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Monday, August 31, 2009


Well the year has started in earnest, and I'm already having difficulty staying awake in class. We all know it can be difficult to stay awake for just 50 minutes when a professor is droning on and on about some nonsense review from the year before, but when the college refuses to turn the AC on and a student has 3 classes in a row in the same room, it becomes nearly impossible.

Picture this: It's 78 degrees, Ben Stein has been saying "Bueller, Bueller, Bueller, Ionic bond, Bueller..." etc. for the past 30 minutes, and you've been sitting in the same chair for 90 minutes. Sleepy yet?

I can't believe they expect us to learn like this. I was too busy focusing all my concentration on keeping my eyelids open rather than on my professor that I can't even recall what the hell the third lecture was about. I don't even know what class it was. I think it was pharmacuetics, but I could be wrong.

I'm going to have to start drinking coffee or something, because this is ridiculous.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dear Drug Topics, Get Your Shit Together.

I was looking through the August issue of Drug Topics today because I was eating lunch and didn't have access to a computer, and I happened to notice a few things that made me question not only the writers but the also editors of the magazine.

First off, they have a special insert about brand name drugs about to go generic, and whoever wrote it seemed to have a very limited vocabulary, plus no access to a thesaurus, or an internet connection (yes, the internet can be used for more than blogging and porn, who knew?). Seriously, the word "blockbuster" was used about 10-15 times. Now, I know some drugs are very popular, and occasionally our line of customers extends out our door, but in no way, shape, or form has a single drug ever caused a line to go around the block, which is quite literally what the word means. A lesson to you young ones out there: "blockbuster" was first coined to describe movies that were so popular that people would line up around the block just to see it. Think Harry Potter. Now it's used to describe anything popular. That's fine, but do you have to use it 12 times in one 4-page article?

Second off, they say that Imitrex is about to lose its patent and that GSK is working on approval for it's spin-off drug Trexima. As you know, there are three things wrong with that. Imitrex has already lost it's patent, and the spin-off drug is Treximet, not Trexima. Yes, originally it was called Trexima, but it's currently August 2009, and it's now called Treximet, probably because it sounds less pussy. Oh, and Treximet is already on the market, so obviously it's been approved.

Third and final thing, in the article about how technology will free up pharmacists to focus on MTM and counseling and blah blah blah, they show a pharmacist using a Parata machine that Parata doesn't even make anymore. My pharmacy has this robot, and there's a reason Parata discontinued making it. We get vial cap feed errors constantly, and it's filling error percentage is sometimes alarmingly high. Parata has other machines that are much newer and better than the one Drug Topics depicts in it's prestigious magazine, but apparently DT couldn't be bothered with locating pictures of one for their article about emerging technology.

Come on, Drug Topics, get your shit together.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thanks, Fuckers.

I'm sitting on campus right now with absolutely nothing to do but wait until 1:30 when my first class starts because the people in charge found it unnecessary to tell us that our lab doesn't start until the week of September 14th. About half of the class showed up and waited patiently for the lab doors to open at 11:30, but at 11:40 we saw no movement in the lab and decided to check with the office to see what's going on. The 10 minute rule is usually the main rule of thumb, but I've been screwed over before when the teacher showed up 20 minutes late and decided to throw a pop-quiz, so we went down to ask the powers that be.

"Oh, that lab doesn't start until September 14th," the secretary told us.

Now I know it's really hard to communicate now-a-days. It's not like we've got a series of tubes that Al Gore invented that can share information with a click of a rodent. Wait a minute...

So, instead of sleeping in until noon like I normally would've, I got up relatively early just to come sit and do nothing.

Thanks, fuckers.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Letter To Watson

Dear Watson,

Not to be a stickler, but why oh why do you manufacture BuPROPion 150mg SR with two different NDCs? Because of this, my robot will not let me add your drug into it until it runs out of that same drug with a different NDC. So as I wait for 3 or 4 more prescriptions of BuPROPion 150mg SR to come in, I stand and look at the other bottles of BuPROPion 150mg SR sitting on my shelf. They turn green with envy as I tell them I cannot dispense them until I have run out of the other NDC. It is obvious they do not like this.

Watson, why must you put this strain upon me and my drugs? I fear a civil war will break out amongst the BuPROPion 150mg SR species. I fear for the safety of my drugs as well as my coworkers. There could be much powder spilled. It does not need to be this way. You can stop this.

Please, please, for the sake of your children, make only one NDC. Many lives will be saved.



A Call For Action

I finally got my hands on the August issue of Drug Topics that I was waiting for since I read that the Drugmonkey was writing another article for profit. I cannot say that I was not disappointed, because I was. Here's the article for your reading pleasure.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great article. I know a good persuasive article when I see one, and this is one. The only problem with the article is that it identifies a problem, but doesn't provide a solution. All across the country pharmacists who are taking a shit will be inspired to do something to change their working conditions because of this article, but they won't know what to do. In Speech 101 they teach you to convince your audience there is a problem, then show them how to help solve it in a simple way. He did not show us how to solve it.

