The F in Farmacy stands for Free

Why do patients always expect medication to be free? I’m not talking about something that costs kilo-bucks, but stuff that has like a $3 copay?
Example:
Person comes in for their monthly HIV medications. Has the balls to stand there and bitch to me how he has to pay a $3.10 copay for each of his Rx’s (when we are getting a whopping $10 dispensing fee for a $700 Rx). Now I can see all you retail folk out there sighing and nodding your heads. I politely say to him how much the cash price would be if he had to pay out of pocket for all of those medications (which ended up to be over $2k/month). He had the balls to tell me “Well, I’m HIV positive, so I shouldn’t have to pay those copays!”. What.. The.. Fuck..
I swear I got so pissed that I almost blacked out. I just smiled, bit a hole through my tounge, and dropped the conversation right there. I almost asked him if he wanted a medal for being HIV positive, it being quite an accomplishment in life. Seriously, where do people get the notion that they deserve something for free based upon their condition? Yes, I am going to hell, yes I am getting hatemail over this one, and no I dont feel this way about everyone who’s HIV positive.
What is with people and expecting everything they pick up in a pharmacy to be free? Why did I go to college do deal with this?

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26 Comments

  1. A-Rock357 says:

    I think Mencia said it best. If you can indeed admit that you have a handicap of anysort that you can admit to making you a lesser person by all means go ahead of me. Otherwise get to the back of the fucking line and wait like everyone else. This may be a bad comparison but the best i can think of.

  2. Brad says:

    “I had unprotected sex with a dirty hobo, then shared needles with him. Where are my free drugs.”

  3. Lisa Lykins says:

    Oh yes,
    You are someone after my own heart. No hate mail here.My hat goes off to you. I work in an inf. disease clinic where EVERYONE thinks they should get their meds for free ,they feel “entitled”-go figure and on top of it Medicaid /care was paying for their Viagra so that they could spread their promiscuous lifestyle….something is terribly wrong with this picture!!!

  4. whitecoat says:

    It’s even better in the Canadian health care system… The government picks up the tab on a lot of medications for those on welfare & those over 65. Most of them pay only $2 per prescription; the rest pay $6.11. Still a lot cheaper than your $275/90 tabs Lipitor, right? But you would not believe how much bitching I hear over that $2 copay… I’ve even been told that because my pharmacy charges the copay (some of the grocery store-type pharmacies will waive it), I’m “heartless” and “just in it for the money.” Yes, ma’am, on your $2 copay alone, I can retire!

  5. Mary Lu says:

    Angry– No you’re not going to hell, because it’s all ready crowded from other pharmacists who stroked out, or died from an MI in the pharmacy and went straight to hell before you! 😉
    Reality check is– I have come to the conclusion that IQ and the ability to screw and even reproduce are an inverse relationship. (The lower the IQ, the higher the probability they will reproduce like rabbits.) A similar ratio could be formulated for those with HIV.
    If I’d been you, and your pharmacy manager should thank God I’m not, I would have asked him if he’d have paid $3 for a condom that one time he “exposed” himself or were we supposed to give that to him too?
    Jeeze! Isn’t healthcare fun?
    Mary Lu

  6. stuart says:

    timely comment since the BMJ just had a discussion on this issue of “Are we spending too much on HIV? ”
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/334/7589/344

  7. Its even worse in the UK. Anyone over 65 or under 16 gets prescriptions for free. As does anyone on benefits and people with some chronic diseases (including hypothyroidism and diabetes).
    I’ve had people moaning that I’ve only given them 98 aspirin instead of 100 (we make a far higher profit if we dispense aspirin from packs of 28 rather than 100, and I’m too busy to cut strips), even though they don’t bloody pay.
    I’ve also had people try to explain that they don’t pay for their prescriptions when they want an emergency supply of a seretide inhaler. I don’t care – they’ve been stupid enough to go away on holiday without their inhaler then they can pay the cost of it (and I can make some profit).
    As for dispensing fees: in the UK the govt. pays about 90p (~$2) as a professional fee per prescription. Wow, thanks.

  8. VA Pharmacist says:

    Angry? I agree! It doesn’t get any better working for the VA. Stricter formulary and higher copay’s with patient’s saying they fought in Vietnam and should not have to pay for their medications or even for their travel expense to the VA. AHHH!

