Sassy Pharmacist and Polite Pharmacist Tackle Common Questions

APRIL 11, 2018
Maurice Shaw, PharmD, is a pharmacist in charge who draws from his pharmacy management experience to make hilarious YouTube videos.

Pharmacists who have seen , can undoubtedly relate to many of the scenarios that he acts out. Some of my are his lazy technician, Jamal, as well as the Sassy Pharmacy skits. 

I thought it would be fun to answer some of the most common questions we get asked, as collected by personal experiences from Maurice, me, and hundreds of pharmacy and technician comments that I polled and sorted through.

Following are the questions. Each will be answered by both a polite pharmacist (my answer) and the Sassy Pharmacist (Maurice). Be sure to read his answers in the Sassy Pharmacist’s voice, as it is even funnier that way.

Disclaimer: Although the Sassy Pharmacist’s answers are hilarious and may be exactly what you want to say, we accept no responsibility for any disciplinary actions that may occur pursuant to answering customer questions as he would.

Question: Why does my prescription need a prior authorization? Isn’t the prescription the authorization?
Polite pharmacist: Even though the doctor prescribed this medication, sometimes the insurance company requires additional information before it decides whether it will cover the medication or have you try an alternative.
Sassy Pharmacist: Because they want to be difficult. If you would like to pay for it, we take cash, checks, and credit cards.

Q: Can you try these 10 different discount cards for all my prescriptions and tell me which is cheapest?
PP: Sure, we are a little backed up right now, so, we will try all these cards and call you when the prescriptions are ready for pickup. Thank you.
SP: Sure, give me your phone number, and I will call you in 2 weeks. But only if you promise never to come back again.

Q: My doctor said it would be ready when I got here, and it would only be $4.
PP: I am so sorry that your doctor told you that. Sometimes the electronic prescriptions take a while to get here, and the price is determined by your insurance company. You can member services on your card for more information about the price.
SP: Your doctor is a liar. He does not work here; how would he know when your medication is ready and how much it costs?

Q: Can you refill everything?
PP: Let’s look at your profile. We will go through each medication, and you can tell me if you would like to fill it.
SP: I’m sorry; the computer is not working. You will have to use the automated system. And you also must promise to pick up everything.

Q: Where’s the other pharmacist? He never gives me a problem
PP: I am sorry you feel that way. I would be glad to help you. What can I do to help?
SP: I will get you a copy of his schedule, if you promise to only come in when he is here.

Q: What do you mean I have no refills? My doctor said I have to take this for the rest of my life
PP: The doctor gave 7 refills, and we filled the last refill last month. We will be glad to your doctor for a new prescription, and we can text you when it is ready for pickup.
SP: Your doctor gave you 7 refills, and you used 7 refills. Seven minus 7 equals 0.

Q: Are you the pharmacist?
PP: Yes, I am. How can I help you today?
SP: No, I work in the meat department. I am just helping out because they are short-staffed.

Q: I need this prescription refilled. There are no refills, so, you must call my doctor.
PP: No problem. We will text you when it is ready for pickup. Have a great day!
SP: Thanks for letting me know how to do my job. I thought I had to call your vet for refills.

Q: (After you answer the phone): Are you open?
PP: Good morning. Yes, we are open. How can I help you today?
SP: No, we are closed. I just like coming in here on my day off and answering the phone.

Q: (In the drive thru): Can you just grab me a candy bar, a loaf of bread, and some milk?
PP: I am sorry, we are a little busy right now. Would you mind coming inside for those items? Thank you for understanding.
SP: Sorry ma'am; we only take prescriptions, not shopping lists.

Q: When will my doctor call back?
PP: I am not sure but hopefully soon. But we will let you know as soon as your prescription is ready. If you need a few of your blood pressure pills to tide you over, let me know.
SP: Sorry, my telepathy is not working today, so, I cannot read his mind, but I am sure when he is free he will call us.

Q: As you are not busy, can you just ring up this cart full of groceries?
PP: I would love to, but we actually are a little tied up right now. Would you mind taking that up front? Thank you.
SP: Actually, I am busy, but as you are not, can you go up front?
 
Q: Are the eggs on sale?
PP: I am not sure. Let’s look at the flyer.
SP: Did the sign SAY they were on sale?
 
Q: Don't you just have to slap a label on it?
PP: Filling a prescription takes a while, because we have to type it, fill it, check for drug interactions, and verify it for accuracy. You can have a seat in the waiting area, and we will let you know as soon as it is ready. Thank you for your patience.
SP: Actually, I have to type it, process through your insurance, check for drug interactions, fill it, and THEN I slap a label on it.
 
Q: Can I just wait right here in the drive-thru?
PP: We have to leave the lane clear for other cars, but we will work on your prescription right away, and you can swing right back around when you get the text that it is ready.
SP: No ma'am. Unfortunately, this is a drive thru, not a sit thru. If you want to sit and wait, you can sit in our waiting area.
 
Q: Why is my copay $25?
PP: We have your insurance on file, and they send back the price electronically. If you have any further questions, you can call member services.
SP: Do I look like Blue Cross and Blue Shield?
 
Q: (While pulling up an article of clothing): Is this rash infected? 
PP: I think it may be, but you really need to see a doctor for that. You can use this OTC antibiotic in the meantime, but get to a dermatologist ASAP.
SP: Sir, there are children around. The sign at the front of the store says, "Shirt on at all times."
 
Q: Why do I always have a problem when I come here?
PP: I am sorry to hear that. Let’s see how I can help.
SP: I was thinking the same thing about you.
 
Q: What do you mean my medicine is not ready? I called it in 3 weeks ago
PP: Per our company policy, after 14 days, we have to reverse the claim and put the prescription back on file. If you do not mind waiting a few minutes, we will fill it right away
SP: We assumed that because you waited 3 weeks, it meant that you did not need it, so we gave your pills to someone else.
 
We hope you enjoyed our Q&A!


Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2001. She has worked in community pharmacies for over 16 years as a Pharmacist in Charge, staff, and floater pharmacist for a large chain. Currently, she is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in Northern NJ. She can be reached at [email protected]
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