Getting High (Prices) On Medication

, , , , | Healthy | April 22, 2019

(I’m at the pharmacy to pick up one of my regular prescriptions. This one is about $5. After the pharmacy tech verifies my identity, the following occurs:)

Tech: “Okay, just this medication? That will be $45.”

Me: “Wait, what? It’s usually $5. Why is it so expensive?”

Tech: “Hmm, looks like we didn’t run it through your insurance.”

Me: “…”

Tech: “…”

Me: “Could you run it through my insurance?”

Tech: *surprised* “You want me to do that?”

Me: “Yes. Yes, I do.”

(I did get my medication for the right price and headed home. This was over a year ago, and I’m still baffled why asking for it to be run through my insurance was such an odd request.)

Lost The Street Drug Catalog

, , , , , | Right | April 10, 2019

(I am a pharmacist. While I’m on lunch, a customer comes up to the counter while my technician is helping another customer in the drive-thru.)

Customer: “Do you have a pharmacist working? It’s an emergency! I need to speak to her now!”

(My technician calls me back to the pharmacy. The customer sees me arrive and tries to stop me outside the pharmacy, but I make her wait until I get in the pharmacy.)

Customer: “I just bought these pills off the street, and they are supposed to be Xanax. But I looked on my phone with Google, and it said they weren’t Xanax. I need you to tell me what this is now. It’s an emergency that I know what this is.”

Me: *looking blankly* “I will not identify any medication that is purchased illegally.”

Customer: “I need to know what this is. It’s an emergency! Why won’t you tell me what it is?”

Me: “Because it was illegally purchased, and I’m not helping people purchase drugs on the street.”

(She looked at me for a few seconds and then walked off.)


, , , , | Healthy | April 9, 2019

(I take 150 mg of a seizure medication per day. It does not come in 150 mg tablets, though, so my doctor has written two prescriptions for it, one for 50 mg and one for 100 mg. I’ve been taking this dosage for over two years. I’ve used the same pharmacy the entire time. This happens one day when I go to pick up my prescription.)

Me: “Hello, I’m here to pick up my prescription.” *gives information*

New Tech: “Oh, that’s weird; I actually have two here for you. Do you take the 50- or 100-mg dose?”

Me: “I take both. My prescription is for 150 mg, and that’s the only way it can be filled.”

New Tech: “That’s not right! You can only take one or the other, not both.”

Me: “I assure you it’s correct. If you look at my records, you’ll see that the same prescription has been filled for over two years. I know most people either take one or the other, but it’s a seizure medication, so the dose can actually go up to 400 mg based on symptoms and therapeutic levels.”

(The tech continues to argue with me that I can only get one or the other because most people take either 50 mg or 100 mg, not 150 mg. I ask her to get the pharmacist. The tech goes over and tells him what’s going on. He looks up, see who it is, waves, and tells her that yes, it’s correct. She starts arguing with him that it cannot be correct. He just takes my prescription from her, walks over, and checks me out himself.)

Pharmacist: “Sorry about that. Here your prescription. I’ve added a note to your account just in case this is a problem at any point in the future.”

(The next time I came in, another new tech questioned me on which prescription I took of two again. I told her both. She told me to hold on, as there was a note on my account. She started laughing. The note read, “Don’t argue with her; the prescription is correct. Yes, it’s really both. If you’ve got a problem with it, come see me to sign off on it.”)

Can’t Face Up To The Prices

, , , , , | Right | April 7, 2019

(I work at a pharmacy in a low-income neighborhood. Our prices are fairly high compared to what our local clientele can actually afford, and most of our customers either only shop for the items on sale or take the bus up the road a few miles to a grocery store. We’ve tried to get corporate to lower our prices, but they refuse to see reason. On this day, a young man enters the store and asks for assistance locating a high-end facial soap. I help him find it and we bring it to my register to cash him out.)

Me: “All right, your total comes to $15.”

Customer: *hands me cash, six dollars less than he needs to pay*

Me: “Oh… Oops! You handed me $9. Did you mean to give me a ten instead of one of the one-dollar bills?”

Customer: “That’s all I have.” *looks at me expectantly*

Me: “Um… okay. I can hold the item here if you want to go get more money. Or we can go look for something that isn’t so expensive.”

Customer: “I don’t have any more money. That’s all I have.”

Me: “Okay, well, let’s go look at the other products. I’m sure we can find something in your price range.”

Customer: *getting agitated* “No! I want that one. I need it for my acne!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but you only have $9. The product is $15. You either need to bring me more money or find something else.”

Customer: “But I want that one.”

Me: “Then you’ll need to go home and get more money. I can hold it back here so you don’t have to find it again.”

Customer: “I already said I ain’t got more money!”

Me: “Well, then, I’m sorry, but you can’t buy this item.”


(We go back and forth for several minutes, and the customer is getting more and more angry. Eventually, I’ve had enough.)

Me: “There’s nothing more I can do for you if you can’t afford this item and don’t want anything else.”

(The young man tries to snatch the item off the counter, but I grab it first.)

Me: “Sir, you cannot have something you have not paid for. That’s stealing. Either purchase something or please leave.”

Customer: “F*** YOU!” *storms out*

(I inform my manager of the incident, including that the young man tried to grab the soap and bolt.)

Manager: *looks at product* “This isn’t even for acne! It’s for treating extremely dry skin, like psoriasis and eczema! There’s so much grease in this soap it would have made his acne worse.”

Me: “I guess it’s a good thing I was quicker than him. He probably would have used it, then tried to return it saying it wasn’t working. This isn’t the first time a customer has tried to swipe an unpaid order off the counter and run out.”

Manager: “I think we’ll start keeping unpaid purchases in the bag-well.” *the recessed area in front of the cashier that holds the plastic bags, which is out of reach of the customer*

(The young man never came back, and with our new policy of keeping unpaid transactions out of the customers’ reach, we’ve had a lot fewer attempts to grab “purchases” and run out. I hope corporate listens to us and lowers prices soon.)

A Spoonful Of Vodka Helps The Medicine Go Down

, , , | Right | March 29, 2019

(A customer comes to the counter with three boxes of different medicines. I inspect them.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’ll only be able to sell two of these to you. This one should have the same effect and this one… I would recommend putting this one back.”

Customer: “Just sell me all of them.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

Customer: *huffs* “Just put them through separately. The register should let you do it.”

Me: “No. I’m not legally allowed to sell you all three. It could be life-threatening if you take all of them at once.”

Customer: “No, it isn’t. I have a friend who mixes them all the time and chugs a load of vodka. Knocks her out for several hours. Great stuff!”

Me: “…”

Customer: “I… I shouldn’t have told you that?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “You’re refusing my service?”

Me: “I’m afraid so.”

Customer: *leaves looking utterly distraught*

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