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How to make your pharmacy career less painful.

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Some asshole who shall remain nameless was giving me shit about my lack of posts (man, get a book published and you somehow think you’re God or something), so heres another gem for you all.

I recently had the pleasure(?) of spending some quality time with a bunch of pre-pharmacy and pharmacy school students a few weeks ago.  Since they all look up to me like I’m the Asian Jesus, I decided to be an excellent role model for them all (in typical TAP fashion, although they dont know I’m TAP)…….

I told them how retail pharmacy really is.  No candy coating, no bullshit MTM verbal masturbation sessions, no smoke-up-ass like *PhA loves to throw at them.  Just both barrels right to their faces about exactly what life is like in the trenches.  For those who didn’t cry or decide that it wasn’t worth it, I offered them gems of whiz-dumb having both gone through what they are going through now (school) and the transition into being an adult with bills, responsibilities, and a full time job.

One of these topics was how to handle pharmacy-related stress.  I swear I should teach a fucking class on this, but I doubt any school would allow some asshole who shall remain nameless and I to wheel in a pony keg and a few cases of scotch into the classroom.

For those of you at home who think being a pharmacist isn’t stressful, go into your local retail pharmacy at opening and closing on Monday and Friday.  Notice the scramble running around in the back?  Thats a pharmacist about to flip his shit.  The public thinks we just count by 5’s and drink coffee all day.  Well, I cant blame them, because thats how we’re portrayed in those shitty Target commercials:

Lets examine a few (oh boy).

**UPDATE** Someone (ahem) made these videos private.  Whoops!

Okay, so the glaring obvious errors with that commercial is that…. Its all fucking made up.  Whoever made that commercial obviously has not worked in a pharmacy, went to pharmacy school, or has waited in line in a pharmacy.  Lets show that kid fucking crying in her book hating her life as shes studying for that kinetics final.  Lets show her graduate working graveyard (because the market is hosed) with some crackhead giving her both barrels about their fucking soma being too early.  “I am a medical dictionary” turns into “I’m a fucking narcotic dispenser”.  Oh, and who’s going to pay for “Flu shots for all”?  For all of those retail pharmacists out there, when was the last time you got to whip out a word larger than “Not Covered”, “Copay”, “Too Early”, “Doctor hasn’t faxed back yet” or “Yeah, we have the yellow Norco”?  Yeah, thats what I thought, medical dictionary my fucking ass.

**UPDATE** There was an awesome “sneeze whisperer” youtube video here, but someone got butthurt and made them all private.

I hate to break it to you all, but allergies isn’t fucking rocket science.  This commercial makes the public think that allergies are some complex thing that you need a PharmD to treat.  Take some fucking claritin/allegra/zyrtec and GTFO.  No, your insurance won’t cover that, but my foot will assist you in your travels.

A few coworkers saw this bullshit and we came up with a better version (that I’m allowed to make parts public).

“I am in Rho Chi”

“I took the State Boards 3 times”

“I have an internet girlfriend”

“Nobody knew who I was in school”

“The tampons are on isle 4 next to the maxi pads”

“I am a raging alcoholic”

“I masturbate to 2-girls-1-cup”

“I asked stupid questions in class so my classmates knew I still existed”  (You fucking know exactly what im talking about, dont you?)

You get the idea.

The fact is that unless you’re doing under 20 Rx’s a day, real life pharmacy isn’t that laid back and awesome.  The only place I have time to ponder life like that is when I’m taking a shit, and even then I’m trying to birth it out as quickly as possible because I have 3 lines on hold, a little old lady who wants to ask me the same question she asked me last week about her Aricept, a crackhead who wants a price on 460 oxycodone 5mg from an out of town doctor, and my tech decides that now would be a good time to pick up her kid from school.  Hows that for a fucking Target pharmacist commercial”

“Im too fucking busy for this shit, get that fucking camera out of my face, SOMEONE GET LINE 2!!! JUST GET A FUCKING MESSAGE HE JUST WANTS TO GIVE ME HIS RX NUMBERS! What did I say about that fucking camera!  Fine, IM A TARGET FUCKACIST, I SAY GET THE FUCK OUT”

Now that I’ve gotten some random rage out of the way.  Time for the vicodin and soma of this little rant.  How to deal with stress from pharmacy and how to tolerate your life in retail pharmacy.

