Wei'o (babblefingers) wrote in bad_service,

Prescription frustration

On Monday I went to the local Walgreens to get 2 prescriptions refilled. One of them is irrelevant, and we'll call the other one L.

On Wednesday I went to the doctor and she prescribed me a new drug (which we'll call R), which I needed to slowly increase the dose on instead of starting at the target dose all at once. I immediately went to the local Walgreens and handed over the prescription. Turns out the doctor wrote instructions for the first 2 weeks and then instructions for the next 2 weeks and then written (I am not kidding): Then #50. The pharmacist said she was going to call my doctor and figure out what the rest of the prescription should have been, and then call me to let me know I could come pick up my drugs.

On Friday the doctor called back and I get a call saying my prescription is ready. So I head on over, and this is where I encounter bad service.

1. The tech trainee at the counter takes my name and address, finds a bag she thinks is mine, comes back, and demands $20. I'm accustomed to having them, say, first double-check by asking me to confirm the name of the drug or something, and then actually scan the thing so that the total is visible on the register display. The register display says $2.98. So I do not immediately hand over the card, because I didn't have it ready. "Twennnnnn. Teeeeeee. Dollllllllll. Errrrrrrrs" says the trainee. I give her my card, she rings it up and hands me my bag. Which turns out to have the right drug label on it, so that's good.

2. I step away from the register and start reading the product information, because this is a drug I've never taken before. According to the product information, taking both R and L can cause a life-threatening interaction and so "DO NOT" take them both, but it doesn't specify what life-threatening interaction. So I go back to the counter and tell the tech trainee that I already take L (note that I just bought L from them on Monday, so they should have evidence of this fact) and this life-threatening interaction bit has me worried. The trainee goes back to tell the pharmacist that I have a question, and the two of them stand around whispering and giggling for awhile. At the time I thought they were just making chitchat, but in retrospect I wonder what exactly the trainee said about me that I didn't hear.

3. Eventually the pharmacist comes back and agrees to talk to me at the private-consultation window (which ordinarily they get angry if you try to use) because there are other customers waiting at the register for the tech trainee to ring them up. She shoves a printout at me, which details (what I later learn is only one of) the possible life-threatening interaction(s). Then she says "So you're going to take it, then." I tell her that no, I'm not going to take R when I already take L, especially since the problem taking the two drugs can cause is one that I'm already at high risk for even without drugs, until I talk to my doctor. (There are a lot of things I like about my doctor. But the fact that she wrote half the prescription, got distracted, and never finished it does kind of suggest to me that she may not have entirely thought through the L+R question when deciding what to prescribe.) She sighs loudly and offers to call my doctor while I wait. Now, the doctor has gone home for the week, and she took 2 days to return a phone call when she was actually at work, so I suspect that if I wait I will be waiting until Tuesday or so. No, I'm not waiting. Bigger sigh. Fine. They'll call my doctor and then when she calls back to say that I'm being unreasonable, they will call me. Okay, I say, and now I want my money credited back to my credit card for the drugs I just bought on the grounds that I was not allowed to find out about the possible life-threatening interaction. I'll buy them again if, after hearing from my doctor, I agree to take both L and R or if she tells me to stop taking L. She stares at me for awhile and then says fine, they'll do it.

4. They page the assistant manager and then almost immediately page him again. I guess they want to get rid of me ASAP, because he shows up very rapidly for someone who probably was already doing something else. He's not happy. He wants to know why a refund is being issued. The tech trainee informs him (loudly and in front of a number of other people) that it's because "she refuses to take her medication." (I confess to being somewhat snotty here and suggesting to the assistant manager that if people are allowed to get basic information on unfamiliar drugs before being forced to buy them, then perhaps interaction problems could be caught early enough that nobody is going to bug him about a refund.)

At this point what I consider to be the bad service stops. The assistant manager issues the refund and then apologizes for asking me to "fill out this form." The form in question requires me to print my name, sign my name, and write why I want this refund. I used to work in front-line retail and in retail management. This is not an unreasonable request, in my opinion. (Plus, I get to write a very brief summary of my side of the story.)

In the future, unless it's an emergency, I'm going to go there and look for a different tech who gave me great service on Monday and Wednesday. If she's not there, I'm not messing with them. I wish I had a car so that I could go to an independent pharmacy, because there's none in my neighborhood.

And since I have to go in for a blood test this week and leave a message for the doctor about having done that, I'm going to also ask that someone convey to her that I'm worried about the interaction between L and R.
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