‘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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