Tuesday, July 28, 2015



Wow.  I first wrote this while I was still working as a pharmacy tech, way back before 2009 when I had my car accident.  I wrote it as an intro for my new blog which never panned out the way I thought because I ended up writing my novel MEDS and using most of the material in the novel.  So I'll include the blog here and now.  There are some interesting points. 

Hi Everybody,

I know I’m a horror writer, and while I strive to keep this blog informal and chatty, kindof a get to know the writer behind the stories and novels thing, I also find that I’m stressing out about a lot of issues in my life outside of Owl’s Nest. 

Since the moment I set foot in the pharmacy where I work, I’ve hated it.  The work isn’t actually that bad, but there are issues about the drug industry that make my job a living hell.  And I want to address some of them here, in a public forum and get some of it off my chest and into the public eye.  I may actually submit some of the blogs as essays to various magazines and newspapers, but I want to run them by you first. 

And it’s not just pharmacy situations.  There are topics that passionately interest me, and I want to get it all into the blogs/essays.  I usually try to address issues in my novels, through my characters, but then I risk getting preachy in my books, and that’s not good.  And one subject per novel would leave me taking a whole slew of shit to my grave with me, even if I live to be 115 years old. 

That leaves me blogging.  And that’s okay. 

So that’s why, on occasion I will be writing about issues, not just personal updates and chit-chat. 

You’re in for it now!


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a pharmacy technician, and I work for a major retail pharmacy, which I may have mentioned before, but I’ll try, for purposes of not getting my ass sued off, (though, since they don’t pay me a livable wage, they wouldn’t get much!) to not blatantly mention the store in direct connection with any activity that could be considered negligence.  When I leave this job, it’s going to be at the time I choose, after telling middle management to shove it, not because they fire me and sue me for libel. 

And what goes on in my pharmacy goes on in most retail pharmacies, more or less although I hear our chain is being watched closely by the Board of Pharmacy. 

And there’s a lot that goes on that customers have absolutely no clue about.  Some of it is the pharmacy’s fault, most not. 

I guess the most recent, and ongoing issue is Rx insurance.  This is a whole world that I live in part time, and it’s totally screwed up. 

Most people bitch about their prescription coverage no matter what.  Just on principle.  Everybody has at least one little snide comment to make about the price of drugs, and how sucky insurance is that it doesn’t just cover everything across the board. 

However there is another perspective from which to look at this picture, and see a whole new meaning. 

Think about this:
In this age of sue-happy everybody, where you pretty much have to sign and notarize a waiver to step into your shower in the morning, how confident does the insurance company have to be to say that a drug is unnecessary, or that the brand isn’t a whit better than the generic?  Pretty damned confident, I’d think. 

I also hear the comment on a daily basis that customers resent their insurance company practicing medicine and deciding what their doctor can and cannot prescribe. 

But what this patient doesn’t realize is that doctors are inundated with new products from drug company sales reps every day, given free samples to give out, and offered incentives to prescribe their drugs. 

Insurance companies hire doctors to judge effectiveness of various medicines that come on the market.  They complete surveys and have data that tells them whether the medicines are worth paying for. 

So really, who do you want to manage your health care, your doctor being influenced by drug company sales reps, or your doctor being influenced by other doctors working for the insurance companies? 

In the long run, you can look at what your insurance company says about a particular drug and learn about its effectiveness and whether or not the risks that drug presents (and they all have some sort of risk) is worth it for the benefits it brings about. 

Medicine, for the most part has become a greed-driven industry instead of an honored profession.  In many ways, insurance companies can be used by the consumer as watchdogs. 

Mind you, it can go the other way.  Insurance companies cut their formularies to the bone.  Sometimes a drug is necessary and unfortunately expensive.  But though it’s incredibly tedious and time-consuming, it’s not totally unreasonable for the insurance company to ask the doctor for a reason (asking for the dreaded prior authorization).  The asking is not the problem.  It’s the time-consuming process to get the doctor to call and give the reason and the drug company to enter the authorization into the system that’s the issue. 

Perhaps if the system wasn’t bogged down with getting prior authorization for the expensive, useless drugs, the authorizations for expensive, worthwhile drugs could be processed more efficiently and rapidly.  Serious weeding out is in order.  And there is also the variable of everyone's system reacting to drugs differently, and some patients having multiple disorders that conflict.  Medications and treatments are one huge gray area.  Nothing is simple. 

Okay.  So much for my first pharmacy blog.  Hopefully it wasn’t too painful.  I’ll know it was if sales of Ibuprofen and Tylenol go up at the pharmacy counter. 

Stay healthy and take care…
Ooky Ter 

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