Monday, September 29, 2008

Stop Touching My Buttons!

I've railed about this before, but I had to fill a prescription today and it still bugs the living bejesus out of me.

I went down to Rite Aid, filled my scrip for antibiotics, and was told to wait a few minutes.

During that time I watched five other customers pick up their medications, and each time the pharmacist or assistant would lean over the counter and quickly tap the buttons on the little digital readout that says "I decline to be counseled", negating the option for the customer to even see the message let alone ask what counseling they might need.

For one thing, whenever I talk to pharmacists there's the usual conversation that they are the last bastion of customer protection, that it is only they who can spot fatal errors, typos, wrong meds and the like. And yet every time I go near a pharmacy I see this occurring.

According to the Office of the Professions:

Pharmacists or pharmacy interns must provide counseling:

* before dispensing a medication for the first time to a new patient
* before dispensing a new medication to an existing patient
* if the dose, strength, route of administration, or directions for use have changed for an existing prescription previously dispensed to an existing patient


If you are having a prescription re-filled or you are having a prescription filled for a drug or medication you have been treated with previously, pharmacy staff must offer to provide counseling in keeping with the processes described above.

If you pharmacists are so important to the world, and I *do* think you are, let us click our own buttons. Evidently there's not a pharmacist - in New York City at least - who believes counseling is all that important.

Which is it?

I would dearly love some commentary on this. Have you seen the same thing happening? Does your pharmacist counsel you? Would you want said counseling?


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