How to Become a Pharm Tech and Die like A Pharm Tech

Photo by Martin Shreder on Unsplash

Wow! Haha! How to become a pharm tech? And die like a pharm tech. Pharmacy is the most trusted profession and this happens all the time. Most students take pharmacy at college for purposes of surviving in the job industry. They missed campus and now they want to make a difference in their lives, studying about medicine. This comes with the hopes that they will be able to advance their studies and become something. Getting accepted in a medical college is usually tough because the number of applicants is most of the time high. KMTC accepts something close to a mean grade B. That grade can get someone a good course at the universities but due to various reasons, individuals choose to do pharmacy. One of the primary reasons is that they come from poor family backgrounds which cannot afford a university education. So they choose pharmacy because it is cheaper (although cheaper is relative maybe I should have said affordable) and they are assured of a job once they have finished because the market has high demand too. They also hope to make a dime and further their studies but forgetting they have a family that is supporting them and they will need to take care of once they land a nice job.

Pharmacy itself at the college level is tough too; most people struggle and only a few manage to graduate. Perhaps that’s why KMTC decided to introduce a double intake and many more colleges are doing the same. Finally, they graduate and get jobs, life begins. Paycheque to paycheque becomes the routine with which is used to chase bills; rent, food, transport 365 days a year. At least you have a job and you are healthy what other people don’t have. Sometimes you help people who can’t afford to see a doctor cross-prescribing. They save money and time they are happy but what about you? The salary you are getting insufficient, although salary is never enough-but for this case it is insufficient. It will take years of saving before you can actually save something to pay for your education to advance to the next level. Your salary only increases with inflation.

By the time you even start thinking of saving you are already approaching the third floor. Years move very fast like they always do. You start thinking of marriage. Marriage with its responsibilities you are left to choose between your profession and family. Some people try tu small biashara on the side, but what does that change? You are still a pharm tech. At this time you are needed fully everywhere while your profession enthusiasm starts declining. If you are working in the same organization for several years you begin leaving most of the work to junior staff, fresh from college. Or to some they start switching jobs with hopes of increasing their paycheque, they may also work several jobs to make ends meet. I mean people know you are a “pharmacist” which you are of course since you have equivalent many years of experience.

An ideal pharm techs life cycle is usually, college-internship-job-another job-pharmacy superintendent-open own pharmacy/start biz-Work for an NGO-retire (and work for God knows what). Opening a pharmacy most of the time follows with becoming broke probably due to fixed capital, poor business or theft from employees. The most mistake pharmaceutical practitioners do is employing someone to work for them while they work somewhere else. Pharmacy business like any other businesses needs close attention and dedication. But that is not usually the case, people open pharmacies just because they want to open, there is a lot to consider before opening any. It turns out that such pharmacies don’t make any much considerable income and most guys don’t quit their primary jobs because they are scared they might not make much out of the business to pay their bills. They stick around hoping for the business to pick up until it finally crumbles down on them.

I have always hoped folks going for pharmacy degree courses would stand out, they still fail. Pharmacy is not like the music industry where you can become super rich in your 20s unless you are inheriting a family business; it takes time with several challenges. It is sad that people put in so much only to be disappointed. Right now graduates as pharmacists don’t know exactly what to do because the people they consider as role models have failed both in the community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy. Most pharmacists end up getting employment in public hospitals, the pay is still less but far much better than a pharm tech. So graduates run most of these public hospitals but we still have poor service with no drugs, what does that mean? We understand what they go through because of public hospital dynamics and all that although there is a lot that needs to be done that is more than a paycheque. But going for a degree and coming back to such a mess doesn’t change anything about you being a pharm tech.

That is why most pharmacists don’t practice. With a few paychecks, they quit pursuing other things. That’s wasted brains, you might as well think. But they just want to distance themselves competing with people with less education. That’s why the pharmaceutical industry is somehow controlled by the pharm techs. In the real sense, they are being controlled. Most of the big faces behind the pharmaceutical industry even don’t have medical backgrounds. They are just successful business people using pharmaceutical practitioners to achieve their goals. They pay them less. And that is how to become a pharm tech and die like a pharm tech. Phew!

Nothing to Dispense

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nothing to dispense

So today I am here thinking of writing about nothing. I am tired of reading these prescriptions; they are not making sense anymore. I have never been in this state of thought before. Today I am clueless af, let me put that ink on paper, then type it later. I must be high on something, Ooh and those prescriptions are goanna fill themselves.

