I spend a large portion of my time communicating with pharmacies. Over the years I have worked with pharmacists that I respect immensely, and a few that I would prefer never to have to call again. There is also associated staff that may make things interesting. They are not as highly trained.
Most pharmacists are a wonderful source of information. They spend their whole day working with drugs and doses. They have information in their brains that it would take me forever to find. If they are out of something, they can suggest an alternative. If my patient is allergic, they can tell me what else we can use. If something has been discontinued, they can tell me what we the current drug is. They often know what your insurance will and will not cover (though not always).
Most pharmacies fill hundreds of prescriptions a day. I know everything is done to minimize errors, but they still happen. My friend, The Pharmacy Chick (http://pharmacychick.blogpharm.com/) details some of the reasons for this. You can also refer to the Frantic Pharmacist (http://franticpharmacist.blogspot.com/). Both good blogs.
I have a name that is unique in our area. My husband has a more common last name. [Nobody changed their names when we got married.] One of my sons shares his first name with several other older men in the area with his last name. Pharmacies are supposed to check birthdates if the name is similar. If necessary, they are supposed to check IDs.
So, when I go to pick up my own prescriptions or those of my family, I have had some of the following issues:
1. My husband was handed medication for another man this week. Last name same, first name the same as our son. Wrong medicine.
2. Our son’s medicine has been billed to this other man.
3. I had issues at one pharmacy when I switched my prescription over because “the doctor’s name and the patient’s name were the same”. Did they call me back to see what was going on? No. They just didn’t bother to fill the prescription until I got there. For Motrin equivalent. Sometimes it’s easier to call myself than call my doctor’s office to do this stuff. I did this because it was on the $4 list and I was switching to the generic. I checked with my Mom and Pop, and will be going back there next refill.
4. Pharmacies get very confused because the triplets have the same birthday. All three of them. They take the same antibiotic for their acne. I finally gave up and call the Mom and Pop pharmacy where I’m on a first name basis with the pharmacist. She knows me, my husband and all the kids. It makes things much easier.
5. Argued with a pharmacy technician about a generic medication when I specifically asked for brand. She said the generic is cheaper. I said I knew that, but the generic didn’t work for me. I had also had a problem with it. I now have another medical problem because of it. I have to take another medication for the rest of my life. She did not want to let me talk to the pharmacist to get my medication changed.
6. Argued with another pharmacy tech about an early refill for my autistic son’s inhaler when he was about 5. He managed to get the thing and pushed it a few extra times. I got the lecture about how expensive the medication was, etc. I tried to tell her about autistic kids, but she was having none of it. I was an irresponsible mother. This was the first and last time I got an early refill for this reason or any other. He had gotten quite the lecture when we found out what he had done.
Do you want to know which pharmacies I patronize and generally refer my patients to? Guess!