There’s gotta be a better way

How often have you encountered a situation whose events are so ludicrous that you are left simply wondering why someone hasn’t thought of a better way of managing those events?

I had one recently.

I dropped into my chemist and left a prescription for Diabex XR 1000 while I went off on an important shopping mission (cigars, booze).  When returning to collect the script I was dutifully informed they were out of stock. None were available anywhere. Not a problem, I still had enough to last over a week.

Yesterday, with my supply running low I returned with the prescription. Same story. Can’t get any yet as the distributor is out of stock.  Apparently the factory burnt down (wow, that’s original). They suggested I try the 500 milligram dose, as long as I didn’t mind rattling from all those tablets.

“Fine, I’ll take them”.

“Sorry, you’ll need a prescription from your doctor”.

Why mention them in the first place, would have been an obvious response. Instead I humorously snarled: “Great. So I have to make an appointment with my doctor who is usually booked out for a week in advance, leave work early and sit in his waiting room for the customary two hours before parting with $75 for a prescription for medication you know I take”.

It wasn’t as if I was asking for a larger dose for goodness sake.

There’s gotta be a better system than this.  How about those poor buggers who don’t have private transport, or who can’t get away from work so easily?  What a horrible inconvenience!  Worse still, what about the poor soul about to drop dead?

Last year I was in Rome and came down with a severe dose of the very deadly man flu. Noticing a chemist near to hotel I wandered in and after moaning to the poor young lady behind the counter that I had only moments to live I asked if there was possibly a life-saving doctor nearby.

“You don’t need one” she said. “I can sell you the medication you need. You don’t need a prescription”.

Brilliant. I took the drug and was a happy fellow. Until Paris.

In Paris, shock horror, I discovered I hadn’t brought enough of my Diabex with me. Frantic, I tried my luck with a chemist and produced a letter from my doctor in vain hope of having some success.  Note to all: if ever you travel overseas carry with you a letter from your GP listing your medication.

Saints be praised, that’s all I needed in order to obtain medications. Why can’t it be that simple or logical in Australia?  It’s just one of those instances where we can’t do things effectively, efficiently or economically in this country. Can you think of some other examples?

Returning to my saga with the chemist, after candidly demanding some logic they offered to phone my doctor to see if they can supply me with the 500 mg dose of Diabex. They phoned me this morning with the good news he’d given the OK and my script was available for collection.

When I called in after work to collect the script I noticed they had only given me two week’s supply.

“Oh. If you need more you’ll have to get another prescription from your doctor”.

Sigh.

Why can’t we take a leaf out of Europe?  There are some things they just do better than us.

Chemist

Chemist (Photo credit: rutty)

62 comments on “There’s gotta be a better way

  1. I do agree there should be a better way, and frankly your chemist sounds like an idiot.

    However, my experience overseas was VASTLY different to yours, with even very simple medication hard to get and no inconvenience too great for a sick person to be asked to go through.

    Could it be a difference in what is considered over the counter, and what is not?

    People I was staying with, for instance, were aghast to hear that panadeine is so readily available in NSW, as it is strictly regulated in the countries I visited.

    A friend’s uncle was also denied entry to another country with his CPAP machine. He decided to enter anyway and ended up in hospital using their CPAP machine!

    You may have been fortunate in having a medication that is legally the equivalent of panadeine in Australia ~ in that it is readily available without prescription.

    Regarding the dispensing of the 50 mg/100 mg tablets, at my local pharmacy here in Blacktown, the chemist frequently makes up prescriptions to equivalent dosages, after all not everything can be in stock all the time. I wonder if your pharmacist is just being a bit precious? It seems ridiculous to ask someone to go to all that trouble for what is essentially no good reason.

    Also, does your doctor do phone prescriptions? Many do if it’s just a matter of repeats or a mix up such as the chemist.

    I really can’t stand it when the medical people behave so ridiculously. It’s not like you’re taking the Diabex home and making ice. It’s a life preserving drug.

    Also, really, people should be treated with the respect their custom deserves.

  2. Christine, what really annoys me is when chemists grill you over a drug you’ve been prescribed. Helloooo, the doctor prescribed it, didn’t he?

  3. The Diabetic Association suggested that when I board a plane with my suspicious looking insulin needles to carry a copy of the prescription and the packet the insulin needles came with. Plus, of course, the letter from the GP. Without, which, it could be assumed that my intentions are to stab the pilot.

  4. Migs , how inconsiderate of you. Don’t you know how tough GPs are doing it. They need every last script visit to pay for the new beemer.