Being in an empty thought of action is equivalent to being in an unlimited longer duration of happiness. Moreover, it is unpaid for, essentially it is having a lifetime free plan with no monthly or whatever subscription. Lately everyone is willing to pay for anything that has a prolonged duration of action, yes nice and slow release and of course beneficial. To some up that all long paragraph in one sentence effectiveness is key. What else do you need other than pleasure lasting longer?

The third paragraph is typically the climax, ooh yeah so I could do this. I have done this and the feeling is amazing. As this is sinking in, it is not about time I am dropping my pen, wait for another day to do what again if I am not going to finish this now. Imagine doing this without being on any prescription from a GP… what if I was on prescription huh! Alternatively, probably on an OTC syrup maximum dose doubled in one take. Shit can be amazing in any way you want it to be.

So once again, well I mean as we are cooling this down without water or a non-alcoholic soft beverage, let us not forget we are just passing time. Let nobody tell you that you need to calm down while you have no idea why you are supposed to calm down. Being on a fast onset of action and short duration of action should not worry anyone like we just did in less than 10 minutes.

Nairobi Pharmacy Internships, Be Ready!

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash
Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Proper internship is foundation to building an individual’s future career. The best place to get your pharmacy internship is either community pharmacy within the Nairobi CBD or a hospital setting. Kenyan campuses and institutions providing pharmacy training recommend a student goes through industry, community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy. Most big pharmacies stock almost all the drugs you need to be familiar with, moreover there is a wide range of clients ideal to your learning experience. Most of the time you will realize you have learned a lot in class but it is pretty difficult for you to apply the knowledge that you have gained in the course of your study in real life.

In a hospital setting you will gain experience from different departments. A good hospital has the main pharmacy with sub-pharmacies. With routine CMEs and ward rounds you will learn more.

You will actually find out dispensing is an art that needs to be natured slow by slow with time. The best ideal duration for internship should be at least three months if you are serious and yearning to learn. Most medical students will take internship as a routine experience that is required by their faculty only to be shocked in their first job that they have a lot to catch up.

Most employers prefer someone with real experience and without that, it will be obvious the moment you fill your first prescription because a multitude of avoidable errors will be seen. These errors could lead to accusations which probably may affect your working experience and esteem.

Here is a list with shorts notes to guide you as you continue with your internship. The notes will help much if you are working in a community pharmacy but can also apply elsewhere.

Tip: Master the basics, we begin with;

PAIN KILLERS

There is a lot you need to know when you are starting out your internship. First of all you don’t need to know everything, what you have learned in class also may be applied at a very low percentage. The number one thing you need to be familiar about is the pain killers available. Mostly in class you are taught about the generic names but for the practical case you will need to know both the brand name and the active ingredient. You should be able to differentiate over the counter analgesics and prescription only pain relievers, and why they are given on prescription only.

Most common painkillers are ibuprofen, paracetamol, aspirin, diclofenac. Because you will encounter them many times in the pharmacy see notes below on poisoning and overdosing.

Aspirin

Key features of salicylate poisoning are hyperventilation, tinnitus, deafness, vasodilation and sweating. Activated charcoal can be given within one hour of ingesting more than 125mg/kg of aspirin.

Ibuprofen

Over dosage with ibuprofen may cause nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain and tinnitus, but more serious toxicity is very uncommon. Activated charcoal followed by symptomatic measures are indicated if more than 400mg/kg has been ingested within the preceding hour.

Paracetamol

Nausea and vomiting, the only features of poisoning, usually settle within 24 hours. Persistence beyond this time, often associated with the onset of right subcostal pain and tenderness, usually indicates development of hepatic necrosis.

Therefore despite lack of significant early symptoms, patients who have taken an overdose of paracetamol should be transferred to hospital urgently. Activated charcoal should be considered if paracetamol in excess of 150mg/kg or 12gms whichever is smaller, is thought to have been ingested within the previous hour. Acetyl cysteine protects the liver if infused within 24 hours of ingesting paracetamol. Effective if given within 8 hours of ingestion, after which effectiveness declines sharply. Methiomine by mouth is an alternative only if acetyl cysteine cannot be given promptly.

