Friday, February 24, 2012
When I first moved to this area, I saw allergy products on the pharmacy shelves that I had not personally dispensed in years. My first thought was "Oh no" because I suffer from ever worsening allergies. After extensive testing the conclusion was that I'm pretty much allergic to everything. I take more stuff to control my allergies that I do my RA! Anyway, what I'm getting at is that in this area we see ALOT of pseudoephendrine sales. The problem I have is that I would estimate about 90% of them are not legitimate. We now have a state wide, real-time data base that lets us know if these jokers have been buying somewhere else and have reached their limit (its always a suprise to them, huh?). However, where there's a law or a data base there are those that have found a way to get around it. We definitely see smurf parades on weekends especially. Many of us have been placing the most popular pse products out of sight of the public so that if we don't want to sell to someone we can just say we are out of stock instead of getting into a confrontation with them. Our state also just passed a law that says that all pse sales must first have a pharmacist consultation to make sure the product is being used for a legitimate medical purpose. What a joke!! Are they really going to tell us, "Naw, man, I'm going out to your parking lot and cook me up some meth"? So to make things simple we just deny having the product they want. Believe me we err on the side of the patient. I'm sure I have sold to plenty of cookers just so I wouldn't not sell to someone who really needed it. I've actually had people want to buy who had just been on the evening news for getting busted cooking meth (yeah, those I deny out-right). Well, now we are getting pressure from our corporate higher-ups that we have to display these products. They don't want to listen to anything we as front-line pharmacists have to say. Our jobs are actually being threatened over a $7 product! That's how much they value us as professionals. I can understand some of their arguements. The name brand products are contracted to be displayed, but why can't we display an empty box and still hide the stuff? That way we can still deny having it in stock without breaching the contract. Corp's arguement also is that if people don't see the product they will leave and never come back. Oh please! I wasn't born yesterday! We, as the pharmacists, are concerned about safety. We don't want to get into anymore conflicts than we have to. I actually denied pse to a guy, ended up calling 911 because he became violent, it ended in a 3 county high-speed chase with the police, a shoot-out and attempted murder of an officer because the guy had an outstanding warrent for, you guessed it, meth cooking! I'm not sure what kind of world these corporate people think we live in but they really need to get out more. They also need to actually listen to our concerns and take them seriousely. We are not OVER REACTING!!! Personally, I rarely deny a sale anymore. If the data base allows the sale then I let it go. My life is worth more than $7 and there is no way anyone can prove that I knew it was not for legitimate purposes. Hey, junkies get colds too. What I do, however is limit the package size I sell. For some reason I only have the 24 count boxes in-stock. If they want to buy 2 boxes that's ok with me. Our state limits pse purchases to 2 packages per transaction per day and 3 packages total in 30 days. There is a gram limit also but it keeps changing so I'm not sure what it is now, but by selling 2 boxes of 24 they meet their package limit quicker without coming close to the gram limit. My boss is ok with this because 2 boxes of 24 is a bigger sale that 1 box of 48. Everybody's happy. I hate compromise but sometimes ya gotta. I think with pharmacist jobs becoming fewer and harder to get, the corporate world will have more leverage against us. I mentioned to a physician friend of mine the other day that it is really, really tough being an employee but also being a professional. We have two masters we have to please and they don't always agree. I would love to hear some feedback from other states (I'm in Tennessee) about your states' pse laws and how you guys handle this challenge. So many people don't want to see this stuff become rx only but I'm really getting tired of being the gate-keeper for this stuff. I personally hate the "grey area" products that are kept behind the counter but don't need an rx. How many of you feel more like cops than pharmacists?