Of course, anyone who reads his blog would know that he has already shown us what we can do. We can donate to Bill Monning, who seems to be the only person close to Washington to give a shit about pharmacists. This is the easiest, simplest, most convenient way to show we care about our profession.

I assume Drug Topics would not allow Drugmonkey to ask people to donate money to an Assemblymember in its magazine, which is why he didn't. Either that, or he couldn't fit a call to action in the one sheet of paper he had to make his argument. I choose to believe Drug Topics didn't want to get politcal.

Donate. You'll feel better about yourself, knowing that you helped others and yourself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Customer Service

I love it when people from other aspects of my life recognize me in the pharmacy, especially when the people have been assholes to me and realize I now know potentially embarrassing information about them.

Recently my Mac crashed. It would turn on and show me a picture of a file with an exclamation mark next to it. I took it into The Computer Store (yes, it's an actual store), where they said they would look at it. As it turns out, my hard drive went to hell, or something. I asked the guy who worked on it why it crashed, was it something I did, or what? He had information that I wanted. His response, as he made a slight shrug, was "Apple got a bad batch."

"What do you mean?" I asked, "What happened? How did it fail?" I wanted to know what the fuck happened to my computer.

"It just failed," he told me.

I kept phrasing my question in different ways to see if I could get some sort of explanation out of him, and I got none. Now I'm pissed. I was already unhappy that my computer decided to commit suicide, but this guy didn't even explain what had happened. I just wanted to know exactly what had happened. I don't know the first thing about computers, but I wanted this guy to explain to me why I was paying $250 to him to give me my computer back with a new, blank hard drive. The most I got out of him was "It just failed."

The next day I see him come in to my pharmacy with a prescription for an antibiotic, and a big cut on his nose. I assumed some angry customer punched him in the face, because I know I wanted to do the same thing. I was running the cash register at the time and when we finished filling the prescription it was obvious that he did not know why he was taking the medication or even how to take it. I had information that he wanted. I saw the opportunity to repay the asshole who didn't give me the time of day the previous day, and I let it pass. Instead, I explained to him why he was taking the antibiotic, what it did, and how to take it. He stared at me, obviously grateful that I was giving him information about his medication and not unfolding the stapler and whacking a few staples in his face, which is what I wanted to do.

I showed him what it was like to give people the information they want. I gave him good customer service. I would like to think that he started treating his customers better, but since I'll never go back to that store again, except to possibly staple his face, I won't ever find out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh Oxycodone

I don't know how to present this story. I have tried a few times but cannot seem to translate what I feel into actual words, which usually means the story won't be interesting. I'll try though.

It was a day that I wish HIPPA would go fuck itself so I could stop a nice person from being taken advantage of. It was also a day I wish I had a license to kill. I don't remember the last time I've felt such hatred towards anyone. Well, actually I do, but that story is irrelevant.

We got a prescription for Oxycodone for a patient that is a well-known addict. This guy is on all the lists; everyone is watching him. We called the doctor to let him know. He knew, but still prescribed it. There isn't anything else we can do, so we fill it.

After filling it, the patient calls in to ask if it's finished. We tell him it's finished, and ready for him to pick up. Ok, good, he says. Oh, and I was wondering if I could get a copy of the prescription?

Well, yes, we say, but we're going to have to write VOID or COPY on it.

Oh, really? So it won't look exactly the same?

No, we cannot give you an identical copy of the presciption. That would be illegal.

Oh, well how much is it then?

$62.79 (or something like that).

Now, this is where I start having a problem with this guy. He got his prescription. He convinced his doctor to give it to him. If he wants to roll on Oxycodone every day without hurting anyone that's his own business. But the fact that he wanted a copy of the prescription tells me that he isn't necessarily using it. He's probably selling it. Maybe he isn't, maybe he just wants to use more, but that's not what I think. It gets worse.

We get another phone call. This one is from a church. They were wondering if a certain patient has a prescription with us, and also if they could pay for it. It just so happens to be our Oxy patient. We tell them that yes, we do have a prescription for him, but it's pretty expensive, around $60.

"Oh, the price doesn't matter, we just want to help him."

Now that is a direct quote from the person on the phone. I'm sure he just told them that he really needed his medication but couldn't afford it. All I wanted to do was tell them not to do this, that this man was taking advantage of their kindness in the worst possible way. I wanted to throw HIPPA out the window and explain the situation, but I couldn't.

I felt dirty as some nice, kind, caring lady came in to my pharmacy and paid for this man's "needed" medication. Notice that I said a lady paid. The church didn't pay. The lady wrote a personal check for this guy's Oxycodone. She unknowingly fueled his addiction, all because she wanted to help someone, and there was nothing I could do. That didn't stop me from feeling dirty.

When the man came in to get his prescription. I walked to the back. I couldn't give him the prescription. I asked the pharmacist to do it. I stood in the back of the store while the anger inside me welled up past critical mass for the second time in my life as I watched the man smile as he received his monkey for free. I wanted hurt him. I wanted him to feel the pain he says he has. But in the end, he won't. He took advantage of the kindness of others.

And there was nothing I could do.