Monday, December 28, 2009

A diatribe on pharmacies

I was truly planning on letting my annoyance with pharmacies go, but tonight sent me over the edge.

Over the past month or so, I've had to venture to a pharmacy four different times to fill prescriptions.

Once was for a simple refill that I didn't have a single problem with.

During the second incident, the pediatrician's office e-mailed two scripts to the pharmacy at about noon. I told the doc to send them to a pharmacy near work (and consequently not near home) so I could pick them up on my way home, figuring that five-ish hours would be plenty of time. Five hours later, I go to the pharmacy to get the prescriptions. First, I get stuck in the drive through line behind someone who is clearly yelling at the pharmacist. I wanted to leave the line and go inside, but the guy behind me was on my ass, and the lane was too narrow for escape. So I sat. For a good fifteen minutes. When I get to the window, the perky intern tells me that it's going to be at least another hour before the prescriptions are ready. I'm annoyed, but figure they're busy, and it won't kill W to wait one more day to start his medicine, and I go on my merry way.

I stop back the next morning to get the medication, and find that, literally, all they had to do to prepare these prescriptions was slap a label on a box. That was all. I thought it was ridiculous that it would take them 6+ hours to accomplish that task, but, again, I figured it was a busy day, and let it go.

That takes us to incident three. W needed two more prescriptions (yeah, the kid's sickly...I get it). I got to the store before the pharmacy opened, so I stood around and waited for someone to arrive to take my prescriptions from me. I was the second person in line. I would have been the first, but some a-hole butted in front of me. *Ahem* Within 30 seconds of the pharmacy opening, the tech had the scripts in hand. I told her I was going to be waiting for the prescriptions. She told me it would be 15-20 minutes, and I went about my grocery shopping.

I came back to the pharmacy about 30 minutes later, only to be told that the prescriptions weren't ready yet. Fine. Luckily, I had a book in my purse, so I sat and read. For almost 45 minutes. The tech finally calls me up, I get the meds, and head out. It's only after I get home that I realize one of the prescriptions required them to slap a label on a box, and the other required them to add some water to some powder, shake, and slap a label on a box. This time, I couldn't excuse waiting for over an hour because they were busy. They weren't. And I was the second customer in line when they opened! And it's not like these particular medications required any complex counting or intense mixing or anything like that.

Which brings us to tonight. W had yet ANOTHER prescription to be filled (that brings us to one albuterol, one steroid, one antibiotic, and two ear drops in less than a month, in case you're counting). The ENT called it in around 1:00 this afternoon. I thought ahead and had them call the pharmacy near our house, in case it took forever and a day to prepare this script. I didn't want to stop in after work while I had W, so I decided to go out after he was in bed to get the prescription. The ONLY reason I went out in the snow and cold was to get these stupid ear drops so W could start using them and knocking out his ear infection first thing in the morning. I pick up a few items at the store, then proceed to the pharmacy counter. It's 8:15 PM. The tech asks for the name, and then spends 10 minutes looking for the prescription. She finally comes over to tell me that they don't have the drug we need in the store, so they sent it to their central processing facility, and I can get the ear drops tomorrow after 1:00 PM.

Seriously??? They couldn't give me a courtesy call to let me know my prescription won't be ready today? Most pharmacies have automated phone systems for that sort of thing, don't they? It seems to me if you have an antibiotic prescription for a kid, it's safe to assume that it's going to be picked up the day it's brought/called/e-mailed in. I'm severely annoyed that this place didn't value my time enough to let me know not to waste a trip.

All of this ranting brings me to the crux of my complaints: what the eff is wrong with these places??? WHY does it take ridiculously long amounts of time to fill prescriptions that literally require next to no work from the pharmacist/tech? WHY do they fail to extend the common courtesy of telling you they don't have your medicine? WHAT do these people do all day (as they clearly don't spend their time filling prescriptions or practicing good customer service)? It boggles my mind. Absolutely boggles it.

I think I need to find a new chain of pharmacies to patronize. Although these incidents occurred at different locations, they're all part of the same chain. Well, all except for the good, problem-free experience. That was a separate chain. I'm thinking I need to switch to them for all my pharmaceutical needs. I don't like leaving the pharmacy with my blood pressure up several points. That seems wrong on several levels.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not just you. I could have wrote this very same post 2 weeks ago and it happened at 2 different Pharmacies also! Sad, to think it is so hard to hit print for a label to be printed off and slapped on a box. In fact I even said to the Pharm tech, "wait, I will get it off the shelf for you so you do not have to walk the extra steps to get it.