Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pill Popping is Encouraged....

Pills used to come in small bottles.

The label told you what it was, how many to take  - and when -  and the name of the doctor.

Pretty straight forward.

Then the glass bottles became plastic ones.

Child-proof lids were added.

Now, my 30-day supply of a single medicine is delivered in a flat, stackable blister pack. Yikes.

In the pharmaceutical business community, it was hailed as a magnificent advance.

Unfortunately, now a patient has to overcome a child proof step, pull the 30-day supply out of its package and pop each pill through the tin foil.

Each pill, each day for each medicine the doctor had ordered. Fairly simple and now machinery did all the work.

The pharmacist no longer uses the cute little "butter knife" to count and slide the selected pills across a funneled tray.

They are NOT placed in a handy, easy to use, and store, bottle.

(Does the druggist not see that this eliminates another reason to even have a registered pharmacist on staff?)

A clerk can go to the shelves for the prepackaged dosage and slap it down on the counter, along with chewing gum, cough drops, vitamins and other OTC (Over The Counter) products.

Who needs years of training and the ability to answer health questions and give helpful advice?

Oh, and if the patient is elderly and perhaps has arthritic joints and stiff fingers, popping pills off a card might be a problem.

As for me, my cat sits beneath the kitchen table, waiting for a pill I've popped to roll off the edge and hit the floor to become either a toy or a cat treat.

I buy my meds in 90-day lots. That used not to be a problem but now I have to pinch and poke three 30-day cards and transfer them to a plastic bottle.
Oh, and several labels tell me to "take twice daily," so there now are six (6) blister packs with which to contend for each.

All of those flat packages would overflow my medicine cabinet.

So, I take the time and effort to accomplish what my drug store used to do.

I asked my Big Box pharmacy if I could "go back" to the earlier way of storing and setting up my daily doses.

I was told that no, this is the way it is.*

But among competitive stores, I feel sure there is another one that will want my Rx business.

Should not have to travel all the way out to California either.

Hmmm. I used to drop off all my black & white film at a local Walgreens for developing and making prints.

Maybe it's time to go reacquaint myself with the store in my neighborhood.

Be interesting to ask the pharmacist what he or she thinks of these easy-to-serve prescription blister packs.

Who would have thought that trained professionals could be replaced by a clerk.

Ah, but I remember when Kodak was THE leader in photography before digital came along. Things change. Including customer service.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

The blister pack is a tough pill to swallow.

*Update: The pharmacist at my nearby Walgreens said they can refill my prescriptions by counting and sliding the correct pills into bottles. They also will arrange to have all my Rx data sent from my Big Box store. Good to know for next time.

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At Wed Dec 25, 02:54:00 PM , Blogger Rick said...

The pharmacy world changes. I was one of those old "count and pour, lick and stick" pharmacists. It's a different world of information and a consultant frame of mind. The newer Pharmies feel the old ways are beneath them and should be turned over to a clerk. It's the knowledge that is the thing. Finding a way to receive pay for consultation without the old activities is the new graduate's ideal. It was a frame of mind that didn't work for me so I no longer work in the new age of flat sheets of pills. I reckon it is for the best if the pharmy can figure a way to utilize his/her years of learning in a way the public can accept. I always found said public was more inclined to invest in a bottle of spirits and its deleterious actions on the body than a medicine meant to heal a body.
Whether the public will ever be willing to be consulted about the meds prescribed is up in the air for me except for the occasional concerned patient. It was always a drop off to be picked up without a moment wasted.
The future of pharmacy could result in a more professional status or, as you say, turned over to clerks and computers.

At Wed Dec 25, 03:35:00 PM , Blogger chuckography said...

Rick, thanks for your comment.
If you hit the link I highlighted on research. you'll see the "justification" was a review of Wal-Mart customers who agreed it would be good for a long-term calendared delivery.

Oh yeah, and it also would save Wal-Mart a bundle!

Walgreens said they do it "the old fashion way." They will be my new pharmacy.



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