Monday, February 9, 2015

5 Things Your Pharmacist WON'T Do

1. We will not give you medication without a prescription. Seems pretty straight forward, right? But you'd be surprised how many people come in and ask, "Hey, I'm from out of town and I forgot my Lisinopril. Can you just give me two tablets?"

The answer is NO. Imagine going on vacation and leaving something behind... perhaps your toothpaste? Do you go to the local grocery store and ask them to give you some toothpaste because you forgot yours?

I am simply amazed how many people come up to the pharmacy window and ask us to just give them a prescription medication. The most common I hear is, "Hey buddy, can you give me a 100mg Viagra? No, no, no. Now go away!

2. We will not fill a prescription that looks fake or can't be verified. All too often people come in on the weekend with a prescription that appears more than a little sketchy. And no, asking us to just go ahead and fill it and "verify it later" isn't going to fly either.

And I'm really sorry "grandma" has to be without her pain meds. Maybe YOU should be taking care of grandma's pain meds (if that's what's really going on) on the day you saw the doctor when the Rx could be verified.

3. We will not break the law for you. The prescription is written for you. We're not going to pretend it is written for your wife who has better insurance. We're not going to add refills when the doctor wrote a zero. We're not going to anything that even hints of breaking the law. No. Don't ask. It's not going to happen.

4. We will not fill a narcotic early. The doctor has written a new prescription for Norco for you. The problem is, the same doctor wrote the same prescription, a 30 day supply, three weeks ago. You have another week's worth of medication. No, we're not going to fill the new one a week early.

Do you ask your employer to give you your paycheck early? If you did ask, what do you think would be the answer? No, you're not going to get your paycheck ahead of time and you're not going to get your narcotic ahead of time either.

5. We will not give you your medication for free. I'm sorry if you don't have prescription drug insurance or if your co-pay is expensive. I can't just give you the medication. I'm not going to give you "just two tablets" or ignore the co-pay. 

Imagine going into the bank and telling them your paycheck isn't large enough and asking them when they cash your check if they could just give you an extra $200. Do you think that's going to happen? 

Same here. We're not going to give you your medication for free. No, no, no. Go away!


Unknown said...

I'm pretty sure I had all 5 happen this weekend while I was working. I just don't understand people sometimes.

PharmGirl said...

I own a retail pharmacy in a small, rural town. My only competitor (another independent) does ALL of these things on a daily basis. Need a Z-Pack? He'll give you one! Want you hydros a couple days early? The pharmacist at _________'s Pharmacy is "such a good guy," he'll take care of it. Copay too high? He'll run it for Nexium, fill the bottle with omeprazole, and not even charge you that little ole copay. (I could give 1000 more examples if I had time.). So, yeah, there are a few pharmacists out there who will do whatever, whenever just to make a couple extra bucks. And that's why some of the patients expect all of us to do it.

Anonymous said...


I mean no disrespect by asking this, but why have you not reported the RPH your speaking of?

My profession requires me to be a mandated reporter. If I suspected my colleagues, parents guardians, etc., doing/acting inappropriate towards a child or an adult and didn't report it to the proper agency & something were to happen it's a felony and the punishment comes with a prison sentence!

Thanks for what you do! I know it's not an easy job! I was a tech in the early 90's & what I saw customers do multiple times a shift just blew my mind! My favorite was the people who took the RED (we did that on purpose) pen @ the drop off window & fill in their own refill amount & then swear their doctor did it? Just one of the many scams people tried to pull! We used to have contests each shift to see who busted the most people!

PharmGirl said...


Like you, I am required to report this type of thing. (CMS mandates it under fraud, waste, and abuse.) The problem with my reporting him is twofold: First, I have no actual firsthand knowledge of his misdeeds--only reports from people in the community; Second, I am his primary competitor, so any complaint from me sounds like sour grapes.

I have had multiple patients come to me with explanations of benefits that show thousands of dollars' worth of Rxs run through at his pharmacy, but that the patient never received. I always encourage them to call the insurer and report the "mistake," but none of them ever want to be the one who gets him into trouble. Some patients have reported him to Board of Pharmacy and multiple insurers for board violations and insurance billing "errors." This has resulted in a couple of fines and his inability to bill one large PBM in our area.

What makes me the most angry about pharmacists like my competitor is that they give the public an inaccurate view of our profession. I tell other pharmacists about what goes on across the street in my town, and they are incredulous. It's good to know that most pharmacists, like myself, at least try to play by the rules!

bcmigal said...

An MD writes ok to "early refill" on a C-2 because pt is going on vacation (again). But the insurance won't pay for another 4 days. Of course, the pt wants it today for free and then "can't you bill the insurance in 4 days?" Uh, like no. Wonders never cease in pharmacy land.