  1. Alcohol doesn’t solve your problems.  Ironic that I’m writing that as I swig out of the bottle some shitty wine that a patient brought in for us for doing something that I really dont remember, but somehow he thought I was the shit.  Don’t turn to booze to solve your issues.  If you do, you might get a pharmacy book published, be part of the cool kids club on twitter that has more followers than our national association, and get to use 4 letter words on the internet and people love you for it.  Honestly, in all seriousness, all joking aside, this wine really fucking sucks.  Oh well, its getting this post made isn’t it!  Oh, yeah, don’t drink to solve your problems.  Its a short term patch for 30+ years of fucking hel-OH HAI WINE!
  2. Only vent to people who understand.  You went to school, you made friends (unless you’re a Target Pharmacist!).  Hell, you probably even joined an awesome pharmacy fraternity where you became a ‘leader in pharmacy’.  Those are the people who you want to vent to.  Avoid venting about work to non-pharmacy folks.  They will think you HATE your job.  Unless they work in a pharmacy, they don’t understand the stress and pressure of working in one, let alone being the person who’s license is riding on everything.  If all else fails, write out the anger, it worked for me.
  3. You are just as important as the lowest paid person who you employ.  This sounds sorta funny, but if you walk around wielding your PharmD like its the holy grail and make people call you Dr, your life is going to suck.  Your techs and your clerks are your work-family.  Unless you want to be counting out everything, ringing up people yourself, and screening all your own phone-calls yourself, treat them with respect and kindness.  Trust me, being high-and-mighty will just put your nuts in the vise when the shit hits the fan.  A good time to pull out the PharmD card, is when some douchebag patient is giving your clerk both barrels over their own fuck-up. Use your authority on the patients when they get uppity, not on your staff.
  4. Get a hobby that has NOTHING to do with pharmacy, medicine, the store, etc.  Collect stamps, work on cars, do SOMETHING other than come home and stew about work.  Your family, your marriage, and your sanity will love you for it.
  5. Leave work at work, and home at home.  This is harder than it sounds, but being in a shitty mood when you get home everyday is just going to be the turd in the family punch bowl.  A lot of people learn this the hard way.  Don’t blow up at your family (or kick your dog) over what happened at work.  On the same token, if your kid really pissed you off, don’t bring it to work.  It’ll just distract you and thats where errors start to creep in, then you are REALLY up shit creek.
  6. Make your hard work worth it to you.  This goes back to the hobbies.  I know you have student loans, car payments, house payments, but once in a while you need to buy yourself something nice to reward yourself for waking up every morning and dealing with the daily grind.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  My favorite self-treat is lunch.  Usually taco-bell, the cheap-as-shit menu, and its always cold by the time I get to it.  Don’t fucking laugh at me.
  7. Don’t self-medicate.  Seriously as shit about this one, go through the right channels to get antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and other Rx only shit.  You will fuck yourself over if something happens and you don’t have the paperwork to back it up.  Even if your doctor says “You know more about this shit than me, pick whatever you like”, either have the documentation in order or have a damn good story for when the shit hits the fan.  I used to jokingly say in school that “There are 2 types of pharmacists in the world, ones on antidepressants and ones who are raging alcoholics.”  You have no idea.

That’s the jist (from what I can remember) that I told these impressionable, moldable, vulnerable young people about how to survive retail pharmacy.  I’m hoping that I can single handily either save retail pharmacy, or fuck it up more than Express Scripts.


Oh, in case you were wondering, this wine still tastes like shit.

Comments #

Comment by darth on 2012-03-24 00:28:17 -0700 #

I don’t work IN a retail pharmacy per se, but I’m a manager on the floor and frequently get called back there to help out. I work at one of the busiest stores in our district, if not the state. This post seems spot on from what I’ve seen our pharmacists and techs put up with. People tell me I ought to go into the pharmacy field, but it just looks way too stressful to be worth the money.

Also, just how bad is the Express Scripts thing gonna be?

Comment by Pharmacist Bob on 2012-03-24 05:24:57 -0700 #

All good stuff Mr. Tap. All true my friends. It is amazing how Taco Bell can be the reward, works for me, especially the extra jalapeños. Some personal advice about working in the candy store. Don’t ever get the thought that you are not an addict and take something without the documentation even if for experimentation. There is a reason the warning states –may be habit forming. Besides they have cameras everywhere now and computer programs that go off if controlled meds start shrinking. Seen a number of pharmacists make that mistake, and that goes for MD’s and nurses too. Heard stories of licking fentanyl patches, passing out in the bathroom, and putting booze in the windshield washer with the hose coming into the car—all not good. Find a good gym and a good hobby too. We are well paid, and the companies today will get their monies worth and more out of you (you are the paid slave in my opinion) and it will only get worse as TAP mentioned market is hosed. It would be nice if all pharmacists hooked up for 1 voice in our profession to kick the big companies in the ass We have to stand together. Do you agree? Could even happen at TAP’s spot. And I am pharmacist Bobb on face book. My hat is off to TAP as he is good with pen/keyboard.

Comment by rukymoss on 2012-03-24 06:24:28 -0700 #

Love you blog, and, yeah, I’m another asshole who thinks you need to write more frequently. And I haven’t even had a book published.
I was a pharmacist in the days before computers–even Baker cells were gee whiz to me–and I loved it, sometimes think about going back to it, but I know it’s not feasible. I worked in a small hospital, and none of the docs had a clue about generic or class equivalents, so we had 4 brands of nitro patches (remember those?), 4 antacids, etc. I felt we had turned a huge corner when I got on the P and T committee and got some of the categories reduced to one representative each. But it wasn’t enough for me, and I ended up going to med school, only after I realized not all physicians were assholes. Now I have essentially the same complaints about my branch of medicine as you do about retail. All of what you say above is relevant to my life (except the alcohol–makes me feel worse). But I love my job, despite the seekers and entitled and Google University know-it-alls. Thanks for your writing.

