In Weymouth, Massachusetts, for example, the nation's second largest drugstore chain has been delightfully stubborn about adapting some fancy new technology:
Walgreens does it. So do Rite Aid, Wal-Mart and small independent pharmacies.
But CVS, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the state, says it’s still unable to have pharmacists connect online to a state database that advocates say is a simple way to help stem the flow of powerful prescription painkillers such as OxyContin onto the street.
Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for Rhode Island-based CVS, said the company can’t yet have its pharmacists sign up to use the Prescription Monitoring Program because they do not have Internet access at the company’s 350 Massachusetts locations.
"Inter...what? said DeAngelis. "Is that something like Compuserve? I've been thinking about getting that."
DeAngelis added that when it comes to technology "involving those computation machines" it is important to realize that a company must have priorities that sometimes limit how quickly an organization that recently installed software to automatically calculate when a customer is due for a prescription refill and then fills the prescription can adopt a new technological innovation.
"This internet sounds intriguing" said DeAngelis. "And I'm sure once it's proven its worth as a business tool we'll give it a good hard look. It works with computers, right? And it won't interfere with how we use them to currently measure our pharmacists performance in a dozen different performance categories? And constantly generate reports that allow us to crunch loads of data to maximize our human resource paradigm efficiency algorithm? Quite honestly, from what you've told me I don't understand why we haven't adopted use of this... internet"
"Wait" he then continued after a long pause. "These so called 'problem' prescriptions this fancy internet would flag. It would stop us from filling them?"
"And....we wouldn't get paid...because we wouldn't have filled the prescription. It's not like we'd get some fancy internet money or something would we? Oh.... I totally understand why we haven't done this now"
So while most of the world marches forward into the modern electronic world, CVS is content to keep beat with its own drummer. It knows that for some of the customers it wants to serve, stopping and smelling the roses, and letting others have their gee-whiz techno-toys, can be the pathway to life's real pleasures.
And by roses I mean OxyContin. And by life's real pleasures I mean profits.