By Frank Chung
Why does it take so long to get a script at the chemist?
After being informed of a 15-minute wait on Tuesday, Kristie Mercer from KiisFM's Thinkergirls took to Facebook to pose the question, describing it as a "big mystery" and "like the seventh wonder of the world".
"Just at the chemist waiting for a script," she said in the video, which was viewed more than 60,000 times and has since been taken down. "I have to entertain myself because there's a 15-minute wait on getting a script. What the f***? Like, I'm sorry, what is the hold up on the process? You hand over your prescription and they're like, 'Sure, there'll be a 15-minute wait, here's your little buzzer and we'll be with you in 15.'
"Like, what is happening? I can see the medicine behind you, it's like two metres away. Just grab it off the shelf and press print on the old sticker printer, slap it on and away we go. Is there some kind of magical process that's taking place back there? Because I'm very intrigued as to why it takes so long.
"My theory is that they want you to walk around and buy lots of things which of course I will do. Because who doesn't need 16 types of fake tan extra dark mousse. Well you don't, but of course when you're waiting here for 15 minutes you think, I may as well make the most of my time, you know?"
The video sparked an immediate backlash, with pharmacists and doctors piling into the comments.
"It's the whole making sure the medication doesn't kill you that takes a bit of time," pharmacy assistant Litty Maloney wrote. "That and the fact that, believe it or not, you aren't actually the most important person in the world - sorry to break it to you."
Chemist Warehouse pharmacist Kim Ngoc Nguyen said Mercer had "no idea what we pharmacists have to do". "[Of course] the 15-minute wait could be because of other people waiting before you but the medicines on the shelves can't just be slapped a label on and handed out straight away," he wrote.
"We have to pick up the script, check the name, Medicare card number to make sure it's the right profile, check medication history to see it there's drug interaction and your medication is safe to use for your condition etc. That's the magical process you called. And we went to uni for five years to make that process happen."
Nam Tran said "as a pharmacist this is very unfortunate to hear".
"It's loud ignorant voices like this that unfortunately changes the perception of pharmacists and pharmacy as a profession," he wrote. "There is a reason why pharmacy is a recognised university degree, with a minimum of four [years] plus one year intern year as well as needing to pass a Pharmacy Board exam to be able to register as a pharmacist.
"'Slapping a sticker on it' completely undermines the roles and responsibilities we have as pharmacists to provide a duty of care to every single person that walks through our doors.
"We need to not only review dosages, interactions and contraindications etc. regardless if they are just 'right behind us on the shelf' or not."
Dr Pamela Boekel from Ballarat Base Hospital described it as a "really unfair and ignorant view to have".
"Pharmacists have a really vital role in essentially preventing doctors from making mistakes that could kill people," she told news.com.au.
"To err is to be human, and doctors aren't immune. We make mistakes and it can have dire consequences. Pharmacists do the double-checking [of things like] medication interactions, allergies we missed."
Dr Boekel said she had often seen pharmacists pick up mistakes. "Absolutely, it happens all the time," she said.
"They check every single patient's medication chart, access pharmacy records. It's not as simple as picking up a box from a shelf and sticking a sticker on it. Pharmacists are highly trained individuals. They're not being slow to get people to buy more from their stores."
This article was first published on news.com.au.