  9. No hate mail from me, just kudos for not reaching over the counter and hitting the guy. Rude people are very difficult to deal with while you are trying to maintain your own sanity. Good job!
    MJ

  10. NHPharmD says:

    Hmm, meds for free…
    Now I can see a few instance where I could see your meds for free….
    Industrial accident, large metal shaft travels thru you HIV positive buddy, and nicks you therefore transferring blood to you and BAM workman’s compl claim…free meds
    Hospital injects you with HIV, you sue, BAM hospital pays for your medication.
    Your sugar daddy boyfriend who does not want his wife to know about you writes the check for your pills as well.
    Other than that, you had some part in getting the disease. You either had unprotected sex, shared needles etc, so part of it falls on you, so suck it up and pay your copay, or whatever and quit bitchin about it, get your meds, pay the bill, and try not to bleed on my counter because I dont like dawning my bio suit to clean up whatever you do in my pharmacy!

  11. drh says:

    These “entitled” people drive me nuts. I’m getting tired of taking care of them. They come in wanting antibiotics even though they don’t need them and then ask me how much they cost and then bitch about it. Plus, I was yelled at by multiple people today. One because the last dr. didn’t give her antibiotics. One because I called her to check on how she was with her pneumonia and she was pissed because another dr. called her for the same reason yesterday–sorry for trying to make sure you’re OK. The third because her finger wasn’t healing like it should after I saw her Monday AND SHE REFUSED TO LET ME SUTURE IT LIKE IT NEEDED. How the hell has that now become MY problem, idiot?? When my student loans are paid off, I’m opening my own clinic and firing all of these patients–we really shouldn’t have to take this shit for trying to help people.

  12. dribear says:

    same thing in the ER.. People bitch about a 20 dollar co-pay after receiving several thousand dollars worth of services.

  13. Ticked off tech. says:

    You know what I hate. When people bitch and moan about the prices of brand medicine on their insurance. I’m like theres a generic, and they say,”I don’t want that fake stuff.” Ugh!! It’s annoying. And when you tell someone the price of something and they cut you off to tell you that it wasn’t that much before. Then you have to look into it and tell them the insurance changed the copay. They expect you to call for them.. I especially love the people who tell me its my fault there kid can’t get medicine tonight because the insurance wants a prior authorization. I’m like pay for it if your kid is suffering. People drive me crazy! The pharmacy is another world in itself. Ahh.
    im a big fan and you keep everyone at my pharmacy sane. Thank you!

  14. BEth says:

    I love the people who are on medicaid who come through with their “bling bling” escalades that are decked out–iPods, talking on the $250 brand new cell phones, ray ban or whatever the new sunglasses are, designer clothes, and 20 pounds of gold chains around their neck. When they come through the drive thru to get their lortab and valium–they dont want to pay their $1 copay for these…and they know they can refuse to pay it and i still have to give it to them for no charge—I cant even afford the bling bling–how can they? I work in a “ritzy” part of town—i cant afford it–how can they? They deserve it because they are “minority” and it would be “rude” to question their money & why they are on medicaid anyways!
    I also love the old lady’s when medicare part D came out—I have government insurance—I pay a premium–I dont have to pay for my medicine at the pharmacy! I LOVE THAT ONE!

  15. J-chan says:

    I just commented on a slightly more recent entry, but I can tell I’ll be liking your blog. :)
    Entitlement bitches, which is what I called them when I worked in retail, piss me off _so_ hard. Seriously, I’m dirt-poor. I’m a pre-med in undergrad and I’m living off practically nothing, but I still don’t think I’m special enough to not have to pay for things. Come on, somebody had to pay for them to be made sometime, it’s basic economics here, didn’t anyone else go to high school or was that just me? O_o;
    I’m happy to be able to get all the meds I need on the kind of crappy insurance I have.. I take generics happily and willingly, and I pay my copays because I know they’re only a _TINY_ fraction of the actual retail cost that I could never afford, and I thank my pharmacists for their time because without my pills my life would SUCK incredibly hard.
    I don’t know where the entitlement mentality comes from. I wish there was a job where I could just go around and smack people who really deserve it.

  16. Drugmanrx says:

    BEth, I would suggest giving partials (a day or two worth with refills) to people who repeatedly refuse their copays on medicaid. The law (where I’m from) says you have to give it to them if they can’t pay, but it doesn’t say how much you have to give. I figure with the gas they waste coming in, they might just start paying like they are supposed to (granted its not much). Just a way to stick it to people who think they deserve everything for free 😉

  17. withdrawn says:

    please remove my name and
    comment…..don’t want it biting me in the a___
    I wasn’t thinking when I used my real name
    Lisa Lykins:
    Oh yes,
    You are someone after my own heart. No hate mail here.My hat goes off to you. I work in an inf. disease clinic where EVERYONE thinks they should get their meds for free ,they feel “entitled”-go figure and on top of it Medicaid /care was paying for their Viagra so that they could spread their promiscuous lifestyle….something is terribly wrong with this picture!!!
    Posted by Lisa Lykins | February 21, 2007 5:02 AM
    The F in Farmacy stands for Free

  18. Ally says:

    THANK YOU! Some horrible bitch just last week passed a BLOODY, snot-filled tissue along with her prescription for Lamivudine through the fucking drive-thru….wanting me to “find a trash can for her”.
    I sent back everything and said it was “out of stock”.
    Something has got to change for us or I’m going to wind up in jail.

