs, I pay (since no one has a choice), and I leave. 2 minutes max.

Any insights on that?

Anonymous said...

Just a guess...but, assuming that European countries have only one form of 'insurance', limited numbers of branded drugs, and not everyone and their brother is taking some medication in a limited quantity as dictated by the insurance company. Just a guess.

When we just typed labels, used the Bates numbering stamp, and handwrote documentation on the back of the script, it was pretty simple then, too. (Of course, some of us druggists hand-typed labels faster than others, so there was that, too.)

Anonymous said...

this is fantastic! My staff and I actually have said these words to each other! Love it! Thank you, thank you!!