Comment by AnimalMother on 2012-03-24 06:57:50 -0700 #

You are my hero! I was in retail years ago in a little town called Youngstown OH. Ask your friends from OH, they’ll tell you after they laugh their ass off. It was like doing a tour in fucking Nam or Kandahar for you kids. Every day was a fire-fight with losers over Vicodin, Tussionex, and Adipex-P. Today I work with pharmacists who tell me they have never worked in retail. You know what they are called? PUSSIES! Students: Skip the PY1 residency, get a carry permit, and a Glock.

Comment by Greg Baker on 2012-03-24 07:25:03 -0700 #

One of the first things I tell interns I supervise is to treat the support staff with respect. Having been support staff I know what it’s like when a pharmacist would tell me to file some paperwork because that’s “tech work” and I know how pissed off that used to make me and how unwilling to help that pharmacist out when he/ she would get in a bind.
Glad you told it to them like it really is, because God knows the colleges of pharmacy don’t give it to them straight or omit certain details.
I can’t speak for everywhere but the Target Pharmacies here are not that busy and have usually about 2 pharmacists and 3 techs in a pharmacy that does 120 rx’s a day. No disrespect to Target (I have several friends that work for them) but as far as retail gigs go, theirs is the cushyest at least in this area.
As always, keep up the good work.

Comment by rph3664 on 2012-03-24 10:11:52 -0700 #

I haven’t worked in retail for almost 10 years, and truthfully, hospital pharmacy is morphing into something I don’t recognize either. Thing is, it’s almost impossible to get a job doing anything else when you have a pharmacy degree. Believe me, this is something I know from personal experience.

Comment by jmay on 2012-03-24 15:10:09 -0700 #

So true TAP. I was actually thinking about pharmacy school while still an undergrad, so when the big box store I was employed at offered to “promote” me to pharmacy tech, I jumped all over it. Took me about six months to realize that I would not last long as an actual pharmacist. I can’t kiss that much collective ass. Glad it didn’t take tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to learn that lesson. I have so much respect for my pharmacists, because they are awesome and I know I could not do what they do everyday and not be a raging alcoholic.

Comment by Loup garrou on 2012-03-24 19:06:51 -0700 #

Do NOT……NOT get mixed up in Retail pharmacy…It is not a profession….It is bad and going to get worse….It is a TOTAL WASTE of 5-6? years of expensive school….Your “professors” are hosing you. You will not be a medical decision maker…or a purveyor of “Medication Management” and worst of all in a few years you are going to have a lot of “competition”….ACTUALLY, worst of all you will be wasting your working life in a nothing job. If there is anything unclear about this….good luck to you.

Loup Garrou

Comment by grumpyrph on 2012-03-25 06:03:20 -0700 #

Express Script along with all the other PBMs are not only a cancer to pharmacy, but a cancer to all health care. I ran a audit on Rx prices charged by Medco to a city that is going bankrupt. Along with the basic contract cost, they were making an average of $50 per prescription over what the pharmacy was getting paid. Then giving the city a small rebate back to show the great job they were doing in negotiating with the manuafacturers. That is why they want everyone to go to mail order – the further the consumer gets separated from the payer, the easier it is to overcharge. The rebates they get from the manufacturer are added to the price of the medicine when the manufacturer puts it on the market – adding to the excessive cost of medicine. Since there are no rebates in Canada the same medicine can be purchased for 30 percent less.

Comment by Vibiana on 2012-03-25 06:35:28 -0700 #

TAP: I’m not a pharmacist, nor do I play one on TV. I’m not in the health care profession at all, I just had a mom who wanted me to be a nurse like she’d been but I didn’t have the math and science aptitude. I found your blog because I have a POS brother and sis-in-law who are Oxy addicted drains on society. For what it’s worth, coming from someone who doesn’t know much about pharmacy field but takes 5 meds, reads every doctor and nurse memoir she can find, and has had jobs dealing with the public before, I admire you for laying it on the line. If your Target were in my neighborhood, I’d love to come in and say hello. :0)

P.S. And maybe do my impersonation of a tweaking crackhead demanding his Percs. Okay, just kidding. LOL

Comment by rph3664 on 2012-03-25 07:02:41 -0700 #

One of my classmates died from OD’ing on stolen drugs. You’re right; don’t do this.

Comment by rph3664 on 2012-03-25 07:06:53 -0700 #

And this is why I tell anyone who’s interested in pursuing this career to get a job in a pharmacy first – ANY pharmacy. I, and everyone else too, had classmates who didn’t, and they found the theory interesting but the practice much less so, and were kind of stuck.

Someone on another board said that she’s been a SAHM for about 10 years, and is interested in being a nail technician and wondered what she had to do to get there. (It’s a brief certificate program – a semester at the most.) I, and several other people, told her to get a job in a salon, something she had never done, and go from there.

