Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Chronicles of the Expired Exemption Card

January is almost over and to all NZ pill counters this only means one thing: explaining to the regulars why they have to start paying $3 per item*

The OFDs don't like change, they like their routines. Remember when Coronation Street's time slot on TV was changed because they wanted to slot in Master Chef? The grand total of 5 people were devastated (yet it made headlines in NZ, which just goes to show that really little happens here in the deep southern hemisphere, other than that one time when I was piloting this helicopter and made a mess). It doesn't help that those who qualifies for an exemption card are usually polypharmacy and reaches the twenty item threshold* within the first 3-6months. For the latter part of that year they then proceed to forget they ever paid the $3/item and accuse you for working for the big pharma corporations to rip off the common layman.

This is what I propose:

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Child Resistant Cap

Preventing elderly Parkinson patients from getting their meds since 2011 NZ.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Pharmacist's Translation for the Common Folks - Part 2

This is a continuation from the first "Pharmacist's Translation for the Common Folks":

On the dispensing label the pharmacist types: "Insert ONE unwrapped pessary/suppository......"

Working in a retail pharmacy you sometimes do fear for the state of humanity. That's right folks, people do insert pessaries/suppositories with the plastic wrapping still intact. Another pharmacist told me they actually had a patient saying to him "Oh, you didn't tell me to unwrap the thing before inserting". Seriously guys, fast food restaurants don't tell you to unwrap your bloody burger before you eat so I think it's more than reasonable to assume that such a knowledge of unwrapping goes without saying. Every time I type the word "unwrap" it reminds me of the MacDonald Hot Coffee lawsuit and a little bit of me dies inside. Why do I still do it? Cause I am nice like that*.

How often do you use this? (said to an obvious anorexic buying a stimulant laxative)

With summer upon us**, the sale of laxatives unexpectedly unsurprisingly soars. Short of straight up refusing sale, I find it hard to probe the "abuse" issue other than just reinforcing that one should focus more on lifestyle choices before using laxative. I get one of these people at least once a day now.

The Pill Counter remains silent after a patient asks for a repeat, without saying their name (edit:on the phone).

It's a forgivable mistake often made by the patients but I do this mainly cause it's kinda funny (I try to keep myself entertained in a small pharmacy) and perhaps make an impression upon them that they are not the only people I serve.

When a patient asks to pick up three months worth of meds in one go, I ask "Are you travelling?"

I want to see if you have a legit reason to take it all stat. I know it might seem a hassle to pick up your prescriptions every month but seriously, if you only pay $3 for your Tambocor, I don't think you have any right to complain. Let us earn the 2 extra little dispensing fees instead of robbing us of them just because "you can't be bothered to come back in" even though you live one block away and pass the pharmacy everyday.

*No, I don't do it cause I am scared of getting sued. Health professionals in New Zealand are not liable to civil law suits due to the Accident Compensation Corporation scheme.

** Being in the southern hemisphere, it is summer now in New Zealand and yes we do have Christmas in summer with BBQs outside and surf and all that.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

2012 - End of New Years Resolutions

I am sure I am not the only one that hold such notion, but having new years resolutions are about as useful as drug addicts adding zeros at the end of "mitte: 30" on a script for Diazepam (or Valium for those more familiar with brand names).

Be honest, how many of you have tried to makes these resolutions (be it related to business, personal or social) only to have it shoved in the bin like all those Viagra generic* fliers that you were inundated with last year.

If your goals were really important then why wait till the new years to start taking action? If they weren't that important for you to take action during the year then why put it in as a NYR?

Perhaps the resolution "Don't wait till the beginning of the year to take action" will suffice for the rest of our lives?

Just some food for thought.

*Pfizer's patent on Viagra expired last year in New Zealand.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

24/7 Pharmacy

Took a picture of this while I was overseas a couple of months back. Perhaps this is the future of Auckland Pharmacies? So competitive to the point that perhaps one has to open 24/7?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Medication Wastage - The Cost of Irresponsibility

The other day this lady came in to dispose some of her husband's medication. It was about 4 boxes worth of Lipitor 10mg literally untouched like a baby's bottom. So I inquired as to the reason of the return. She revealed that her husband has been put on to another medication "or something".

Being the curious guy that I am, I pulled up the guy's file to see what he was swapped to, thinking maybe he got put on the fancy Crestor that the Astra rep (these reps almost always needing a set of pronounced curvaceous glory) have been raving about.

Behold, he was put on to Lipitor 20mg just a few days before.

Connecting the dots together (the returned lipitor had a dispensing label dated 3 months ago), one realises that he has not been taking *any* of the Lipitor for at least 3-4 months. The Dr, being none the wiser, understandably increased the dose due to unchanged/worsening cholesterol profile.

This whole exercise have just put $80 of the tax payer's money down the drain plus the $90 worth of 20mg that he most likely is not going to take. But does he give a shit? Not really seeing as he only pays $3 per script.

This is small money in the grand scheme of things but I hope he doesn't end up being one of those guys that gets on Campbell Live and complain that he has to wait for 6 months to get a CABG.