  5. My pet dislike is the twenty day rule which says you can not refill a script within a twenty day period.

    This was introduced because an Australian was obtaining supplies of birth control pills and selling them in the US (via the internet).

    Birth control pills are very expensive in the US (they don’t have a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)) and the drug companies there like to price gouge.

    By the way, Abbott supports drug companies (and vice versa) so dismantling the PBS is one those policies he took to the last election (you had to read the fine print). He might get around to telling us about this policy however Peter Slipper and Craig Thompson are much more salacious and entertaining topics.

    Very few of the public and none of the media are interested in government “policy” issues.

  6. I have a chronic pain condition and my pet beef is the rule change that limits the number of pain killers that I can buy at any one time to 40 pills rather than the bottles of 100 that you used to be able to buy just last year, for heavens sake there is no limit on buying paracetamol which is a sure fire killer if taken beyond the recommended dose but add a little codeine to the tablets and all of a sudden it Nanny state nirvana! Limits on quantity and name and address required!
    End of rant!

  7. That’s true, Iain, a packet of paracetamol could kill a person if taken at once yet you can would into a shop and grab a dozen packets. That’s indeed an odd situation.

  8. Miglo wrote: Yesterday, with my supply running low I returned with the prescription. Same story. Can’t get any yet as the distributor is out of stock.  Apparently the factory burnt down (wow, that’s original). They suggested I try the 500 milligram dose, as long as I didn’t mind rattling from all those tablets.

    “Fine, I’ll take them”.

    “Sorry, you’ll need a prescription from your doctor”.

    Why mention them in the first place, would have been an obvious response. Instead I humorously snarled: “Great. So I have to make an appointment with my doctor who is usually booked out for a week in advance, leave work early and sit in his waiting room for the customary two hours before parting with $75 for a prescription for medication you know I take”.

    ——–

    Migs,
    you’ve brought up an important topic.

    The same or similar things have happened to my wife and I. There’s no flexibility.

    We are driven time and time again back to the doctor to change prescriptions based on the dosage because another amount is out of stock.

    This costs the health system…

    and it puts our health at risk. Including having to sit in a doctor’s office yet again with other sick patients. How many times have all of us caught a cold or the flu from sitting in a doc’s office with other coughing patients?

    Too many times I hazard.

    Which is another problem here…why are sick patients with highly contagious illnesses not separated from others?

    Why no masks?

    It’s no wonder so many days are lost to sickness.

    Being forced to get a sick note also contributes to the problem.

    Bring on the NBN I say.

    Sick notes, prescriptions etc. from a safe distance.

    N’

  9. My mother has to trot along to the doctor’s every 6 months, rain, hail or shine for the sole purpose of receiving a repeat of her prescription – the exact same thing as the doctor has been prescribing for her for the past decade. Rarely does the doctor even examine her. What would be wrong with mailing the prescription to her and save her the tram trip, especially during Winter.

  10. Nas

    In the waiting room advice:
    forget about masks, they get wet too quick. keep handsteriliser on the ready, take your own reading material, do not touch your face with unclean hands

    On nbn, and ehealth, it reminds me, i must check about registering, our area is part of the roll out

  11. the message from the health community

    It’s ok for you to ask the doctor/nurse to wash their hands

    Seriously

  12. Min wrote: Rarely does the doctor even examine her. What would be wrong with mailing the prescription to her and save her the tram trip, especially during Winter.

    Min,
    if the doc isn’t examining her for her chronic illness and adjusting the medicine, treatment etc…then it does sound like a waste of money and time for both her and the health system.

    Bring on the NBN.

    N’

  13. Sue wrote: In the waiting room advice:
    forget about masks, they get wet too quick. keep hand steriliser on the ready, take your own reading material, do not touch your face with unclean hands

    Good points Sue.

    My wife and I take our own hand sterilising towelettes.

    However, it’s hard to avoid patients hacking away…particularly when poor wee runny-nosed children run up to you for attention.

    Sue wrote: On nbn, and ehealth, it reminds me, i must check about registering, our area is part of the roll out

    Yep,
    bring on the NBN

    N’

  14. My doctor has a separate waiting room for patients who suspect they might have the swine flu. There’s never been a case of it reported within a thousand miles of here. But the concept is good just the same.

  15. El gordo, do you ever wonder what viruses those pesky little aliens might be bringing to the planet?

    I’d encourage every abductee to seek a checkup from their local GP. 😉

  16. Bring on the NBN I say.

    Sick notes, prescriptions etc. from a safe distance.

    Excellent thought Nas’. 🙂

  17. Whatever would happen during a pandemic? I could envisage most transactions being handled over the Internet. The lodgement of dole forms, the issuing of prescriptions, supermarket shopping etc.