Comment by Anon on 2012-03-25 20:35:24 -0700 #

“The fact is that unless you’re doing under 20 Rx’s a day, real life pharmacy isn’t that laid back and awesome.”

Have to disagree with this. My first year of college I worked the front desk in a med/surg office in a small town. One of the local pharmacists would call for a refill for a patient mid day and also mention they had only filled about 15 scripts. If you aren’t filling you don’t have customers. I could not get the guy off the phone and we were always so busy. I felt so sorry for him- his day must have been boring as fu*k

Comment by Radionuclide on 2012-03-26 05:21:05 -0700 #

These are exactly the reasons I went into nuclear pharmacy. Retail is such a terrible experience!!

Comment by loup garrou on 2012-03-26 20:40:26 -0700 #

Nuclear Is interesting and challenging but you have to be able to start work at about 2am so that the product is ready for treatments and tests in the morning. If you can hack that (and the fact that you will be counting…how do you guys get thru airports these days?) You could actually have an interesting career.

Loup Garrou

Comment by CPT6778 on 2012-03-27 08:10:42 -0700 #

Sadly, I came to work in the pharmacy after 11 years of front store drug retail management. In all seriousness, that was the best decision I made as a career move. Even with all the crazy CII patients and Xanax junkies, I much prefer the controlled chaos of the “drug den” than the random b/s of ordinary folk. Look at it as higher entertainment value. Sometimes sketchy is just down right hilarious.

Comment by Jenn on 2012-03-27 19:45:18 -0700 #

Excellent advice. Though this advice is very hard to follow, especially the “don’t take work home with you and vice versa” advice. I wish I had this advice at the beginning of my career, vs 3 years into it and already as angry as every one of you bloggers who write about pharmacy.

Comment by a on 2012-03-28 21:41:38 -0700 #

i love you

Comment by Lily’s Dad on 2012-03-29 08:49:25 -0700 #

I’ve worked in good and bad retail environments, so I understand the experience. When it’s good, you can have great relationships with your patients and really feel like you’re helping people, but it can be bad when all you deal with is assholes and drug seekers. But I blame the pharmacists who went before us and allowed our profession to be degraded and raped by the insurance companies and setting our profession to be ruled and managed by non-pharmacists. Pharmacies in grocery stores? Drive-through pharmacies? Really? No wonder people disrespect the profession and think all we do is count pills all day. I think most pharmacists are pretty apathetic about the profession and it won’t change until we develop some collective pride and make changes, like telling the PBM’s who want to pay us $1.25 to dispense a prescription to fuck off. A long time ago I worked for a guy who owned his own pharmacy in a medical profession building, in the days when people paid cash for their prescriptions and had to get reimbursed from the insurance company. He sold his business when he saw the start of the PBM’s and he told me the reason was that PBM’s and insurance companies were going to fuck our profession. And he was right.

Comment by foreignrph on 2012-03-31 22:00:32 -0700 #

“in a few years you are going to have a lot of “competition””
in a few years??!!
hellloooo wake up and smell the coffee, it’s happening right now as we type!
try to get a retail position. anywhere.
the east coast is saturated at least till the mississippi river.

Comment by foreignrph on 2012-03-31 22:04:09 -0700 #

how to survive retail pharmacy?!
ha! and ha! again.
first, let them find a position in retail.

Comment by Torako on 2012-03-31 23:06:11 -0700 #

This isn’t really related to your post, but I was wondering if you had some insight/opinions about how controlled medications work? I’m on Concerta and used to be on Adderall XR, and I’m getting pretty annoyed at having to drive across to the doctor every fucking month to get a piece of paper and physically carry it into the pharmacy to get it filled because apparently they can’t just fax it and they can’t give me refills, all in the name of “security”… But not ONCE in the entire process am I asked for any sort of identification. Plus, I went to the doctor the other day for my new Rx, and they had apparently LOST it and the doctor on call refused to write me a new one for some reason. So I’m off my (legally prescribed) meds that fortunately aren’t life-saving but I do need them to function, because I don’t want to drive all the way back up there to be told that they don’t want to give me my Rx, or whatever.

I know this isn’t the fault of the pharmacy, but why the fuck can’t I just get a 3 month supply or refills or even have the doctor fax the damn paper over? It seems a lot more secure than trusting a teenager who clearly has ADD to deliver it.

Comment by Dunn! on 2012-04-04 20:00:44 -0700 #

Long-time listener, first-time caller. Just accepted a new job at a university health center… and I! Love! It! It’s a 50% pay-cut, but so goddamn worth it… Summers off, winter break, spring break, and I see more good-lookin’ women on any given day there than I’ve seen in 9 years humpin’ nights at a po-dunk, toothless hillbilly-infested wag nearby. I’ll be so friggin’ happy when I can walk out those sliding doors for the last time and never, EVER look back! Question is: Do I try to screw the wag as much as possible when I quit, or do I remain loyal to my fellow co-workers(who I love and respect dearly) and give them time to adjust? Let’s take some votes here on TAP, eh? How can I “maximize the hurt” to wag while not screwing my colleagues over? Please discuss…

Comment by someLoser on 2012-04-05 08:09:25 -0700 #

Why are the vids private?

