Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fussy patients/pharmacists

Don’t you just hate fussy patients? Every pharmacy has them. People that want a specific generic. Mrs P wants white atenolol as the orange gives her diarrhoea.  Mr S wants orange atenolol as the white gives him constipation. Mr T can only have Bristol Metformin because the others taste funny while Mrs X will die if she does not get Actavis Prednisolone.

You try to explain in vain that it’s the same medication, just made my somebody else, but they never listen. Sometimes it is easy enough. You just have to pick a different box off the shelf. Most times it not that easy. You have to ring your wholesaler to ask for the specific generic. It is generally more expensive than the generic that you normally keep in. Sometimes you ask for a white tablet and then get sent five different generics in the hope that one is white.

You have to add a note to the patients PMR to remind you that they like a specific generic.
Then you have to add another note to remind you not to ignore the first note. You don’t get a specific thank you every time you get the specific generic for the patient but you do get a bollocking if you don’t. This generally happens when you have a locum who is not familiar with their needs.

Once, I was in a branch and forget to give an old battleaxe a particular brand of Simvastatin. My Superintendent was in that branch the day after me. He bore the full force of the patient’s fury. I thought that was pretty funny. I was not laughing when the dispensing error report came in the post though.

However, have we ever stopped to consider it from the patient’s point of view. They have been told to take a tablet every day for the rest of their lives (sometimes). If having a particular generic is causing them gastrointestinal problems, then they may not take it. They will not adhere. We will not be doing our jobs properly. The best medicine is the one that the patient takes everyday. So, lets stop being fussy about helping patients and try our best to help them. Dont you just hate fussy pharmacists?


Undercover Boss

I watched the Channel 4 show, ‘Undercover Boss’ for the first time recently. For those of you that have not seen it the managing director of a large company goes undercover and works at one of their stores. It got me thinking about superintendent pharmacists and if they still practice?

What would they think if they went to work in one of their pharmacies?

Would they be happy with what they saw?

Would they be able to cope with checking more than 500 items?

Could they placate an angry Mrs Smith because she got a different colour Simvastatin tablet?

Could they quickly sort out staff disputes before they escalate?

More importantly, could they do enough MURs to keep the area manager from bullying them? If not, why not?

This is not aimed at independents or small multiples.

I remember working with my superintendent as a summer student and as a pre-reg. He still practices now at least one day a week and I think he is a better superintendent for it. He understands the issues that we have to deal with everyday.

Can the superintendent of one of the major multiples say the same?