Monday, June 18, 2012

And I remain........

"I don't have my card, and I don't know the number!"  chirped the young lady as she checked in
to pick up her electronically-prescribed prescription (thank God she wasn't responsible for bringing
us that piece of paper, either).  Why doesn't this situation EVER get better?  It's becoming more and
more expected that part of our 'customer service' is figuring out people's insurance for them.  What other
business that relies on 3rd-party payers is run that way?  And if your prescriptions are completely covered
by the state?  Well, if I had a little card that allowed me to walk away from the pharmacy counter with
hundreds of dollars of medications at no cost to me, you can be damn sure I would bring that card
with me.  And if I got a new card in the mail, you can be damn sure I'd bring the new one too.

I remain glad to see the abuse/overuse of narcotic prescriptions getting some attention. The amount
of time I spend every day on C-II drugs (double-counting, inventorying, logging, re-ordering)  is
getting SO out of hand. I'm forced to keep huge inventories of these medications and I still can't keep
up. I remain mystified as to the ultimate plan for my customers gobbling up OxyContin for back pain.
We had a customer cheerily remark the other day "Yah, some a' these pharmacies are gettin' in trouble
with all these drugs, eh???"   Yeah, dude, we pharmacies are the troublemakers.
And what was this customer picking up?  OxyContin.  Never did figure that one out.

I remain convinced that one of the solutions to our health care costs has to be the outsourcing
of 'minor' ailments --- to 'quick clinics', non-M.D. practitioners, and to pharmacies (by way of
a third class of drugs that pharmacists can prescribe or dispense on their own.)
I think many of the doctor visits that Americans engage in (in my world, anyway)
are unnecessary and wasteful.  People don't understand the costs.  If they did, I hope they
would think twice about rushing to the doctor with every little sniffle or skin rash -- that way,
there would be more money to include the uninsured people who don't go to the doctor at all.

And finally, with the statins we've made great strides in cholesterol management and cardiovascular
disease. The next great frontier ----  sugar.  Any pharmacist can tell you how buried they are with
blood sugar medications, diabetes meters, testing strips, lancets ----  the time and money that goes
into diabetic and pre-diabetic teaching and monitoring; doctor visits, labs, insurance hassles (don't you
love it when they all of a sudden decide to stop covering one type of meter and you have to switch
people to a totally different system --- just because? And their old supplies -- well, I guess they go into the
trash).   It is staggering.  So if the mayor of New York says restaurants can't sell 20oz. sodas anymore --
it's OK by me.  Baby steps.