Comment by Texas Pharmacy Chica on 2012-04-05 11:58:56 -0700 #

Interviewed with Target some years back. I asked a question on patient care or privacy or whatever you say during the process and the interviewer CORRECTED me: ‘Oh, we don’t call them patients. Here, they are Target GUESTS’. Nope. Not in my book. Not ever.

Keep it up. I get occasional calls or mails to come and teach at pharm tech programs at the local community colleges. Does anyone else? Do you ever feel tempted to do it? Temptation…….

Comment by Matt on 2012-04-08 17:57:40 -0700 #

Torako…it’s called federal law, not security.

Comment by Beach on 2012-04-09 09:03:36 -0700 #

@ Torako re:
“I know this isn’t the fault of the pharmacy, but why the fuck can’t I just get a 3 month supply or refills or even have the doctor fax the damn paper over? It seems a lot more secure than trusting a teenager who clearly has ADD to deliver it.”

Concerta is a CII sceduled medication. By law, it can be no more than a 30 day supply, can NOT have ‘refills’ noted on the Rx, and there are only certain situations where a faxed Rx for a CII will be accepted ie the med has to be compounded, patient is in a nursing home/facility, in a licensed program under hospice care (terminally ill).

I am NOT a pharmacist, but am an informed patient who advocates for myself. Maybe you should do/be the same way or, at the very least, ask your doctor or your pharmacist these questions. I have a great relationship with my pharmacist(s) and they are always willing to answer any questions or concerns I have. That is most likely due to the fact that I respect them, look to them and NOT my doctor for drug info because they DO know it far better than any doc I have had, and I do my best not to appear ignorant. That all goes along with being forced to spend $1,000+/month OUT OF MY POCKET in order to have some quality of life. A huge thank-you to all the freaking addicts out there. Without all your scheming, lying, and stealing to get high, I might actually be able to take a vacation every few years if you didn’t do your thing and, as a result, force drug manufacturers and pharmacy suppliers to raise their prices so G’damn high…..bottom feeders need their daily fix ya know.

Comment by Ashley on 2012-04-09 15:30:49 -0700 #

Thank you for portraying the girl crying in her kinetics test… I was practically balling in my med chem 2 test a few weeks ago. Yahoo for P2 year, which is almost fucking over!! and in case you were wondering I am trying to not end up in retail, but I think your doing a great job describing it with my small retail experience, you’re spot on!

Comment by radrone 5316 on 2012-04-10 10:46:49 -0700 #

They DO NOT have 2 pharmacists in a 120 rx per day store…..NO WAY!!

Comment by radrone 5316 on 2012-04-10 10:53:41 -0700 #

This is the most awful “profession” in existence. I am so thankful that none of my kids wasted 6 years in order to scavange for a job where they would be abused, condescended to, victimized, taken advantage of, drained dry,and generally miserable for the rest of their lives. Forget all your MTM and PharmD knowledge………..before your first day of work at the pharmacy just make sure you hide the Vicodin and know which aisle the freakin dog food is in. You are truly out of your mind to go to pharmacy school in this day and age

Comment by radrone 5316 on 2012-04-10 10:57:13 -0700 #

the day is boring as fu”k whether it’s busy or not…………so BORING

Comment by radrone 5316 on 2012-04-10 11:02:15 -0700 #

shut up……….

Comment by Pharmerbob on 2012-04-10 14:46:43 -0700 #

I don’t know where you’re from , but C-II’s are good for 90 days from date written which legally suggests a 90-day supply can be dispensed, if written for such and dispensed on the date the rx was issued. I dispense many 90 day C-II scripts, mostly ADHD meds.

Comment by fathomblue on 2012-04-10 16:02:25 -0700 #

i have been teching for 13 years :/ for a major retail chain and the abuse i endure from the customers is a picnic in comparison to the a$$holes who (allegedly) run the company. They prefer to use the threat-tactics to get results that strictly affects their bottom line vs. how their ideas and policies affect their “valued customers and employees”. It is all bullshit. We are required to meet various quotas on anything from enrolling auto-refill programs to text-messaging etc. can someone please explain to me why it’s imperative to call our customers via automated calling and our personal calling numerous times in a pre-determined time frame? I’ve had to get my ear blasted off by a longtime customer who was being driven to distraction about the over-the-top phone calls. It’s not my fault.. but someone has to eat their shit. How is it okay to have a “depressed” customer threaten me because his dog ate this fuckers Ambien ER? my question is is the dog ok? and of course it’s an early fill.. I’m sorry; don’t threaten me. It’s that simple.. if you want issues with me, you found them. Because it can get very ugly if you can’t control your high, drug induced attitude. And then i had the pleasure of my pharmacy manager threaten me with a write up… why? because he hung up on me when i politely explained the too soon? i could have walked out right then and there. I will say i do care about the job but could give a shit less about the companies success when they do nothing to value their hardworking employees. I care about my coworkers and customers who truly need all the help they can get. If i can help, i will. If i can make that difference, i will. i always try my best and if it’s viewed as unnacceptable; do it yourself if you can do it better and faster. Quality doesn’t come quickly. Because i don’t get paid shit in comparison to what the Pharmacists earn… my sense of urgency is much different to achieve because they’d write up and/or fire a tech vs. a Pharmacist. Of course i try my best but you can’t win them all. The job has gotten easier when i hold on to my direct responsibilities and get them done. I will not let your issues govern me. it does get easier when you stop caring. I just know when and where.

