This Pharmacist Should Seize Her Job Tighter

, , , , , | Working | November 4, 2020

I used to use a major chain pharmacy to fill my epilepsy medication. I say “used to” as this was the last of many mess-ups on their end.

I call on Monday with a refill request. I am told by the pharmacist that it will be filled Tuesday. I am happy, as I’ll be out by Thursday and I won’t have to panic.

Tuesday, I come in on my way from work to pick up the medication. 

Pharmacist: “I never told you to come today. Go home; your prescription isn’t here.”

I ask if it’ll be in by Thursday as I’ll be out, and she blows me off. I ask for a definitive answer before leaving and am told it is due to come in on Wednesday.

Wednesday, I call first. This is where things go wonky. I explain that I’m simply looking to see if my medication is ready before making the trip to them, and I am told that there are no refills on my prescription and they aren’t filling it.

When I ask why I wasn’t told either of the times I came in, and why they didn’t contact either my neurologist who ordered it, my primary doctor, or even insurance:

Pharmacist: “We don’t have to. It’s your job.”

I call my neurologist as they are the only office open that late, they push refills through, the neurologist verifies it, and I feel a bit less stressed as tomorrow is the day I will be out.

Thursday morning, I go up to the store to grab essentials and head to get my medication. [Pharmacist] is back! I ask for my medication again.

Pharmacist: “It didn’t come in. You have no refills. You’ll have to wait; I’m not in a rush to fill it. It’s not a necessary medication, anyway. If you’re that concerned, check yourself into [Local Hospital].”

At that point, my nice tone goes out the window, though I am rather civil in the response.

Me: “That medication is to prevent seizures, so yes, it is necessary, and you don’t get to decide what is and isn’t necessary for me. I do have refills; they were pushed through yesterday and verified by my neurologist while I was on the phone with him. As for not ordered, you told me Monday it would be ordered, so that’s your fault. Now, I’m out of medication and I’d like both the number to contact whoever is above you, as this is utterly ridiculous, and for you to check with the [Pharmacy] in [Nearby Town] to see if they have any, as I cannot go skipping doses. And no, I’m not checking myself into a hospital to get a prescription you should have filled by now and have bold-faced lied about.”

She glares.

Pharmacist: “I’m not giving you contact numbers; you can’t report me for this.”

Me: “I can, and I will.”

I choose to leave then, and I call my neurologist and my doctor from my cell phone.

My neurologist is stunned by the denial of refills, as his calls are all recorded. He verifies it was  [Pharmacist] he spoke to, ending the call to see what he can do about finding me contacts.

All I wanted was who he’d spoken to. Him going above and beyond that is outstanding.

My doctor tells me to call into the pharmacy and mute my end; she’ll find out where my refills are. I feel like this is probably not legal, but at this point, I don’t much care.

[Pharmacist] answers the phone with the pharmacy greeting and my doctor gives her name and information and asks about my refills, as I’d called her worried and couldn’t be without my medication. She says that a pharmacist had told me my medication wasn’t necessary and she doesn’t appreciate that one bit, nor hearing that her patient was lied to. She wants my refill number and she wants to know who to reach to contest this pharmacist.

[Pharmacist] attempts to cover her a**, sickeningly sweet as she gives the contact number and the name of another pharmacist. She explains that I have four refills and the medication is in, and insists that she knows my medication is necessary and would never say that to anyone!

I’m not sure if it is because she is fed up with the two-faced behavior or because I am on the line, but my doctor asks a question I haven’t forgotten.

Doctor: “Then why were you lying to my patient? Are you so lazy that you need to be relieved from your job, or are you simply too incompetent to do what needs to be done?”

[Pharmacist] disconnected the call at that point, but my doctor had gotten me the information I needed. I couldn’t stop laughing, because my doctor was in her seventies and looked like everyone’s grandma. The fact that I’d never seen her mad, only to hear her so, had made that day suck less.

She promised to call on my behalf, as that wasn’t the first complaint she’d heard about the pharmacist, and she’d see what could be done about my medication.

I ended up going two more days without medication, though work allowed me to stay home so I wouldn’t be a risk in the pottery shop where I worked — seizures and pottery don’t mix, after all — which was both good and bad.

During those two days, I was told by the pharmacy in phone calls that they didn’t believe my account of what happened, and if I didn’t rescind my complaint to their corporate headquarters, I could take my medication elsewhere. Then, I was emailed a customer survey on how my pharmacy visit went. I honestly filled that out, too.

I never took my complaint back, nor did my doctor. My neurologist got my medication in at a family pharmacy who did have to order it overnight it so I could have it, and I wasn’t out for longer than needed.

Occasionally, I still get emails asking if I’d like to be enrolled for [Pharmacy] and save more, and I have to shake my head.

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