I hate transfers.
And yet, "hate" might not be a strong enough word.
For those of you that don't know, "transfer" is a word we use in retail pharmacy for the act of moving a prescription from one pharmacy to another. A specific prescription may only "exist" at one pharmacy at any one time.
Suppose for example that you get your atenolol (or as the average person says, "uh-ten-lull") at your local pharmacy. You go on vacation to another state, but somehow you forgot to pack your uh-ten-lull. Somehow you remembered everything else but the one medication that keeps you alive... you forgot. (Yeah, there's some heavy sarcasm there). Anyway, you get to your vacation destination and discover you forgot your med.
So you go to a nearby pharmacy panic-stricken and near death and they offer to "transfer" your prescription. What happens is they call call your hometown pharmacy and get all the specific information about your prescription: doctor, medication, dose, how you should take it, etc. Then they fill it and you go on your merry way, relieved that you won't die.
I understand the need to transfer a prescription in that case. But sometimes people transfer their prescription because the new pharmacy has a "reward" (HA! Like you earned something) such as a gift card for the transfer. These are extremely annoying because it takes a phone call and it turns the professionalism of pharmacy into a game of pandering to the highest bidder. But I live with it.
Other times, no matter how you drill the patient, "Before I call... are YOU sure you have refills remaining on this medication?" Oh yes, I'm told, only to find out OH NO YOU DON'T have refills. Time and effort wasted.
I can live with that too. BUT what REALLY drives me nuts about transfers is that the big chains have become overly accustomed to making me wait on the phone... and that's damn annoying. Some pharmacies have call centers. Sometimes you wait up to TEN minutes just to talk to the call center before you get patched through to the pharmacy itself, only to be put on hold AGAIN for something that literally takes 2-3 minutes to accomplish.
And some of these big chains... it feels like they intentionally try to punish ME for calling for a transfer by making me wait. Yeah, I KNOW it's busy for all of us, but like I said, it takes only minutes to do a transfer once you're talking to the right person.
No one likes to do transfers. But I think it's time we return to some professional courtesy between us pharmacists. If you hear "Line 2 is waiting for a transfer," don't make them wait. I promise when you call I'll take your call right away.
Can't you do the same for me?