Comment by FWA WTF on 2012-04-11 12:17:42 -0700 #

I’m not a pharmacist but I married one, 39 years ago. Sixteen years ago we invested our life savings in a well established independent pharmacy. Since then, we have watched in horror as the insurance companies and their PBM’s have raped and pillaged this “profession”.
All along we’ve been spit on by doctors, wholesalers, government agencies, landlords and hordes of dope zombies.

One week ago last Saturday night, one of these fucking zombies broke into our store and stole every CII, CIII and CIV they could get their fucking filthy paws on. They dumped our trash upon the floor and used the waste baskets to carry off the loot. This marks the fourth and most successful burgalry so far.

Now you might think this could be the straw that would break this donkey’s back, right? Wrong! What really pisses me off is the audacity of the Goddamned Federal Government requiring participants in the World’s Most Trusted Profession to partake in annual “Fraud, Waste and Abuse” training. They are after all the undisputed experts in this area.

What this country needs is another governmental agency to watch over us:
The U.S. Department of Fornication.

Comment by DeanRx on 2012-04-12 20:26:00 -0700 #

Torako – you are the reason this website exists!!!

Comment by sumotoad on 2012-04-14 19:18:52 -0700 #

The only Target I know anything about (ahem) did upwards of 300 a day with one RPh with techs, 2 full time and 1 part time tech. And PDX. But the main focus of the note is spot on– I’ve always treated my techs as the licensed professionals they are. I cannot do my job without them, and they have my license in their hot little hands.

Comment by sumotoad on 2012-04-14 19:21:38 -0700 #

This side of the Mississippi is saturated too, thanks to being sold out by our state boards and our employers. Those of us who are competent are competing with folks who barely speak English and are basically incomprehensible on the phone.

Comment by MIssi on 2012-04-19 01:29:43 -0700 #

Ohhhhhhh you pissed off Tagret!! lol

Comment by Pablohoney on 2012-04-19 13:57:04 -0700 #

uh… I used to be a Target pharmacist. They abused the shit out of me. signed on for a float position that promised “15 minute commutes”… I ended up with a 1000 mile territory. I’ve been in a 250 scrip per day store on a solo 12 hour shift with a 5 hour commute. I was told by the veterans it used to be a good place to work, but they must’ve hired some CVS executives cause things have turned much grimmer in recent times. Much happier as a graveyard hospital pharmacist, and even that’s a pretty shitty scenario…

Comment by SoontobeScrewed on 2012-04-20 14:29:34 -0700 #

I regret every year I’ve spent in pharmacy school. It was my dream to do it since sophomore year of undergrad. I graduated with a BS in some BS, didn’t get in with a 97th percentile PCAT, got in the next year, and I regret every year. I saw it coming and stupidly ignored it; the disrespect, the massive debt, the “just put a label on it”s, my stupid decision not to do a residency, and the lack of employment upon graduating in 2 weeks from now (that I saw my first year…too late to drop out at that point). One thing I didn’t see coming was the chain I worked for since PY1 year refusing to hire me for budget reasons after stringing me along for 4 months after the interview when they knew from day 1 they couldn’t hire any graduating interns. Very much thinking about just….you know…going somewhere else. Wherever that may be. I look at pharmacy students entering now and just laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

Comment by thesedays on 2012-04-21 16:11:22 -0700 #

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I’m a FORMER pharmacist (still licensed and plan to stay that way) who now works for Home Depot, which was founded by a pharmacist. Bon Voyage!

Comment by Radionuclide on 2012-04-22 11:28:34 -0700 #

The hours are great for us insomniacs. I always felt like RPh’s hours in both retail and hospital really blew, so I might as well work in a lab and not deal with asshole customers and insurance companies while I’m at it.
Plus, you (as in your physical body) shouldn’t flag anything at the airport or border patrol checkpoints unless you’re incredibly, and I mean INCREDIBLY sloppy. As in- don’t eat the drugs, don’t stick yourself with needles.
I love my job. No patients, no insurance, no drive thru, no counting pills, no “slap a label on it” bullshit, no controls.

