Thursday, April 15, 2010

What You Get for Your Money

What do pharmacists do to earn their paltry $7 fee?

when I get a prescription, it is entered into the computer. Hopefully, you get all your medications at one store, so I can look quickly at your file and deal with any issues. Some of the common issues:

1. Drug interactions. Some are a big deal and I have to call the doctor with other suggestions or options. Some are not a big deal and can be ignored.
2. Dosage changes that weren't really meant to be. Doctor wrote for the 100mg when last time it was 50mg. Generally I ask the patient if they are expecting a change. If not, then I call the doctor.
3. Illegible prescriptions or prescriptions printed off a computer where the doctor chose the wrong thing off the drop down menu. I have to call the doctor to clarify
4. Drug isn't covered on your plan. I call the doctor to suggest alternatives that ARE covered to save you a few bucks.
5. Drug is something called a 'limited use' drug, which requires that the doctor write a code on the prescription so we can bill your drug plan. And the doctor didn't write the code, or used the wrong code.
6. Drug is no longer made or is on back order or is something so rarely used it is a special order which won't be in till tomorrow

These are the ones that spring to mind, There are many other less common issues that crop up on a daily basis. All of the above require a call to your doctor to sort out.

Other things you pay for with your fee:
Counselling when you pick up your prescription. Advice on what over the counter medication to buy when you have a minor problem. Triage services. Basically, should you go to the emergency room or not? Pretty much anytime you talk to your pharmacist for free. It is 'free' because of the dispensing fee.

Some of the funnier questions I have had over the years:
I broke my mercury thermometer in my swimming pool. What should I do? (call a pool specialist)
I was doing some renovation work on my house and took the grate off the heating vent. My cat climbed into the hole and won't come out. What should I do? (How would a pharmacist know? Call an HVAC guy)
Do I know where the phone caller could buy jimson weed? (um, no)
I dropped my Zantac pills into the sink and tried to dry them out by putting them in my frying pan to dry off. (they actually brought those in. They were scorched black and STUNK!)