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In his interview for Mag magazine, Samo Fakin, director of the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia, said that instead of prescribing their patients 4 or 5 packages of medication, doctors prefer to prescribe 6. Why do doctors prescribe more medications than needed?

The reason is simple. In Latin it’s easier to write 6 (sex) than 4 (quattuor) or 5 (quinque).

Doctors don’t even know how to count in Latin. They have forgotten how to write 4 or 5, and therefore prescribe wrong amounts of medication. This ignorance costs taxpayers a lot of money.

This of course begs the question why they aren’t allowed to write “five” in Slovene or just as a numeral 5? This would spare them the embarrassment of not knowing how to count in Latin, and we would all pay less for health insurance.

In whose interest in counting in Latin? Probably only in the interest of pharmaceutical companies. But we won’t discuss this further. This is a marketing blog.

Is there a marketing lesson in this entry?

Of course there is! There are at least two.

Firstly. No matter what you sell – make sure that the purchase will be SIMPLE.

Keep in mind that confused customers don’t buy, confused customers put off the purchase (or perhaps never buy). Customers who don’t know something, who are embarrassed, who are not familiar with the language you use, etc. will buy less or won’t buy at all.

A very tiny thing (especially in online shopping) is enough to discourage customers from buying. Every word is important, every step in the shopping procedure is important. If you ignore all the little details, you might lose customers; you might lose sales. In short, details matter.

Secondly. I believe Samo Fakin’s statement is true. Because it can be easily tested. We just need to check how many times Latin names for numbers from one to seven appear on prescriptions. Then we compare the results with that which should appear if doctors prescribed appropriate amounts. All companies can earn more and avoid a lot of mistakes just by closely monitoring their data.

Yes, I do have a little grudge against doctors, but they obviously deserve it. It’s true though that today’s entry wouldn’t exist if they didn’t like the Latin for number sex. 🙂

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