Saturday, February 4, 2012

What services SHOULD you get in a pharmacy?

With all the recent to-do about the Susan G. Komen foundation defunding, then re-funding Planned Parenthood, a lovely video of Stephen Colbert talking about the consequences of expecting people to get their healthcare screenings elsewhere has been making the rounds of the internet oversharing sites.  In it, there's a clip from Fox News about how if you can't get your preventative health services from Planned Parenthood anymore, stuff like your blood pressure checked, breast exams, Pap smears, you could just get them somewhere else, like Walgreens.  This really begs the question of how many health services should you get in a pharmacy anyway?

I have this feeling that most people don't know what they're getting from a pharmacy anyway, so here's a list.

  • Prescriptions checked by a medication expert to catch all the goofs your doctor/their e-prescribing software/the computer makes before they hurt you (or maybe kill you).
  • Medication management services, where if you have more than one (or sometimes more than 2) chronic conditions, you get a pharmacist appointment at least twice a year to go over the multitude of medications you take
  • Shots: flu shot, Shingles shot (that you can't get in a clinic, sorry), pneumonia shots for old people, and in some places all the shots you need to travel abroad and some childhood shots like the one that prevents tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Free help with your insurance, sometimes for hours at a time, so you get your medications in a timely fashion
  • Free blood pressure screenings (Fox news got it right!)
  • Free answers to any question about a health problem that doesn't require you to see a doctor immediately (weird rash, cough, runny nose, upset stomach, dry eyes, red eyes, contraception via condoms or Plan B, nasty looking boils and cysts and warts, scary diabetic ulcer on your leg, etc.)
  • Free advice about whether to see your doctor, and how soon, if the nearby speedy health clinic is busy (which is always)
  • Free advice about what happens if you take medications together. At great length. Every night of the week because apparently taking 3 prescriptions is scary and you need to call just to check that it's still all right.
  • Free advice on how much of any OTC medication to take/give your sick child who's yelling in the background very loudly
  • Free advice about taking any medication long-term and what the side effects might be
  • Free help finding any product in the pharmacy that you could possibly want
  • Free ordering of almost any product we might sell in the pharmacy but don't have in stock (but not a douche bag, sorry. Apparently our suppliers don't carry those, sir.)
  • Free transfer of your prescription to any other pharmacy in the country, or FROM any other pharmacy in the country.
  • Free help with your durable medical goods if the pharmacy sells those, so fitting your elastic stockings, adjusting the height of your cane or walker, and putting on ice spikes to your cane or walker
  • Free (or very low cost) classes teaching you about something health-related like how to manage your diabetes, how to take care of your high blood pressure, etc.
  • Free medication identification when you accidentally spill all 14 bottles of prescriptions and OTCs together on your kitchen floor
While adding breast exams and Pap smears to the list is unlikely, aside from expanding how many people get medication management, I don't see that there's much more we can do.  Maybe every pharmacy gives a wider range of shots.  Notice all those free things on the list?  Those take up a lot of time that the pharmacy staff could be using to do things that the pharmacy gets paid to do, but out of a professional snese of duty to patients, the pharmacy staff do them anyway.  Just remember that the $25 you paid for your $300 bottle of medication is also paying for all those free things that take up time, so please don't complain so much.  But you do need to see a doctor/nurse practitioner/physician's assistant sometimes. Yes it costs money. Yes you have to plan ahead to make an appointment.  Grow up, Americans.  Not everything should be as fast and easy as getting McDonalds for supper.

1 comment:

  1. Lol, AMEN! In the clinic I work in, ppl bitch about paying their co-pays to have a f/u appt to discuss lab results. "Just tell the doc to call me."

    Um, no. You're paying for their knowledge and expertise in INTERPRETING those results and managing your care moving forward!