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“These Meds Make Me Feel Funny. Better Give Them To Someone Else!”

, , , | Healthy | October 25, 2022

We had a customer come in with two vials of ibuprofen tablets, and she asked to speak to the pharmacist. She refused to say anything to me (a tech) about what was going on besides “these pills are wrong,” but luckily for her, it was a slow night and the pharmacist was available. Since our space is very small, I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.

Customer: “I’ve been taking this 800-mg dosage for over ten years. This last batch you gave me made me feel funny. I gave some to my husband and my cousin, and they agreed it made them feel funny, too!”

At this point, my jaw had dropped and I hid behind my computer screen. The pharmacist was staring at her.

Customer: “My cousin takes the same strength ibuprofen but uses [Other Chain], so she’d know. [Other Chain]’s pharmacist told her that the manufacturer of her pills had experimented with adding hydrocodone to ibuprofen. She immediately informed me about it. So, you guys gave me hydrocodone ibuprofen!”

This was one of our pharmacist’s last days on the job, as he was retiring, so I think he was a little more willing to just openly stare at this woman, and I can’t say I blame him. To appease the customers worry — as she was not aggressive or upset, just very convinced that she’d just been given hydrocodone — the pharmacist and I looked up this information, as well as her NDC (National Drug Code). Not only was this not the NDC that had said experiment, but said experiment was also definitely not released to consumers without their knowledge or consent. 

The customer went back and forth with the pharmacist, insisting that we give her an exchange for the “IP377 ones!” Those had been discontinued. We knew she wasn’t searching for free pills as she had the drug disposal bin drawer open, about to throw the old ones in so she could get her “normal ibuprofens”. 

Forty-five minutes later, the customer realized that the pills looked (and apparently felt?) different because she had picked them up from [Other Chain] while on vacation. With a quick thanks, she went off, presumably to demand that [Other Chain] exchange her hydrocodone pills.

I don’t think any of my coworkers believe me when I tell this story, and I can’t blame them. Imagine! Free hydrocodone!

Props to the lady, though; she stepped out of the way for any customers that came by and was never rude or insistent to me or the pharmacist. I’d rather have this very strange complaint from this type of person rather than an easy case with a rude customer!

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