Comment by sunny on 2012-04-23 14:09:39 -0700 #

Aloha All you PO’s Tex… I am Neither a Pharm. OR a Dr., but i have been researching EVERY LINK on Google re: “Tapering off Fent” and found this, a NICE little Laff 4 s/one Not laughing 2 much these days… I have read and SEEN these people, and while I live on a SMALL island, as well have 45 kilos of MRIs, Charts and Chart history Showing a Gradual Inc. in my Meds. I have SEEN the look of SHOCK on both the “pain Specialist” and the Pharm. when i drop off my px;s and say, NO NEED TO HURRY… i HAVE a Few extra at Home 4 days is TOO painful 2 pick up /WAIT for my meds…
I have sen the RAMPID abuse and the “Only need the ONE”, in My case the techs ALL Looked at me when i said, NO – Wait on the Clonazapam…” Now i have been px’d to IR meds.
and BTW, this is NOT AN ISSUE IN EUROPE. i had the SAME dr. and Same Pharm for SIX Years and Dr. TRUSTED me and Pharm. NEW ME, i have NEVER ”
Lost” my meds, of “Flushed them” or “cat ate them”…
i HAVE SEEN EVEN ON THIS TINY ISLAND THE ABUSE, I don’t know HOW you can KEEP A straight face when someone NEEDS OXY or FENT but can Lift teh 35lb. Dogfood into the cart. I GO IN with a SWEATSHIRT and NECK COVERING as the A/C is so Painful, and I am ONLY one wearing a damn SWEATSHIRT, lol… i had to have a px filled at a diff [harm, and WHILE i had the 15 mg. ir Oxy – and the GIRL TREATED ME LIKE CRAP, she had to Transfer over ALL my insurance info Late on a Fri Evening, and DIDN”T see appretnly that the Naproxen and Other NON-Cont meds HAD BEEN FILLED EARLIER THAT DAY… was just they were OUT of the FENT…
Other than that, i have ALWAYS found the Pharmacists MORE willing to HELP and TELL YOU TRUTH ABOUT CERTAIN DRUGS… and their Add’l (potential side affects / tolerance inducer), so THANK YOU guys and gals, i KNOW you deal with people Up all nite, faces Under Construction, lol… I’D BE USING THAT SHARPIE TILL IT WORE OUT AS IT JUST COMPLICATES AND GIVES CONFIRMATION THAT THIS Px’ing ANY CONTROLLED MEDS FOR A 20-sthing (Sorry, but IS The ‘highest Risk cat…) or ANY “XANAX/OXY” COMBO…
Good Luck!\
There ARE LOTTTTA people depending on You! : ))

Comment by SnakesOnAPlane on 2012-04-28 20:19:07 -0700 #

Keep up the posts! I’m a foreigner and still learning to be a pharmacist… I might quit 😛 It’s amazing when you get to know that, anywhere in the world, pharmacists have an equal point of view on so many things, including not getting the credit they deserve and the respect they give everyday (it’s hard sometimes, i wonder). Anyways, love this blog and thanks for the heads-up… I’ll try not to get drunk much… [[[]]]

Comment by PY4 on 2012-05-05 21:45:18 -0700 #

For the gunner intern going on rotations and planning on being rude to staff:

  1. You will get a lot of gross out calls and counsel lots of partially dressed psych patients
  2. You won’t understand how the other interns get around the hospital faster than you
  3. You’ll wonder why the techs keep asking you about tid oxy ER for hospice patients, when you’ve already told them twice today that it’s ok
  4. The clerks won’t warn you about MD or PharmD customers before you counsel them

This is happening to you because the techs are routing gross out conversations to you, withholding helpful information, and testing your emotional stability for fun.

xoxo, PY4 former tech

Comment by bp on 2012-05-10 19:35:20 -0700 #


Comment by Jesus Gonzalez on 2012-05-13 07:46:14 -0700 #

Holy shit, Batman!! A hundred thou a year will buy alot of beer!!!

Comment by Jesus Gonzalez on 2012-05-13 07:51:00 -0700 #

Jesus loves you!

Comment by Pharmacy Thoughts on 2012-06-19 21:18:50 -0700 #

That depends on the state really. Here, we accept them for up to 6 months after the date they are written. I’ve also filled 90 day supplies of narcs, but not very often. Docs can also write them ahead of time and write in the sig “DO NOT DISPENSE UNTIL AFTER xx/xx/20xx” and that works too. It all varies so much, and I practice right at the border of two states, one that’s strict and one (mine) that’s not so strict.

Comment by ME on 2012-08-07 18:43:39 -0700 #

I’m a tech with a crappy pic(pharm in charge). Boy you hit the nail on the head with the high and mighty pharmacist line. Holy cow she makes work miserable. I know techs aren’t gods, but damn, I do a damn good job and damn quickly do I do it, show SOME appreciation.

Comment by ME on 2012-08-07 18:47:46 -0700 #

My store does 500 and we only have one…

Comment by AithnieFire on 2012-09-02 14:22:30 -0700 #

That’s the funniest and yet most heartbreaking shit I’ve read in a long time!

