Telephones Are Tricky For Pharmacists

04 Jan

Just ask Bill Winsley, Executive Director of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, who in this article right here laments the fact that pharmacists have so much steady work to do in this crappy economy that “the potential for error has skyrocketed.”

Skyrocketed, he tells us.  I’m real sorry about that, pal.  I know that when business is booming in my line of work, I’m always going, “Oh crap, this increases the potential for errors, in that I’m doing more stuff, and could potentially do some of it wrong.”

But don’t worry.  Winsley has a nice, insulting, paternalistic solution.

From now on, thanks to the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, you can only transfer your prescriptions once a year.  Transfering prescriptions is something a lot of people do frequently to take advantage of coupons and other money-saving offers.

But that’s just everybody else being selfish.  All across the state, pharmacists have been complaining about the frequency of such transfers, and certainly not because each transfer represents a sale that they are pretty much giving to someone else. 

No.  That would be ascribing some sort of selfish, money-grubbing aspect to the esteemed pharmacists, who are merely worried about the inherent trickiness of telephones.

You see, as the article explains, many drugs have similar-sounding names and the transfers are done over the telephone.  Apparently, when someone is transferring a prescription to you, and you didn’t quite catch what they said because there are several drugs which sound that way, then the thing to do is guess.

Honestly, I don’t know what else you want them to do – they are limited by the technology at hand.  Sure, it would be nice if there was some method of conveying the exact, proper spelling of the exact, proper drug being transferred, in solid, non-telephone text form, but that would require getting out a ninety year-old typewriter, typing it out, and then having a bicycle courier blast it over to the new pharmacy across town.

Maybe in the future there will be a wonderful, magical, instantaneous way to send mail over phone lines, or cable lines, or right through the air.  Some sort of, I don’t know, “Electronic Mail.” 

Yes, E-Mail – The Mail of the Future.  Dare to dream, am I right?

Wouldn’t that be a great solution to this pressing problem?  They could type that tricky spelling out and then press “send” on their Magic Email Machines, and then there would be absolutely no confusion at all as to which prescription drug they were talking about.

Ah, but Winsley is aware that a bunch of slobbering idiots like me might not understand this highly scientific concept, so he makes sure to illustrate his point using unbelievably arrogant layman’s terms, so we can understand it.  Right from the article:

“Prescription drugs are not spare tires and they are not heads of lettuce,” Winsley said. “If you get a different drug because there was an error made, that could be really harmful.”

Um, Winsley, actually, if you get the wrong spare tire, it could fly off of your car.  And lettuce can be contaminated with E. Coli.  You get the wrong kind of either one, and that could also be really harmful.  So try not to get too cocky with your cloying, Expert bullshit.  You’re talking to us like we’re stupid, and you’re the one who is afraid to use the telephone.

Because, sir, there is another solution that doesn’t involve the rest of us losing choices and paying more.  Specifically, you and your extremely well-paid peers could simply enter our century and start typing the tranfers out, right? 

Now, again, you might think I’m being cynical, but notice at the end of the article, it says don’t worry, we’re not being ridiculous – transfers will still be okay within the same chain.  If you are at one Walgreen’s, then you can transfer your prescription to another Walgreen’s with no problem.

Which is great, but doesn’t that sound suspiciously like all that has changed is they don’t lose the sale? 

I mean, I thought transfers were horribly dangerous error-makers.  If that’s true, then why is it okay to transfer to the other Walgreen’s?  Why did you just suddenly lose interest in the horrifying possibility of Telephones and Similar Sounding Drugs?

Was it because in those situations, you don’t use the phone?  Well, might I ask what method you are using?

And then might I ask – How about leaving the consumer the hell alone, and using that nice, safe method EVERY TIME, YOU BLOOD-SUCKING VAMPIRES?

I know – counting pills and making telephone calls is very tricky business.  It was my understanding that you went to school for that, and that also, you are paid quite well.  You seem quite comfortable blaming the transfers instead of yourselves.

I know that I’m just a bumpkin who understands very little beyond heads of lettuce and spare tires, but I like to take my pharmacists with a dash of accountability.  What can I say? 

In fact, it sounds more to me, Ohio Board of Pharmacy, like you’re representing folks with giant piles of money, and they’re all thinking, you know, these piles would be considerably larger if it were illegal to take your business elsewhere when we’re charging too much.  And then you’re dropping that load of crap in a big box marked SAFETY and we’re supposed to bark like seals and whack our flippers together.

Arp!  Arp!  Arp!  Thanks Bill Winsley!

Listen, my sixteen year-old daughter works at a pizza place.  She uses the phone all the time, and I’ve yet to hear her lament the difficulty of acquiring information via the telephone and then writing it down.  She is very smart, that is true – but I thought pharmacists were supposed to be smart, as well.

Yes, I am aware that like tires and lettuce, pizzas are not the same as drugs.  But if you say “pepperoni” and my daughter thinks you said “thumbtacks,” well that’s the whole point.  She has never done that.  She’s like a telephone black belt.

If you want to hang with her at work one day, I’m sure we can work out a reasonable training rate, so she can teach you the mysterious ways of the telephone, and then my five year-old niece can help you all out with her six-hour seminar, “Counting Tiny Objects, The Telephone’s Tricky Pal.”

It’s only eight hundred dollars a seat, and I think it would be helpful.  Shoot me an email – or call, I suppose, since that’s how you do things – to sign up. 

No discounts for group rates.  Void where prohibited.  Thanks for screwing us all and then talking pretty to us.  We’re stupid and you’re smart.  Go Bucks.



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2 responses to “Telephones Are Tricky For Pharmacists

  1. Brian

    January 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Some magical form of communicating through the air? That is the devil’s work.


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