Lim: The Rx issue

Melanie Lim.
Melanie Lim.File photo

Of late, it was the viral Rx issue that took over our threads. Here’s a recap for those who did not venture out of their caves this week.

A customer goes to a pharmacy to buy some maintenance medication. The pharmacist patiently explains to the customer that he cannot sell her the medication because it requires a prescription.

Instead of graciously accepting the explanation of the pharmacist, the customer attempts to cast doubt on the pharmacist’s statements. Her companion alleges they have been able to buy the same medication without a prescription at three other well-known pharmacies.

Whether this is true or not, the customer’s statements seem to gaslight and challenge the pharmacist to change his mind. But the pharmacist courageously stands his ground and refuses to sell the customer the medication.

In this age of social media, the customer chose to share this exchange on cyberspace.

I viewed the footage several times. No harsh words exchanged, though, a bit of entitlement in the tone of the customer. Some tension in the air but both parties did not become angry or verbally abusive. Both parties stood their ground but managed to remain civil while doing so.

But I do think that taking footage of the exchange constituted some form of harassment. After all, do we take footage of all our conversations? Or only the ones wherein we feel we are in the right and we are being denied our rights?

The pharmacist posed no danger to the customer. He did not behave inappropriately. There didn’t seem to be any reason to take footage of this exchange except perhaps to shame the pharmacist for being incompetent but for which he actually was not.

The pharmacist was, in fact, only following rules and regulations for which he is now being professionally and publicly lauded.

Granting that the customer was telling the truth that three other pharmacies which her companion named sold them this medication without prescription, she still did not have the right to compel this pharmacy to do the same and especially after she was clearly told that the medication needed a prescription.

Whatever the customer’s motivations were for filming the exchange, we can only speculate. But if she did so to shame the pharmacist, it sorely backfired. Now, there are tribes of digital natives out to get her.

And that’s another thing I’d like to talk about.

The customer took to social media to seemingly shame someone who was inadvertently shown in good light. I think that’s enough vindication and comeuppance. There is no need for cyberspace to be up in arms trying to trash this woman (despite her inability to cease and desist) and make grave threats on her livelihood and life.

I think our outrage is misplaced and our energy misdirected. There are so many other situations more deserving of our time, intervention as well as ire.

The Cebu Pharmacists Association has spoken. Let’s give it a rest.


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