Pharmacists Are Not Just Mere Sellers

Our former Intern at AudibleRx, Luka, is now a professional pharmacist practicing in London.  We have the good fortune of hearing from Luka now and again.  Here is a guest blog Luka submitted the other day expressing his views on medication counseling.

It was a nice day. Windy with some sunny spells, nice 21 degrees C which translates into 70 degrees F. After living in UK for 5 months, I am well accustomed to this kind of weather. I decided to check my Facebook page to see what is going on around the world and with the people I hold dear and whom I left behind in my home country. In one of many posts loaded into my news feed, I discovered that a brand new machine which is able to dispense popular consumer products had been installed in Ljubljana recently. There is a progress to be seen in my country after all! Anyway, I decided to read the comments as they are a good reflection of what people think. Surprisingly, I discovered that they reflect people’s ignorance as well.

There was a specific comment which caught my attention: “O krasno - ta avtomat se zagotovo ne bo ob vsakem mojem nakupu "vsiljivo posvetoval" z mano tako kot se vsakič prodajalka v lekarni.” This can be roughly translated as “Oh great - this machine will for sure not “intrusively consult”  me like a salesperson does in a pharmacy every time.”

Let me express that I, as a pharmacist, am deeply offended by this word. Sellers. I am sorry but we underwent extensive educational programme and trainings to be able to handle, consult and serve patients and consumers the best and most efficient way possible. Of course I do not take this personally. I still believe that the problem is lack of proper education. Since I like educating people, this represents a challenge which I will try to overcome.

It is a fact that pharmacists are not just mere sellers. Employees who work in a pharmacy are Masters or Doctors of Pharmacy and Pharmacy Technicians. You can refer to us as a pharmacist too. We will not be offended if you left out Master or Doctor (at least I would not be). Yes, you are right, of course we do sell stuff but please do not refer to us as sellers. Our purpose is so much more than just selling.

Have you ever asked yourself why a pharmacist “bothers” you with all those questions or have you ever thought of why such long queues in pharmacies? We want to know if there is anything which might interfere with you medications. We try to understand why you you need medications you have bought as there might be an underlying health problem. We want to make sure you know how to use your medications properly.

If you do not want to speak to us, that is perfectly fine, you can easily decline counselling. We do not force you into anything. However, I strongly advise you to listen to your pharmacist as they know the medications you have just received. They will be able to give you the best advice on how to use your newly prescribed medications to achieve the best possible outcome.

I like to say that I cannot be taken aback by anything as I  like to think that I know how things are nowadays. Yet, everyday situations (like this one) continue to prove me how wrong I am. This is partially great as I love to educate people on things I am passionate about. Being a pharmacist is one of them. So please, the next time when you go fill your prescriptions or just get anything else from the pharmacy, remember that we are not just mere sellers. We are so much more and we are here for you.

 Thanks Luka!

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