‘Waiting at chemist for medications… a marketing ploy?’

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A doctor who self-prescribed antibiotics has complained on a public forum that the pharmacist took too long to dispense the medicine

Posters have defended pharmacists in an online forum in response to a post by a doctor who expressed concern about how long their medicine was taking to be dispensed.

“I needed to get some prescription medication from the chemist and there was no one else except me in the pharmacy, yet I still had to wait around 15 mins for the medications whilst the pharmacist got it ready,” said the doctor on the OzBargain forum over the weekend.

“When I was trawling the aisles, I wondered if this wait was a ploy to try to get people to buy other stuff? Or does it really take 15 mins to dispense some basic antibiotics. Any pharmacists on here who can weigh in?” they asked in their post entitled ‘Waiting at Chemist for Medications, a Marketing Ploy?’

A second poster responded very quickly with resources from the Guild that explain, “Why does it take so long to get my medication?

They also shared an article about KiisFM host Kristie Mercer who infamously complained in an online video that pharmacists took too long to “slap on a sticker”.

“My theory is that they want you to walk around and buy lots of things which of course I will do,” Ms Mercer had also suggested.

In further comments, the original OzBargain poster admitted they wrote the script for themselves.

“My script was as mundane as medications get a script for augmentin, plus the prescribing doc was myself (didn’t have time to go to GP after work so just wrote myself the script on the way to the chemist).

“Perhaps I have too high expectations for efficiency,” they said.

Another doctor responded: “Why do we charge as if we’ve done 15 minutes work for a 5-10 minute consult. We have unseen work. The pharmacist has it too.

“You do realise that sometimes the pharmacist has multiple scripts from patients who drop off the script to be picked up later, or they were quiet and are halfway through doing websters or similar.

“I really feel for chemists as they get the raw end of the deal – if they’re slow, the customers are upset, if they overlook at doctor’s error, they face board mediation,” they said.

“Even people who have worked in pharmacy piles on.

“Give them a break. I have said this multiple times but pharmacy is the worst career choice in Australia.”

It [is] a classic case of if you never going through the experience, you know nothing.

A registered nurse questioned the poster: “Doctor without knowing the role of a pharmacist? I’m an RN and thought this post must be from a medically naive person.”

Meanwhile a former pharmacy student chimed in to the conversation: “I can understand why it take some time to process the prescription. The computer programs LOTS I used had to [do] several things with the prescription:

  • verify the prescriber number/doctor ID/doctor practice
  • verify whether you’re eligible for Medicare or else full price
  • verify whether the medication is PBS approved for subsidy or else full price
  • verify etc, it been 8 years since I last dispensed

“In addition to that, there a mechanism to check that the medication is dispense correctly
Correct direction, correct dose, correct warning, correct packaging.

“Having gone through the process, it a lot of hard work and it requires constant focus. A misstep can be fatal.

“It [is] a classic case of if you never going through the experience, you know nothing.”

One former community pharmacist wrote: “I do remember how painful it was in various dispensing systems to add new doctors – given you’re a hospital RMO it’s unlikely you’re details would be in their system (there is no national database, each doctor is added to each dispensing system upon presentation of first script from that doctor). If she was relatively new to that dispensing system could easily have wasted 5 minutes just working out how to add you to the system as a doctor.”

Another poster wrote: “So OP [original poster] is a doctor complaining about having to wait 15 minutes at the pharmacy and thinks this is so totally unreasonable that it is worth complaining about online and also perhaps some kind of conspiracy to make them spend more money LOL!

“Even though OP is privileged enough to be able to write scripts for themselves thus avoiding the cost of going to a doc and having to wait X days for an appointment then waiting an hour past their appointment time to get said script which make the 15 minute wait at the pharmacy insignificant.”

“You’re all wrong,” one person declared. “It takes 14 minutes just to decipher/translate doctor scribble…1 minute to actually print a sticker to put on your meds. You’re welcome.”

Read the full OzBargain thread here

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  1. JimT

    ….or the pharmacist was on a break, off to the loo or morning tea or afternoon tea or lunch or dinner, taken whenever it can be, especially being a sole pharmacist and heaven forbid if a pharmacy board inspector comes in while you’re out getting some vitamin D stimulation, and, and, and…………

    • Paul Sapardanis

      In 2016 I was in the Walmart on Chapman Ave in Anaheim and there was a sign up which said, between 12.30pm and 1.15pm if there is only 1 pharmacist on that the dispensary would closed ( lunch I presumed ). Imagine doing that here

  2. Michael Thach

    I wonder how I can reply directly back to the doctor for the comment he made?

    • Sheshtyn Paola

      Hi Michael, there is a link to the forum thread at the end of the article. If you have/make a login for the OzBargain website you should be able to respond to his comment.
      Kind regards,
      Sheshtyn Paola

  3. Hazem Elshekheiby

    .sounds like the doctor trying to save money by going to a discount pharmacy, this is what you get there buddy.

  4. Christopher De Ceglie

    The Doctor should stop telling us how to do our job and be referred to clause 9.2.2 of the Good Medical Practice guidelines which underpins AHPRA registration. “Seeking independent, objective advice
    when you need medical care, and being aware of the risks of self-diagnosis and self-treatment”.

  5. Paul Sapardanis

    It sounds to me that the doctor in this instance maybe right. The doctor needs to understand that with discount pharmacies the pay off to low cost prescriptions is longer in store wait times in the hope of a higher margained purchase. Professional services in discount pharmacies are a loss leader to get you in store. General retail distorts the true cost of providing these services and needs to be removed for us to move forward to a true serviced based model

  6. Peter Crothers

    Second GP Appointment to Receive Unremarkable Pathology Results, a Revenue Raising Ploy?

    • JimT

      ..let alone a nurse for blood pressure checking (twice) and blood letting for pathology

  7. Ian Magill

    Just because it may seem you are the only patient waiting for a script does not mean you are next in line. Phone calls from local GPs, from the hospital for discharge, trying to rectify incorrect prescriptions received, finalising a medication pack change or fulfilling the myriad of legislative and professional requirements to ensure safety to all of our patients is a part and parcel of doing our job.
    And then this ‘doctor’ has the temerity to whinge that the prescription process is taking too long and goes to the media….????

  8. Meredith Cam

    A friend of mine from out of town called in while I was at work one weekend and I was in the middle of making a 500gm LPC and Ac Sal Cream. I was making that, checking scripts and helping the counter staff with various requests as he stood quietly to the side in the wet room taking it all in. After watching me for 5 to 10 mins he said ‘Thats it- I’m never waiting for a script again- I had no idea what you did up here. I’m dropping scripts off and coming back at the end of the day’.
    I once got interrupted 7 times trying to do a simple script for Cephalexin tds. Doctors don’t get interrupted do they? Well I’ve never had anyone interrupt my Dr while I’ve been having an appt, or any of my children’s appts- lucky them!

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