There are so many advances in medicines taking place right now and technology is proving influential in shaping these changes.
One example of that is robotic IV automation, which offers a fully automated IV compounding system to accurately prepare syringes. It is also the case that some pharmacists are taking advantage of the changing landscape in order to offer a wider range of over-the-counter drugs and different services.
That means that not all pharmacies offer the same customer experience and it would be wise to shop around and ask a few relevant questions before you part with your cash.
Technology might be changing medicine but some things remain the same so let’s take a look and highlight some tricks of the trade that pharmacists might not be so keen on sharing with you.
A good pharmacist is easily on a par with your doctor
It is only fair to say that, first and foremost, the vast majority of pharmacists will do everything they can to give you the right guidance when it comes to prescribing the correct drugs you need for your condition.
For at least the last ten years, it has been the case that pharmacy students have to have earned a doctorate in pharmacy, which entitles them to have the Pharm.D title after their name.
Look for this certificate on their wall and feel free to ask them some searching questions as it could even be argued that your pharmacist might just know more about your health than your doctor.
Be aware of limitations
There are a couple of points to make here. The first one is that although the person at the front of the shop who is advising you and passing on their knowledge to you is suitably qualified to do so it is entirely possible that the pharmacy technician at the back does have the same level of training and in-depth knowledge.
You should be aware that there is no formal standard to adhere to with regard to their training and responsibilities, which is why you check the medication appears to be the same as prescribed and is in the correct dosage.
The second point is that it would be wrong to assume that everything you are being sold over the counter is safe.
What this means is that if you are given the wrong dosage instructions or there is confusion about which medications are which, if you are taking several, ask the pharmacist rather than make your own assumptions.
They ask plenty of questions for good reason
You might be a bit frustrated to turn up at your local pharmacy and be asked a series of questions before they prescribe and dispense the medication you require.
It is often highly relevant for a pharmacist to ask questions about your family’s health history and your current lifestyle as it will allow them to ensure that the medications they prescribe are a good fit for you.
Don’t assume all generic drugs are as good as their brand name counterparts
There are can be a huge price difference between a generic drug and a brand name and it has to be said that, in general, you can often assume that a generic alternative should be very similar in performance.
However, there are some potential exceptions to be wary of. Thyroid drugs and blood thinners are two examples where it would be a good idea to seek the opinion of your pharmacist before opting for the generic alternative.
It would be a good idea to stick with who you know
A solid suggestion would be to try and use one pharmacist for all your medication needs.
The reason for this is simple. Pharmacists don’t share information with each other across a central database and that could lead to confusion or mistakes with your dosage and prescription if you go somewhere unfamiliar.
You can sometimes negotiate on price
If you are taking regular medications it can soo get expensive and that means you are bound to shop around to see if there is a better deal elsewhere.
Certain generic drugs are available at some of the major chain stores and it can’t hurt to ask if your pharmacist will price match, which they will sometimes do to keep your custom.
You are on common ground when it comes to insurance company forms
A word to the wise. Your pharmacist probably has as much disdain for your insurance company as you do so it is often counter-productive to get annoyed with them as they are in the middle and have to follow the insurer’s instructions as they are picking up the tab.
Some add-ons are great for boosting profits
Although they won’t openly admit to profiteering it is not uncommon for a pharmacist to ask whether you want to get a flu shot.
They might be asking for the good of your health but it is a question that can be for the good of their wealth, as there is sometimes a bonus scheme running for how many jabs they administer.
The obligatory white coat serves a purpose
Staying with a cynical theme just for a while longer, have you ever wondered why pharmacists almost always wear a white coat?
It seems we think that people wearing white lab coats are more professional and qualified to dispense our drugs.
Wearing white inspires trust but doesn’t serve any valid purpose. That’s not to say that they aren’t suitably qualified just because they have fallen in line with the obligatory white coat.
Cash can sometimes get you a better deal
Finally, you should not automatically assume that the price you pay for your drugs will be the same regardless of whether you have insurance or not.
It can sometimes be the case that the cash price you pay could be lower than if you were using an insurance co-pay scheme. Check with your pharmacist to see if you could benefit from paying with cash to get your drugs at a cheaper price.
Knowing some of these tricks of the trade could save you time and money plus it also helps to get the inside track on some of the things that your pharmacist doesn’t always want to share with you,