How much?!

It just shouldn’t be hard to get a refill on the medicines I’m taking:

  • phone the pharmacy to refill prescriptions
  • show up the next day to pick up refills
  • pay

Simple, right?

Note that this is about my old pharmacy, not the new one.  For quite a while the pharmacy had been having difficulties, which is why I never trust the pharmacy, and sometimes I hate my pharmacy.  Between the distance and the frustrations I had dealing with them, I’ve wanted to switch for quite a while.  Almost every month I’d come home and write another rant about what had gone wrong – but usually leave it in my draft folder.

Once I phoned on a Monday morning, spent ten minutes punching prescription numbers into the automated system, and expected things to be ready the following day.  There was certainly no reason that my refills shouldn’t have been ready, but none of my medicine was ready when I attempted to get my order on Thursday.  None of them!  The pharmacist was as puzzled as I was; the order was there, it just hadn’t been filled.  They were out of one of the meds, so the tech had decided not to fill anything (and not make sure the missing med was ordered, and not notify me, either).  I had to drive an extra fifty miles the following day to try again (after calling first).

The next month I phoned to verify that my meds were ready before making the drive to town.  I try not to bother them with phone calls because I know they’re busy, but they kinda brought it on themselves.  Good thing I called, too, because they were still waiting for the refill approval from my rheumy.  How enlightening, when I phoned the doctor’s office, to discover that the approval had been done a couple days earlier.  It wasn’t a case of the pharmacy’s word against the doctor’s office.  After faxing back to the pharmacy, the nurse followed their office policy and filed the fax confirmation in my chart (apparently some pharmacies have a reputation).  I’m sure (from reading pharmacy blogs) that sometimes the doctor’s office doesn’t get back to the pharmacy in a timely manner, but not this time.  The screw-up was entirely on the pharmacy’s end.

Then there was the time my husband agreed to save me the driving and stopped at the pharmacy for me when he was in town.  He’d gone to the pharmacy for me once before and they overcharged him, so I sent him a very clear list:

Image his surprise when the total rang up at $102!  They hadn’t run the Enbrel card (it seems to depend on which tech is working whether or not that gets done).  They fixed the Enbrel, but nothing else. Rather than figure out why it cost so much (since it had already taken too long), my husband paid $45 for something that should have cost $5. 

That is highway robbery.  My lowest drug co-pay is $10.  The only time a prescription costs me less than $10 is if the drug costs the pharmacy less than $10 and they can still turn a profit charging less.  According to the pharmacy, the insurance company, and the plan administrator, the pharmacy is still entitled to the full $10, but they have the option of passing the savings along to patients.  This means, unless I’ve completely lost my mind (and it’s not mtx day, so I don’t think so), that the pharmacy can make a profit by charging $5.10 for feldene, but they gouge an extra $40 out of people who don’t have insurance.

 If we ever lose our insurance, you can bet I’ll be shopping around for my meds based on price!

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I learned later that it was one day too early for one of the refills – on the day I phoned, not the day it was picked it up!