... are things like this spin doctoring:
Pharmacies Can't Do Maths. (Or Can They?...)
Oh dear: "Medicine shortages are coming!" "Blame the government for shortages!" "Aaaaahhhhh!" "The Sky is falling!"
Only no. It's bullshit.
Priceline's BS claim revolves around new rules allowing patients being able to get 60 days' worth of medicines in a prescription instead of 30 days' worth as the situation has stood in the past. So instead of having to see a doctor every month to renew prescriptions, people only have to go every 60 days. Instead of getting 30 tablets a month, people are able to get 60 tablets per two months. That's not a shortage - it's just the same dose but now in one twice-as-long prescription instead of two.
|Your pharmacist - tired, or relaxed?|
Same Amount Of Medication:
It's the same amount of medication, just dispensed double quantity and half as often... Oh... Hey... So maybe that's the issue... Instead of twelve dispensings, it'll only require six. I wonder. Is that the sticking point? The actual amount of medication dispensed is not going to change. Whether you take 365 tablets dispensed in 30-tablet prescriptions 12 times a year, or you take 365 tablets dispensed in 60-tablet prescriptions 6 times a year, it's still 365 tablets. This means Prickline is knowingly putting out bullshit.
(Look - they're pharmacists. Maths is kind of important to their business. "Hmmm. Do I give this person's 500mg dose in five 100mg tablets five times a day, two tablets 250mg twice daily, or 500mg once a day? When the highest tolerable dose is no more 300mg every eight hours?" The point I'm making is that this would not have escaped them, so they're knowingly bullshitting. And that in turn clearly means that they have some other gripe with this. And it's not hard to see. . .)
Because - oh look! Instead of our pharmacists booking twelve dispensings a year per customer medication, they'll now only be able to book six... And oh, again... Look... They get a per-dispense fee! And there are also per-maximum-quantity fees they are permitted to charge, and obviously if the maximum quantity they can dispense changes while the total per year remains the same, they get a fewer fees here, too.
So mystery solved. Priceline are prevaricating because they'll lose income. The customer gets lower costs and fewer GP appointments needed, but the customer isn't as important as getting as many fees out of the Government as possible. (Nice move Jim, nice move...)
"Shortages" Of Medicines?
There have been shortages of medicines for years before this ever came along. There will still be the same amount of medicine afterwards. The government can't actually reach back in time, alter pharmaceutical companies' production, and then also magically reach into the future and alter their production-to-be.
What could change, come to think of it, is pharmacies' policies about ordering in stocks knowing they will need twice as much of a drug, half as often as before. Again - and I reiterate and belabor this point - it's simple effing matehmatics. Pharmacists have to know maths for fancy stuff like titration and dosing, I'm sure they can handle simple halvings and doublings. As I've often said: Keep The Bastards Honest. A slogan I've shamelessly stolen from Mr Chipp and Australian Democrats party and will continue to use whenever appropriate.
To recap - there'll be no actual shortage of medicines on account of the new prescription rules. The only way shortages could maybe occur might be if pharmacies decide to make things unpleasant for their customers by sort-of-deliberately forgetting that they're pharmacies and they know how to do maths, and instead don't plan for the right quantities of medications to be ordered in time, hoping that their customers will put pressure on the government for them when they can't get their medication. That seems to be a filthy dirty tactic so I'm actually loath to suggest it but it is also not beyond the realms of possibility.
And For Customers There's Also Another Less Obvious Upside:
To me the single most important upside of this change to prescribing/dispensing rules is that the pharmacists will be doing around 1/2 as much dispensing as they've had to in the past.
Old: Pharmacist (dealing with several hundred prescriptions a day) gets barely enough time to check your prescription properly, hand it to you, and snap out "next please."
New: Pharmacist (dealing with half as many prescriptions a day because the pharmacy still has the same number of customers and dispenses the same amount of medication but now only has to deal with patients half as often) can check your prescription in an unhurried fashion, has time to chat with you and do the things that pharmacists all used to do before increasing demands on their time robbed them of the customer contact part of their jobs.
So it seems that not only will there be no "shortage of medications" but there'll be a cost benefit to customers and a chance to return to the more personalised style of medicine that pharmacies once were able to provide.
Hashtag #BoycottPriceline - because the customer's best interests seem not to be theirs.
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