  19. mipharmacist says:

    Seriously, I think that patient was one of mine a few years back. Didn’t have the money for the $1 copays but plenty of money to engage in expensive hobbies that I couldn’t because I have to actually go someplace and perform a job to get my money and have to actually pay for my healthcare because I don’t want to sit at home and hope that someone else is going to take care of me when I’m damn well capable even though I’m “entitled” to it.
    That’s a good idea about just giving them a few days worth at a time, but it wouldn’t be legal without the doctor writing it that way. I know everyone that has only worked in a chain pharmacy is either laughing at me, shaking their head, or rolling their eyes. It’s true, since I’ve partnered up with an independent pharmacy owner, there are A LOT of bullshit clauses in the contracts like that one!

  20. VAPharmD says:

    My favorite “entitlement” patient is the one who wants to split bill between medicaid and another 3rd party. Can anyone explain why it is that you need medicaid if you have private insurance? I thought medicaid was for those who were needy or disabled? Please tell me where I am going wrong.

  21. Lenny says:

    I have been a 100% svc conected VA patient for over 25 yrs. Some what simular to you sir I have seen about it all at the pharmacy window in the local VA hospital. Patients who look and behave like uncivilized morons bitch and complain about peaty CO pays. I’ve seen instances where they and their dependents get a large bag full of meds and they cry loud about this minor CO pay. Many of these are folks who are mealy so called indigent who have served just a short tour or less. In reality they are getting a hand out and not a benefit for svc rendered.
    Folks who have never served and are not covered by good med benefits end up nearly in very shabby conditions with only a part of the meds they need. How ever they still pay taxes so these indigent idiots can cry about a little CO pay. Don’t let these types of idiots get to you they are the same fools elsewhere also. Just thank yourself you had better sense.

  22. stringbeanrph says:

    Ok first of all i love the blog! It is so comforting to know so many others share my pain. I am also sick and tired of the free loaders. My personal peeve are the ones who pay no attention to the label that clearly states no refills remaining must be authorized by doctor and come in on saturday and demand I give them a week supply until the doctor calls us back. of course they take no responsibility in this! What happened to personal responsibility? Do these same people ask the grocery store to loan them a gallon of milk until payday? Why did i go to college again? Keep up the good work I love it!!!!!

  23. chris says:

    most people dont know how much the pharmacies make for dispensing the drugs to begin with….so maybe if you shared that information and got the word around you wouldnt have people bitching about a 2 dollar copay….. i have health insurance through work and my copays are 35 dollars for each non generic drug i take….plus i have to pay 25 to see my doctor and 35 to see a specialist….so im doing what most people in my position are doing…im not going to the doctor and im not taking any medications….i just pray to die fast…whats the point in taking meds when i cant afford to eat if i do….

  24. StephRx says:

    My favorite, from a classmate: When a welfare patient complains about the wait time or anything else, he offers to waive the co-pay, which is…$0. Then the idiots have the balls to complain that they don’t pay anything anyway, so what kind of deal is that?

  25. pharmacyintern2010 says:

    I hate alot of the patients that come in on medicaid. Some are pleasant and are trying to get get off it and into private insurance, very rare as is it sounds. The two patients I remember were this husband and wife that looked like they swallowed a couple of hippoes each. They were bitching everyone in the pharmacy out because their copays were to expensive for this huge bag of meds for a slew of conditions, mostly diabetes. They couldn’t afford the $10 total in copays but could afford a cart full of soda, pork rinds, chips, and about 8 pounds worth of candy bars. Thats really going to help your blood sugar and is going to make you go through all that insulin much faster. The wife also was screaming at our pharmacist because she dared try and say maybe the wife was giving herself insulin wrong as she always kept running out a long time before it was supposed to be refilled. I really felt sorry for the pharmacist when I heard the “I’ve been a nurse for 20 years and you’re telling me I’ve been giving insulin wrong for all that time! How dare you, who do you think you are, you should lose that white coat you doctor wannabe and get a real job!” and then the she was saying if we were going to over charge her for the copays she would go to walmart instead. I say good riddence and maybe you were giving the shots wrong, and get loose some weight to get off disability because your morbidy obese.

  26. Shelly Weidner says:

    If you hate your job and the customers find another job. Don’t subject these unfortunate people to your burn out and frustration. It certainly makes a bad situation worse.

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