Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Packing Overkill

One of the things that drives me nuts is shipping stuff. Not mailing stuff out, though that can be a pain, but more the way stuff gets sent to me in containers that are insanely out of proportion.

Lets take Axert. This is a migraine drug that has no drug reps. So when I need samples I have to call them, asking them to ship me some.

Last week I called for samples, and they showed up today. It comes in a blue and yellow package with 4 little tablet packages in it. But it always ships in a freaking HUGE box, surrounded by a crapload of paper, like 2-5 trees worth.

So here's a picture of the entire Axert package and the box it was shipped in. I put a Diet Coke in the picture to give you some idea of size.




Of course, the Axert people aren't the only ones guilty of this insanity. I have a patient coming in for Botox injections later this week, so I ordered a bottle. ONE dinky bottle (which is freaking $560, too). Now, I understand Botox has to be kept cold during overnight shipping, and needs some styrofoam and ice, but even still the shipping seems to be a little excessive. So here, for your perusal, is a bottle of Botox, the box it came in, and another Diet Coke.





So, now you know how many trees it takes to ship a package of Axert or bottle of Botox.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's why health care is so expensive - shipping costs!

Cal said...

I work in a research lab and we receive these humongous packages with small vial in too, it seems to be the norm. Sometimes we need to actually hunt for the whatever it is we ordered through the packaging to make sure we don't throw out the tiny stuff away in the garbage.

Tassiegal said...

You are kidding right? imagine the POSTAGE they pay, when it could be so much smaller!!

NikkiK said...

I think it's a distribution rule. As a college student I worked at a national video rental chain, where we'd regularly receive boxes twice that size with one rental DVD inside, and four hundred air pocket packs.

vicki said...

neurologists inject botox?

Anonymous said...

probably made from recycled paper anyway so i wouldn't be getting my stethoscope in a knot.

ERP said...

Holy shit. Call Green Peace!!!!! This makes at least as much sense as killing a jillion whales...

Kim Kasch said...

What a waste - but it gave you a reason to have your lovely diet coke pose for a picture ;)

RxKerBer said...

And people wonder why drugs are cost so much. I see it all the time at the pharmacy.

I got an overnight FedEx envelope from a drug company the other day that only included a letter explaining the FDA now required med guides for their drug (and included some med guides). I've know about this for months and my company (and every other large corpro pharmacy) prints them automagically when the rx is filled.


ROFLMAO...my word verify is consmen. How appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Dr G, Dr G

COKE PRODUCTS 1.88 12 PACK AT FRYS

YEAH..........

MM

Bella said...

Hahaha. When I ordered Tyrosin TU (a medication for allergen immunotherapy), the two bottles (of 2ml and 2.5ml respectively) were inside a little box, and as I am doing two treatments at the same time they were two of those boxes. The company put them in a bubble envelope about letter sized. The bottles do have to be stored in the fridge but the company said it's fine to transport it without ice etc.
I am just imagining right now getting these two boxes (with a total of four bottles) in a huge package as you did. Hahaha.

Barb said...

I guess drug companies have to spend their money somewhere.
BTW, I hope you don't buy your diet coke at Cosco!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Barb- yeah, someone else sent me that, too. I suspect it will fizzle in a few weeks.

Disgruntled RPh said...

Botox can be used to treat migraine headaches, right Dr. G? It started being used for MEDICINAL purposes before cosmetic ones. So you go ahead and use that botox, Doc.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Disgruntled RPh- Correct. Used by neurologists for cervical dystonia, blepharospasm, spasticity following stroke or head/spine trauma, migraines, and other stuff.

HeatherLynn said...

Thanks....you don't know how often I've researched this...and wondered about the shipping secrets of Botox and Axert....I can die enlightened now.

you're the best dr. G!

:)

~hl~
{www.hoscorners.blogspot.com}

xtine said...

send it to the folks at consumerist.
(tips@consumerist.com)

they have a feature dedicated to stupid shipping.

amy said...

Well, thank goodness you had some diet coke around to use for comparison pictures. What are the odds? :)

I agree, excessive packaging = FAIL.

Anonymous said...

shouldn't you have a disclaimer - "no diet cokes were harmed in the making of these photos"?


Oh, wait. that may not be true.

Don said...

I am in the process of reorganizing the shipping department at the company I work for.

I was shocked when we ran the numbers and found out how much money it costs us to stock a wide variety of boxes. (We have 14 different sizes). Just by going to 4 standard sizes, we will save about 25% on our box purchases.

We worked closely with UPS and because of the weight and size of packages we send, weight is the determining factor in our cost.

It is therefore cheaper for us to use an oversize box and use more void fill materials than it was to stock a selection of smaller boxes.

My guess, the drug companies are doing the same thing. They stock one size of box in their shipping department and that is what you get.

They may very well have a contract with UPS (or other carrier) that gives them a preferential rate because they standardized on one shipping carton size. One size helps their carrier plan better too.

It always seemed ridiculous to me too.

Pink said...

I thought you might want the head's up...Costco isn't going to carry Coke products anymore.

Outrider said...

I recycle all packaging materials by donating them to several of my clients who have e-Bay businesses. This makes me feel a little greener and they're happy, too (apparently, bubble wrap is expensive).

Mari-Ann said...

I am so happy that you attract such intelligent and entertaining readers to add to The Total Grumpy Experience. You have to admit, some of them are ALMOST as funny as you are.

Deodand said...

Don is right - I sometimes get one T-shirt in a big box (I'm an apparel buyer). Flat rate shipping is a great thing. I guarantee these companies are paying less than you think for delivery.

student dr. blaze said...

The best example of oversized shipping I've seen occurred while I was working in a Reproductive Endocrinology clinic. The UPS man came in one day with a gigantic steel container, about the size of 3 oxygen tanks put together. While the office staff stared--'WTF is this thing for?!' we wondered--UPS man gleefully announced, "Here are your boys!" It was only then that we realized the container was for a semen sample from a sperm donor that one of our lesbian couples was going to use. Talk about small things in large packages! ;-)

Disgruntled RPh said...

I just thought it was ironic that the ad before this post was for Botox, and the ad after this post is about migraines. I know you don't control the ads, but they were placed perfectly!!! HA

 
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