  18. I needed to have a cortisone injection in my wrist. Went to the local chemist to get the prescription filled. They had none and said their supplier had none. It was suggested I try other chemists, which I did. On the first attempt I managed to get some. Now, I only needed on vial but the pack had five!
    So if you’re needing some cortisone, let me know.

  19. Miglo said, “Why can’t we take a leaf out of Europe? There are some things they just do better than us.” I’ve asked, “Finance maybe?” to the primary subject, “same here, however I have a reasonable Chemist”, and I think I actually think have a betteer chance of absorbing them, instead of encapsulation and going straight through.

  20. I think Handyrab might be a bit hamstrung at the moment. I wouldn’t needle him. Although it would be good if someone could inject some good ideas about the situation.

  21. Try this piece of Kafkeresque idiocy
    $7.80 please
    How come I usually pay $5.80?
    O you have a brand named version of the drug
    O, OK give me the generic
    No sorry can’t the generic has not been produced yet
    So i am being charged extra because i am not buying something that does not yet exist?
    Yep, $7.80 please

  22. It was an ultra sound guided injection, and honestly I didn’t hear a thing. But f*ck it hurt!!!!

  23. “Sue wrote: On nbn, and ehealth, it reminds me, i must check about registering, our area is part of the roll out”

    Seems like no one here is afraid the the ehealth records will be hacked as some concerned doctors are warning us.

    Of course our records that have been in the hospital system and the doctors private computers are safe.

    I also look forward to the day, I can have this service.

    I also live somewhere where ones needs to make an appointment a week ahead. Also there is no bulk billing.

    As a result, I use two surgeries. One near my daughter’s, which bulk bill, no appointment necessary and good doctors.

    I need to have these two surgeries link up.

  24. Mr. Abbott this morning, talking about the problems of the families of middle Australia. The nanny solution again.

    He is really out there with policies, must believe he he has pulled off that election he is so desperate for.

    Slogans again. I wonder if anyone really listens. They are wasting their time, it the same thing over and over and over.

    The big lie today is that report was mainly about the time Mr. Thompson was running the union.

    Was it, I believe not. Ir was about after he left. it was not about the whole union. It was about a branch of the union, that Mr. Thompson has no connection with.

    All the problems seem to reside in the East Branch of the union.

    Mr. Abbott really getting passionate about talking down the economy.

    Is Mr. Abbott given a few slogans each night, to learn off by rote.

    He does not even managed to get them to hang together making sense.

    He puts two or three different arguments in one sentence or paragraph..

    .

  25. Well, the families of middle Australia. That says it all. I do not know where his photo op was today. ABC 24 12:27 This morning.

  26. When I was living at Billinudgel I got to know a chap by the name of Stuart. Stuart had been in a severe car accident and was brain damaged as a result. It was a 15km hike along The Pocket road just to get to the highway.

    Stuart was long term unemployed, couldn’t drive but was employable. Therefore whenever I saw him walking along the road I’ll give him a lift into Mullum or Brunswick Heads.

    The thing which was holding Stuart back from getting a job was not his disability but his rotting teeth. If I had won Lotto one of the first things that I would have done is to buy Stuart some new teeth, so that he would have a future. With this in mind, I spotted this article..

    A visit to the dentist is an unaffordable luxury for millions of Australians, and there are now a growing number of voices joining the call for the Federal Government to do something about it.

    According to the Consumers Health Forum, the waiting list for publically-funded dental care has 650,000 people on it, and many of those people are waiting for more than two years to receive care.

    The two years mentioned in the article is a conservative estimate for country folk.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-01/dental-care-disgrace-back-under-the-spotlight/3981822

  27. Make that 650 001, Min. My pain threshold is not good. I’m prepared to wait! 🙂

    CU, I would think it a good idea if Abbott STAYED in Perth. The west needs another deputy sheriff.

  28. I am surprised that you would attack the poor struggling manufacturers of red tape like this.
    They are a struggling industry, as everyone just wants to cut red tape. Recent attempts to shift their focus to green tape have come under fire from the recently elevated Campbell Newkid in Qld.
    What is the poor industry supposed to do? There has been no call for yellow, or purple tape, and since the GFC, even the blue ribbon side of the business has plummetted.
    I thought someone with your community spirit, and passion for the manufacturing sector would not want to be able to go back to their doctor for the prescription…. Not without getting a referral first. Another layer of red tape to keep the industry afloat, taking one for the team….

