Friday, January 26, 2007

An Important Rx for the Pharmacy

I had a prescription that needed a refill this week, so I called the pharmacy and ordered it through voice-mail.

I picked it up Wednesday afternoon, along with a few other items. When I got home and opened the bag, I saw immediately that the pills I had been given were not the ones I ordered; at least, they didn't look like what I had been taking for a while. I read the medical information inserts, and the medication was definitely not something I needed.

I called the pharmacy and was first told that I might have been given a generic substitute, but she would let me speak to a pharmacist. The pharmacist admitted that their computer had messed up at least two voice-mail prescriptions that day. They requested that I return the pills and if I did so, they would give me a $20 gift card for my trouble.

Not being one to turn down a serendipitous offer (and needing my pills) - I returned those, got mine in return and they did indeed give me a gift card. Also, they didn't charge me the extra cost difference between the mistake Rx and my Rx. I think they were running scared, don't you?

Imagine if I had not noticed that the pills were different, and instead of medication for arthritis, I took pills for seizures. What if I had taken them - and they were contraindicated with my other medications. The pharmacy would have been in BIG trouble. However, I realize mistakes can happen and no harm came to me because of their mistake.

Here's the important part:

Whenever you pick up a prescription from a pharmacy, LOOK at it before you leave the premises. If it is a new prescription, speak to the parmacist about it, ask questions. If it is a refill, check to make certain it is the one you are supposed to have. If it looks different, ask about it. You will be safe, plus, you will save yourself some trouble in advance.



19 comments:

srp said...

OK I did a comment and it went poof into the air and where it landed I know not.

Basically, you should always count your pills, especially if getting them through a mail order pharmacy. Their pill counters will occasionally be off and you may be shorted. This has to be reported immediately.

And another recommendation... WATCH ECKARDS LIKE A HAWK!!!

Anna said...

This looks so good Judy...do you like it???

vicki said...

I miss the days of the independent pharmacist. I had one in Ann Arbor and he knew us and knew what we took and so forth. Mostly now, they are big chain affairs with pharmacy assistants doing much of the work.

sage said...

Very good advice. I always read the fine print too and it makes me wonder sometimes if I need to take the meds

Blitz Krieg said...

We can't get crap for a prescription unless it's mail order. Good luck turning that back in for a gift card. Nice they did that for you but what if you were lazy and took what they gave you and it was oxycontin. Wait, I guess for a few hours it would be like lying on a beach in Hawaii, so nevermind.

Tracey said...

Oh so true! We just assume they will get it right. I have started going to the smaller pharmacist....he pulls the pills out, checks them and talks to me directly.
Good post.
Oh, hello from Michele!

sophie said...

I must say that the Walgreen's I use has been pretty good about it. Each prescription shows the size of the pill, the color, and the numbers and letters on each side. When they switched generics on my husband's Rx, they actually pointed it out to us.

However, mistakes do happen, and I once took care of a patient who was hospitalized for low blood sugar and the culprit ended up being a pharmacy error. He was given meds for diabetes instead of what he was supposed to get. It seemed like an episode of House, but the docs finally figured it out.

utenzi said...

Michele sent me over to be a dick but...

Did you consider having your husband call the pharmacy and have him ask why his wife was convulsing on the floor, and then read off the label of the prescription? I bet that would certainly cause a few convulsions over at the pharmacy...

Anyway, the only prescription pills I have are for migraines and it's been quite a while since I've had the prescription filled. I'm sure it's expired by now. But your advice is certainly good, Judy. You never know so you should always doublecheck what you get. It could mean the difference between being alive--and not.

claude said...

Your pill story is horrendous! Imagine what could have happened! They came out easily with 20 bucks!
Finally your template switch seem to have been easy! Except that I don't see your blogroll anywhere!
Looks good!h

Awareness said...

that's scary!! You bet they were running scared and rightly so.

IN the past, I had many conversations with my grandmother about her medication because as she aged, she was placed on so many different meds. My concern was that the different doctors/specialists weren't paying attention to the other meds she was on all the while writing out another prescription for her. I would make sure she would continue to chat with her local pharmacist so that they could monitor for issues around this.
Twice the pharmacist caught problems and phoned her doctor right away.........

OMG.......it's a bit overwhelming how often we have to be diligent about stuff like this......and really, who has the time to be second guessing the work of others....and yet the incompetence is shocking........

Melody said...

Owww...I like the new look Judy.

Yes, imagine if you had not looked at what you were taking and took them!! A lot of people wouldn't. Phew hey?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Great advice, Judy...And that was a rather scary thing! Lord, the ramifications are mind boggeling...! I'm not sure I would want to leave a voice mail for a perscription, by the way...It just seems a little iffy to me.

Alan G said...

I agree with others, that is a bit scary and I am glad you were cautious and suspicious of the change. If something changes on one of my prescriptions there is normally a yellow or red sticker attached telling you something has changed...color, size, etc..

In these days and times you can't be too careful and it only takes a moment to look at it like you did and see if anything looks strange.

Rhea said...

Very, very good advice. It's scary how many mistakes are made.

bluemountainmama said...

that's a little unsettling....i'll definitely be checking my prescriptions twice. and welcome to the new blogger....it was a pretty smooth transition when i did it.

Mike said...

Medication errors from pharmacies and in the hospital do occur. It is always a good idea to double check your meds especially if it is a new one.

Michele sent me.

Ex-Shammickite said...

I had a similar experience. I was supposed to have 1mg and 5mg pills of the same kind. When I got home they had given me 5mg and 5mg pills.... they were most apologetic and gave me the right pills when I went back, but unfortunately I didn't get a $20 gift card, dammit!

rosemary said...

My husband IS a Pharmacist and you are darn right they would have been and still should be n big trouble. There are safety steps that should always be taken so this exact thing does not happen....here is what really happened..the technician pulled the drug, put the pills in an automatic counter while he/she was typing or generating a label, then took the pills and put them in the bottle, slapped on the label and put them where the Pharmacist then checks the entire thing...and the tech is supposed to leave the bottle the pills were taken from OUT. So, step one was wrong and every single step thereafter.
Shame on your pharmacy the pharmacist and the tech and you should have gotten not only the gift card but the script without charge as well..billed to insurance? They should paid the copay.

Beverly said...

That is scary.