Why all the questions?!

Ultan Molloy, MPSI, HealthWest Community Pharmacy, Ballindine this week discusses why you are asked questions when buying medication in the pharmacy.

With recent controversy and media attention regarding access to codeine containing analgesics over the counter from your pharmacy, being asked “why all the questions?” has come to the fore again for using our day to day professional service.

An interaction with a patient when I was newly qualified some years back has stayed with me to this day. I asked: “Are these for yourself?” only to be asked back, “are you going to give me the tablets or not!”. My jaw hit the floor and I could hardly finish this interaction. Why would I put myself in that position you may ask. I could have just “sold” the patient, and customer, whatever they wanted and not have been in their line of fire. Why? Well because it is my job to ensure that every customer gets the most appropriate medicine for their symptoms.

This will invariably involve asking questions. I want to ensure, as much as possible, that patients get the best medicines for their symptoms to ensure a speedy recovery. This is my job. This is why our staff are trained to do this and that is why many medicines are only available in pharmacies.

So the next time you’re looking for medicines for your illness, work together with your pharmacist, or medicines counter assistant, to ensure that you get the best medicines for your symptoms. Expect to be asked questions in your pharmacy – it’s for the good of your health!


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