    Great post mate 🙂

  29. Thanks Wixxy.

    While I’m sitting here I’m thinking of ways of improving the world. 🙂

    I’m home for three days playing nurse to my ex wife. She injured herself at work – slipped disk – and is bedridden. It’s not a chore I’m willingly applying myself to.

    So I was wondering, if a person is injured at work and needs home attention, should the employer be obliged to provide a nurse? It’s an initiative both myself and my pissed-off boss would welcome.

  30. Miglo wrote: While I’m sitting here I’m thinking of ways of improving the world.

    Migs,
    got a few billion dollars? We could start up a media empire. 🙂

    Oh that’s right, going by recent media empires the world doesn’t improve…it gets dumber and more corrupt…as taxpayers money floods upwards.

    N’

  31. Sorry Nas, I’m a few billion dollars short of a few billion dollars. 😉

    Gotta wonder though, why someone worth billions is still not satisfied with their lot in life. There’s the same amount of money in the world today as there was yesterday, so if someone gains a few bucks it means someone else is losing a few bucks. If someone gains a million bucks it means a hell of a lot of people are worse off.

    If I did have that sort of money I definitely wouldn’t be a scrooge. I’d set my friends up for life and take all the Whisperers on a Pacific cruise. Would give millions to charity and bribe the Murdoch journalists to stop writing crap.

    I’d fund scholarships for Indigenous uni students and build a small medical clinic in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands.

    I’d give a lazy 100 mill to my beloved Port Adelaide Football Club (but who wouldn’t). :mrgreen:

  32. In Amsterdam you can walk into a coffee shop and buy as much marijuana as you like…

    But here in Australia you get put through the third degree if you just want some Nurofen Plus…

    It’s a disgrace!

    (Did I mention that it’s a disgrace?)

  33. Yo, reb, I’ve been there. The wiff of marijuana in the air is a fair indication you’re getting close to the red light district.

    Did you happen to see any of the post cards on sale there? Hooley dooley. That sort of stuff can only be bought in Fyshwick in our prude country.

    I don’t generally go near Fyshwick but I took my car out there this morning to get the windows tinted. I can assure you there’s nothing suspicious in my motives (Fyshwick + window tinting = suspician).

    BTW, how do you know about the red light district? :mrgreen:

  34. Miglo, if the old CES still existed, you could ring up for someone to come on for a couple of days.

    My mother when Alive, often done that. I do not know where one goes now.

    Would be cheaper than staying home yourself.

  35. Miglo wrote: Gotta wonder though, why someone worth billions is still not satisfied with their lot in life.

    Migs,
    I imagine some get paranoid…think everyone wants a piece of their action…so they get security obsessed…and start taking expensive drugs and maybe exercise regimes to deal with the anxiety…

    maybe buy a big yacht and a few mansions…and a plane…to keep moving…so few know their whereabouts…

    or perhaps create a media empire…so they can character assassinate any individual or media outlet or government that might want to tax them more or expose their dealings, accounts, tax payments.

    The more yer looking over yer shoulder…the more you feel you need to own more and more influential people…media…lawyers…

    protecting yerself and yet interests has become an obsession…the more you own and influence the more money you might earn…the more you can protect yerself from those prying eyes…

    you can even buy your family’s loyalty…and friends…and staff…

    and convince them to do your dirty work…the way to easier money…

    the way to spy on and perhaps even blackmail those with prying eyes…

    and you can sit high above the regular folk…and run yer business like a Stasi

    thinking yer untouchable

    N’

  36. “BTW, how do you know about the red light district?”

    Would you believe I just stumbled upon it all accidentally like……?

    Naturally I made a prompt and hasty exit when I realised where I was….

    I did have an interesting “slice of cake” in one of the coffee shops tho……

  37. “maybe buy a big yacht and a few mansions…and a plane…to keep moving…so few know their whereabouts..”

    So true..

    And yet they still manage to track me down…..

  38. “And yet they still manage to track me down…..”

    You’re so easy to find. Just look for the biggest boat in the Amsterdam canals. 😉

  39. I’d also buy Pip a new computer.

    And membership o a decent footy team, I hope. Tom R too.

  40. Sorry, Roswell, can’t supply dope or give you panadol for a headache. We can, however, fill you with enough booze until you become a brain dead vegetable.

    We can also get you some cortisone. And while looking at all the comments in our Spam folder I could also get you a lifetime’s supply of Viagra.

    Hmmmm. You might need the cortisone after all. 😛

    BTW, didn’t you mean ‘poultry menu’?

  41. Miglo,
    Glad you are doing your bit 🙂
    If bosses under Abbott will be paying for nannies, I reckon nurses should be covered….
    I could handle a private nurse…. damn, I work for myself, I’d get the bill 😦

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