CREAMS

Know what creams sell more , most clients will walk in with a skin rash, swelling or just a simple skin condition and you should be in a position to recommend something safe and effective. Learn what the active ingredients are and what to substitute in case you get an open prescription and the brand you have in mind is not available. You might fail to fill a prescription saying the item is not available and yet you have it.

ANTACIDS

Patients will walk into the chemist with stomach conditions, this is a community pharmacy therefore you need to get the right diagnosis before you dispense something over the counter. You may need to refer the patient but is it necessary? Maybe it is just a heartburn or indigestion and you already know what to give

DRUGS MEANT FOR LONG TERM TREATMENT.

This category is a prescription only medicines and you need to be careful dispensing and most importantly be accurate as much as possible you will have no excuses for errors med. You will need to understand why antidepressants are kept under lock and key and know which ones are frequently abused to avoid fake prescriptions or filling expired prescriptions.

COUGH SYRUPS

Most pharmacists will ask if the cough is dry or productive. As an intern you will be required to be familiar with the active ingredient of common cough syrups. This will help decide which cough syrup to give someone with a dry cough or chesty cough.

Note that most of the cough syrups are not recommended in pregnancy and children below the age of two years. Some cough syrups may affect blood glucose levels of someone diabetic so you have to be cautious with what you are giving.

EYE DROPS

It is not recommended to give an eye drop over the counter unless you are very sure what you are prescribing to the client is right. You will need to know the most commonly prescribed eye drops by physicians with their active ingredient.

Eye drops are generally instilled into the pocket formed by pulling down the lower eyelid and keeping the eye closed for as long as possible after application; one drop is all that is needed. A small amount of eye ointment is applied similarly.

When two different eye-drop preparations are used at the same time of day, dilution and overflow may occur when one immediately follows the other. The patient should therefore leave an interval of at least five minutes between the two.

ANTIBIOTICS

You will notice amoxicillin is the most prescribed antibiotic molecule in Kenya. Most antibiotics will be prescriptions from prescribers, all you need to know is the side effects and whether they are to be taken before or after meals and why.

ANTIFUNGALS

A basic pharmacy setting will always have griseofulvin as the SI unit, you will find itraconazole, fluconazole terbinafine etc basically know the indications for the same.

PESSARIES

Clotrimazole is prescribed the most. Know the brands available and the correct way of using the pessaries. That awkward client might bust you before you confirm anything they are on you. So be ready and learn how to explain to the with a proper language.

Here is (5) Five Easy Ways that Can Help Prevent Stock Loss in the Pharmacy

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Most pharmacies have closed business because of not managing well their stock. Stock loses can occur due to theft by staff, poor receiving, selling and not charging the client or through expired medicines. Being able to reduce some of these loses and common errors can help prevent stock loss and eventually helping a pharmacy grow especially a community pharmacy. Here are a few ways that can help prevent stock loss either in a pharmacy business or in any other business.

Do stock-take frequently

Most pharmacies do stock take once or twice a year but that seems to be inadequate. If that can be done daily, it would be better. Doing stock take every two weeks for a busy store saves stock loss big time. If you are unable to do it every two weeks, do it at least once a month.

Avoid expiries

Ensure you are selling drugs on FIFO basis that is first in first out. Don’t sell new stock leaving old stock to expire on the shelves. Make sure the arrangement is made in such a way that medication that will expire early is sold first. Don’t receive medication that is about to expire if you are not going to sell immediately.

Pay for an inventory system

A stock control and financial management system can help in checking the stock movement. You will be able to tell what you have used and what is remaining so that you are able to place an order without overstocking or missing an item out. The software assists also when paying your suppliers. There are so many software in the market the most popular one being Phamacore by Corebase.

Manage your shorts and excesses appropriately

In any pharmacy business, you are likely to encounter variances in a busy set up. It is either a loss or excess. How you handle your shorts* and excesses matters a lot to your business. Excess cash that is not possible to account for should be kept aside, this could be an item someone forgot to post and they cannot remember. The cash can later be used when posting items into your inventory that will be missing after a weekly or monthly random stock take.

Have a proper ordering and Receiving system

Receiving should be done in a specific area, every item counter checked with the delivery invoice. Unless an item is fast moving, do not receive medications with short expiries. Receiving can be done by the person who placed the order, or by counter checking with the purchase order. Writing down expiries on the invoice as you receive can help scrutinize each and every item ensuring no expired drugs are received and the right quantities are delivered.

