Shock at the Pharmacy Drive Up Window
By Dr Jim Rybacki
August 17, 2018
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After lunch I stopped at a large Pharmacy chain to hand in 2 written prescriptions and to ask for a refill on one of the other prescriptions that my doctor had just called in. Three prescriptions, nothing unusual. (little did I know, something was fishy).

At the end of a long day, I returned to the Pharmacy. The tech brought out a very large bag. I joked, "Rather large for 3 small prescriptions." She looked perplexed. "Sir, there are eight." While I had specifically asked that 3 prescriptions get filled, the entire group of medicines that I did not need had been dutifully counted and filled. Their time was wasted, my time was wasted and I assume they had to throw away the vials. You should have seen the line behind me at the drive-up.

Rework in healthcare adds to the burden already placed on often minized staff. What can you do?

At the very least:

1) Always check any new or refill prescriptions that you pick up. Check the number of bottles, names on the bottles and if the amount in the bottle looks like what you got last time.

2) If you are getting a new prescription, ask your Doc if they have a descritpion of the new med. Some offices do have programs that show what the pill should look like. This gives you a chance to make sure everyone got it right.

3) Speak up. If there is something that looks unusual, if the numbers look wrong or the pill has changed color or size or imprint, speak up.

Errors can happen with any prescription. It happened to me and even though I wrote the Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs. The pills didn't know. Someone in the pharmacy filled all of the prescriptions that had been electronically sent in from my Doc's office even though I spoke to a human and specifically explained what I wanted.

When I got to my office and looked at the receipts, I saw that my insurance covered NOTHING on the cost of one of my new medicines.

Let's add another "at the very least"

4) Check the receipt to see if your insurance paid any of the expense of the medicine. If not, ask then and there why it wasn't covered.

Tomorrow, I will make a phone call to the Pharmacy to see if they can help my understand what happened and then to my Insurance company to see why they felt they should not help with the expense. More to follow once I have some discussions, but please remember, errors can happen to anyone.

Real world, real medicine, really important. Take a few extra minutes when you pick up a prescription! 

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