Comment by R & R Pharm D on 2012-09-16 15:14:48 -0700 #

Love this site.I don’s know a better way to describe pharmacy. You’re Soooo dead on! I can completely relate. Keep it up, makes us all Laugh (and Cry) R & R

Comment by dat nukka on 2013-02-20 18:51:40 -0800 #

I was going to reply to the thread about drug addicts, but I figured it would get more exposure here.

I literally am the asshole you talk about.

I am a professional with a degree and a drug addict. I am happy, and I love the fact that my insurance pays for free drugs. I prefer the brand name Adderall because I think it is better. I really take pleasure in how these people treat you, because you are self righteous assholes.

Completing medical school is an accomplishment, yes, but it does not make you in any way better than your customers. Some smart people choose to go into astrophysics or computer engineering instead of medicine, ever consider that? We don’t want to be some glorified cash register operator. The best part is, your job will be obsolete in 20 years when machines are able to fill the prescriptions.

I hope it bothers you that I am charming, have plenty of friends, I am rich, have an abundance of girlfriends, and I get my drugs paid for by my health insurance. It sure is cheaper than going to a drug dealer.

I just can’t wait until cannabis is allowed medicinally so you plebeians can give me that too. You people disgust me.

Comment by Stilloptomistic on 2013-03-05 21:43:43 -0800 #

I want to know what weird personality flaw you displayed during your interview that caused you to not get into pharmacy school with a 97th percentile pcat…

Comment by jagg on 2013-03-12 05:49:28 -0700 #

No career is a walk in the park. If someone says it is, they need to pull their head out of their asses. The tips you left though will benefit those naive in the work force.

Comment by Cousin Nukka on 2013-07-03 02:10:44 -0700 #

@Dat Nukka. Thank you! These people are cogs in the very industry which has done unimaginable harm to the very populace they bitch about. Pill dispensing, bean counting fascists who shit on the poor and disabled unfortunate enough to live off of welfare/medicaid. The mindfuckery continues in that it is this very medicaid which pays these losers salaries and mortgages. They are the real leaches of society. I find it amusing at how a piece of paper, a degree, somehow entitles these quasi-scientists to demean people paying their salaries.

Furtherfuckmore, are you taints not scientists? If so you would know how chemicals dispensed can have the horrible reactions that create junkies along with their medicine needing side effects. A huge circle jerk industry full of lazy p.o.s people that crap out when marijuana and natural healing take over.

Finally, if you hate your jobs so much then fucking quit and let a 3rd worlder do ijt. What they lack in english they have in compassion you fascist, entitled, masochist, whiny, overpaid dickheads.

Ever consider that the shit you dispense is what’s making all your customers crazy? You cogs ae almost as bad as doctors

Comment by River’s mom on 2014-09-03 22:22:21 -0700 #

I work as a certified pharm tech in a target in the DC area. There is normally 1 pharmacist and 1 tech per shift with an overlap of 30 minutes-1 hour while the Phamracist gets to actually eat lunch. I’ve been a CPhT for more than 12 years now and sadly, the job seems to get worse every year. Most customers are conditioned by retail advertising that their script will take only 10-15 minutes to fill…In what perfect world are there are no customers ahead of them ,no glitches in the stupid
eps computer system and their insurance company doesn’t come back with a rejection for some unknown freaking reason that requires you to call ,spend 30 minutes on the phone with them only to be told that the customer’s insurance was terminated last week and have the customer call customer service. That goes over like a lead balloon full of shit…and then have your pharnacist remind you to ask them if they would be interested in signing up for text messaging,or rewards points or a new credit card, and don’t forget fast friendly and fun!!
Somedays there isn’t enough alcohol in the world…

Comment by Robert Edward on 2015-01-28 14:59:32 -0800 #

While some of what you say may be accurate, your overall rant is just too full of bad language, racist rants, and hatred.In your posts, it’s real easy to see which part of the community your refering to. It does not take a guy named Sigmund to see that your on your way to a major meltdown. I suspect you got into this business because law school was too hard, and being a REAL doctor would take too long.

The point is, in any business that deals with the public, you need to be very flexible, and be able to take the abuse, and roll with the punches, and when you go home at night, you leave it all behind at the front lines (your store). I am a retired trucker, and I had to learn alot of anti-stress tactics to cope with all the morons on the highways, that were all trying real hard to kill me and others, dailey. So, unless you can deal with this job, or any other where the public is involved, I would say bail out now, and save everyone the pain and suffereing that your going through. Maybe get a job as a fire lookout in the mountains, where your alone all day.

Comment by Ihatepharmacywork on 2018-02-13 01:45:21 -0800 #

Retail pharmacy work is a total nightmare. There are definitely several points here that really nail the drudgery of it all. I work as a Designated Hitter in a trainwreck of a pharmacy that I wish would just catch fire at this point (just kidding but not really), and even working as a lower-level employee back there with limited knowledge is a nightmare. The customers are impatient and unbearable in many cases, and not only would I NEVER want to be a technician, I don’t even know how I’ve managed to last as a DH as long as I have.
Several pharmacists and techs hate me and only a couple of people working back there are helpful, friendly, and sane.