NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every Friday.

A costume for your pharmacy alter ego? I have some ideas ... | NCPA Executive Update | October 26, 2018

by NCPA | Oct 26, 2018

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

Halloween continues to grow in popularity. This year, consumers in the U.S. will spend $9 billion – about $87 per person – according to the National Retail Federation. About 40 percent of that spending goes toward costumes. A lot of people like dressing up as someone (or something) they are not.

Google's Frightgeist provides a list of the most-searched 50 costumes. According to Google, the top three costumes you are likely to see ringing your doorbell this Halloween are Fortnite, Spider-Man, and a unicorn. Pharmacist costumes are not in the Top 50 on the list, nor are any other health care providers. I guess costumes like Harley Quinn, Mickey Mouse, and Black Panther are somehow more interesting to kids and grown-up kids!

It does make me imagine what costumes, including those from the Frightgeist Top 50 list, some in the pharmacy world might choose:

Pharmacy technicians and sales associates – Super Hero (No. 7), The Incredibles (No. 14), and Angel (No. 30) are all in the Top 50 and all could be appropriate costumes for pharmacy technicians and sales associates. These team members are essential for successful pharmacies. The best at their job are Angels every day, whether they wear a costume or not.

Pharmacy delivery drivers – Rabbit (No. 9). This costume choice is self-explanatory. For the 70 percent of community pharmacies that provide same-day delivery, those safe and speedy home visitors are appreciated by patients. And in a trick-or-treat twist, there are a lot of delivery impersonators who say they will deliver prescriptions, but the trick is on the consumer when they find out that delivery might not arrive for days, isn't brought to them by a trusted pharmacy employee, and comes with a hefty charge.

PBMs – This one could fit multiple options from the Frightgeist list but Vampire (No. 24) is most fitting because they are almost exactly in the middle of the costume list, a fitting place for the quintessential middleman. Oh yeah, there are also the blood-sucking and lurking-in-the-shadows traits too.

Wholesalers – Stork, The Flash, or Sonic the Hedgehog are not on the list, but all make sense for your wholesaler. If you think about it, thousands of dollars of new inventory showing up at your doorstep every day – often within a few business hours of ordering and usually with very few glitches – is pretty amazing. Not quite traveling at the speed of light, but close.

Pharmacy owners – Wonder Woman (No. 12) and Batman (No. 20) are two of the super heroes on the list, but red cape-wearing inhabitants from planet Krypton didn't make the Frightgeist list. Community pharmacy owners often find themselves in the role of super men and women playing the unassuming Clark Kent, but ready to save the day to help consumers when it looks like all hope is lost.

Wednesday night, I will be making the neighborhood rounds with my youngest son (who has been putting on his Halloween costume daily since September). Even if you're not wearing a costume, you may be interacting with characters who could have come from the Frightgeist list.

Doug Hoey