Walked to the pharmacist counter in the back, past fragrant bags of potpourri and tantalizing boxes of dark chocolates, all the while steeling myself for yet another confrontational moment with a cranky pharmacist. My opinion of pharmacists had dropped considerably since signing on with Prospect Pharmaceutical, makers of worthless me-too cough and cold meds.
The store wasn’t too busy and I approached the elderly lady at the counter. She looked up with a kindly smile and I felt a glimmer of hope.Can I help you, young man? she asked.
Could I speak to your pharmacist, please? I said, handing a business card with a slightly trembling hand. I was praying she didn’t notice as she turned and placed the card on the counter in front of the pharmacist but I suspect she did.Mike, she said brightly, you have a handsome young man who needs to speak with you please. She looked back at me and winked.
Mike Angelo grunted and looked up from counting pills, his hair, even then, prematurely gray and standing almost on end. He fixed me with his black eyes over the rims of his bifocals before peering at my card.Whatcha pushin’, Mr. John Callaway of Prospect Pharmaceuticals? he asked, flipping the card over and examining the back.
I went into my well rehearsed spiel about being new in the area, representing a respectable pharmaceutical company out of Illinois that was expanding in the South carrying a line of ethical pharmaceuticals, blah blah blah. I knew the presentation by rote and noted with a growing sense of unease that it sounded horribly canned. Mike listened patiently and must have noticed the tremor in my voice because he smiled and told me to step behind the counter.I was just about to take a break and drink a Coke. You want one?
I nodded and stood there dumbly, my feet rooted to the ground. This certainly had never happened and my throat certainly was dry. He disappeared into the back and reappeared with two Pepsi’s in hand. In the South, Coke is a generic term; it can mean anything from the Real Thing to a root beer to a Sprite. He offered one to me and motioned to one of the stools pushed under the counter, where I cautiously sat and took a welcome drink.So John, let’s have a look at these products.
I handed him another product specification sheet and he slowly perused the contents. I waited patiently, trying not to slurp my Pepsi. He looked up after a couple minutes. John, you’ve got some pretty decent products here. The formulations are nothing new but they’re effective www.thestumponline.com/ and you look like you’ve got’em priced right. In fact… he murmured, tracing down the list with one sausage-sized index finger, …you’re more than competitive. He tapped his finger on the counter and removed his glasses. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. Which ones are you going to detail first?Probably the three allergy meds since ragweed season is just around the corner, I blurted out, sensing progress.
Any of’em on Medicaid?They’re all covered on Arkansas Medicaid.He nodded appreciatively and continued down the list. To have your products on Medicaid was akin to striking oil or discovering gold on your property – not exactly necessary but it made your life much easier. I’ll put in a pint of each of these liquids for you and one of the bottles of the long-acting caplets. He looked up. How’s that?
I nodded my head furiously and smiled what must have been a goofy smile because Mike grinned. Can I keep this list?Yes sir, of course, I replied. It’s yours.