10 Things That Happened in 2018 we are Soon Forgetting About


Photo by Julie Tupas on Unsplash

Finally am posting something in 2019! I wanted to post this a.s.a.p. so that I concentrate on other things as we kick off the year but unfortunately that did not happen. There is a lot I missed to write about that I think I should have at least written something about. I came up with this list as a reminder on some of the things that I missed and which certainly might shape up 2019.  It is not a regular post but I am excited it is somehow going to act like a reference point to some of the things that might come up in 2019 and the future. At some point I wanted to add links, but then I all of a sudden changed my mind.

Codeine based cough syrups moved from OTC to Rx raising the street value of benylin with codeine; addicts were left with no supplies as the PPB continues to tighten its belt.

The PPB improves its website to see pharmaceutical practitioners access most of their manual paper work through a fast developed portal.

GPL opens more pharmacies expanding its chain pharmacy to a dozen more stores in Nairobi and upcountry, also becomes the first pharmacy in Kenya to pull a TV ad.

2018 came to an end with a stimulating debate when it emerged that researchers in China had created the world’s first CRISPR gene edited babies.

What’s the benefit of the internet with frequent cyber bullying? In May 2018 the government of Kenya signed into law the Computer and Cyber Crime Act into law.

Mental health becomes a serious topic of discussion on social media.

KNH amazes everyone after a baby is stolen from the hospital only a day later to be found in Kawagware after news of the loss went viral.

Nairobi governor Mike sonko gives Pumwani hospital an impromptu visit then finds 12 dead babies hidden at hospital, this gave everyone divided views about the quality of treatment in the hospital.

Marie stops Kenya controversial ad leaves Kenyans with no words to say. The ad was about “helping” a pregnant young woman take care of an unplanned pregnancy. No one knew what exactly they meant by helping but at the end of the day the Kenya films and classification board so it pulled down.

Medics east Africa changed their tradition location from Oshwal Centre to KICC due to unavoidable circumstances which turned out to be a more convenient location for visitors although the number of exhibitors has since reduced compared to previous medical shows.

How To Bargain In The Pharmacy

“You are very expensive, by the way you are too expensive” regardless of the pharmacy most customers will always say the prices are high. So many customers if not all think that by saying another pharmacy is selling the same medicines at a cheaper price is the most effective way of forcing a pharmacy to lowering their price. Surprisingly they always manage to convince the person selling the medicines, but let us agree to one thing Kenyans can really bargain! Funny thing, a person will argue the price of a certain item is very high while they have never purchased it before, to the extent of claiming, a given pharmacy had quoted a lower figure and as matter of fact that pharmacy doesn’t even have the item they are taking about. No business is immune to this either, this happens everywhere.

I have come to think of it; that most people prefer paying more to something that gives them more pleasure irrespective of whether they are being overcharged or no. So much energy is used to bargain to the last shilling, energy that could have been useful elsewhere. Sometimes it is even hard to tell whether the price you are being charged is the actual price or price after discount. Most business people raise prices to some random figure so that they have bargaining allowance to the actual price that they are supposed to charge.

Knowing when to bargain and when not to bargain is an art most clients have never felt the interest to nature. Don’t bargain just because you want to bargain, some customers bargain too much to the extent that they irritate the person selling medication for no apparent reason. Imagine serving five customers and all of them don’t agree with you on price, so instead of concentrating on how the medicine works and the vital information that is meant to be passed to the patient most of the time is consumed on bargaining. It is disturbing that a customer can bargain for like 30 minutes just because they want to save 20 shillings. Worse of it all they act shocked when they are told they are supposed to avoid alcohol for a few days. You don’t want to pay for medicine that is less than what you spend on alcohol but still insist you can’t do without alcohol, so you can afford alcohol but can’t afford medicines to treat yourself.

But bargaining is good, you save get to save money that you could have lost if you kept quiet. Especially when a prescription is going for three or more months so much is saved at the end of it all. Comparing prices in one or two pharmacies can help make a wise decision. Asking your pharmacy nicely if the prices could be lower or whether they have discounts is a decent way of making a prescription cheaper. Most guys go with their “full chests” demanding for discounts end up spending even more because of being arrogant.