Pharmacy Run-Around

The last two months it has taken a miracle to get my prescriptions refilled. Last month I needed to get new prescriptions from my endo, and when I finally called the doc’s office myself (after two days of the pharmacy faxing in requests) I found that the pharmacy had been using the wrong fax number.

This month I had to fight with my pharmacist to get the amount of test strips I need (no, 100 test strips is not enough to cover me for 30 days!), and about how many vials of humalog I could get for a 30-day supply. What angered me the most was that after trying forever to get 2 vials of humalog (after the pharmacist insisted I was only allowed 1 for “substance control purposes” - don’t even get me started on that), which included calls to my insurance company, the doctor, and then the pharmacist again, he ran it through again and there were no problems.

Does anybody have any bad/good experiences with a pharmacy? Any tips on pharmacy chains, or is service more a location-to-location thing? Has anybody ever tried using a neighborhood (not national, or even state-wide) pharmacy? Is asking my pharmacist to call my insurance company too much to ask?

I have run into problems with mail away prescriptions. I have learned that my common sense may not be someone else’s common sense. When you have your prescriptions written out, have them sent to you so you can read what it says before you go or send it to the pharmacy, because with some insurances you have to wait until you have used 1/3 of the prescription before they will allow you to have a new prescription and you may not have enough to cover you. For my diabetes supplies I have the scripts written as follows (this is a 90 day supply): test strips #750 for testing 8 to 10 times daily, humalog 6 vials (your doctor should support this for many reasons) I am on a pump, but have needles for emergency purposes. As for lancets you only need one.

I use a small locally owned pharmacy that caters specifically to diabetics. Everyone that works there either has diabetes or someone in their family does. My pharmacist will even overnight me supplies if I am out of town and need them at no additional cost. And I normally deal with the insurance company for him as for some reason I can get farther with them then he can. For the most part my insurance company does a good job, I have a few medications that have to have pre authorization but after they saw they were helping me and that I took them on a regular basis, they gave me a lifetime approval on it. As for my supplies I use Access Diabetes and they take care of all the paperwork, fax paperwork to my doctor for my supplies and deliver them to me within 24 hours and I don’t have to call them for refills. My doctor writes my script out for extra of everything so that if something happens I will have them. I have a refriderator full of insulin at the moment, I have a dorm size fridge just for insulin.

I used a local owned and run pharmacy for years and loved the responces I got from him! After the `99 tornadoes here in West TN it was blown away and plus the owner had passed about 2 months before that and then I was dealing with his money hungery daughter didn’t like it. Her dad copuld understand if you couldn’t afford to pay for the meds and would let you pay when you could. Well to put it nicely NO LONGER! THis mam was so great that it he saw you had no refills HE HIMSELF would call the DR’s office and make sure he spoke to the DR to help out his costermers. After the pharmacy got blown off the face of the world I went to Walgreens and after about a year of problems I moved over to Super D I haven’t had a problem with them yet but it helps that these folks there know me by name and sight too . One time I liked 3 dollars getting a scrip filled and the cashier there gave me the 3 dollars to get it since I was such a “wonderful person” Thank you so much Holly!!!

I’m really shocked that you had all of those difficulties, especially at a Walgreens (that’s where I usually go). I’m sure that’s definately a location-based problem. They build so many stores so rapidly that they’re forced to hire whoever they can get… which unfortunately means that they don’t always have the best pharmacists. I always make it a point to get to know at least one pharmacist at the store(s) I go to, and try to fill whenever they’re around… Usually it’ll be the one who puts up with me yapping about school while they’re filling and checking.

As for my own bad experiences… I’ve been lucky with test strips, insulin, and syringes (when I got them), but unfortunately I’m never as lucky with pump supplies. I really hate that Medtronic FORCES you to order directly from them. And insurance companies… don’t get me started. I’ve been fighting with my new insurance company to (hopefully) pay for pump supplies I ordered back in September… I’m going to need to order more soon and all they say is that they’re still “working on it”.

My Pharmacy allows a six month supply of certain items.They know me and my family and have been in the medical field for a long time.

I think getting prescriptions while traveling is my biggest fear of using a local pharmacy. I’ll check with some of the ones around here about the possibility of overnighting prescriptions to me.

I’m using the Savon pharmacy in my local Lucky’s because it is two blocks from my house (and location is important when in San Francisco without a car). It used to be an Albertson’s Savon, but since it changed hands the quality has gone downhill. I’ll think about some of the Walgreens in the area. The pharmacists at the Savon seem knowledgeable, but they aren’t as great as being a patient advocate as I hoped they would be. I don’t expect them to do all the work for me, but it would be nice if they sided with me instead of the insurance company and didn’t give me dirty looks when I asked to call the insurance company again.

As for Medtronic, I think I’ve seen a few companies that sell Medtronic infusion sets, etc. I think Animas even makes their inset infusion set in a version that is compatible with the Medtronic pump. But, yes, Medtronic is a perfect example of why proprietary anything sucks, and that is part of the reason I went with the Cozmore system.

I recently ran into a non-diabetes Medtronic rep who told me they just hired a bunch of new people who are still being trained. When I called a few months ago I had to go over the order several times and it was still wrong when I got it. I too had called in September. Check with your insurance company. I used to order from Neighborhood Diabetes and they were great. They were able to fill both my Medtronic and Smiths Medical supplies. I now have an insurance that requires me to order directly from the pump companies. I wear a Cozmo, which means one pump, two suppliers.

I didn’t know Animas made an infusion set that was compatible with Medtronic. I figured Medtronic’s proprietary lock (on the 715\515) prevents use of any other infusion sets. I’ll have to check into that. Really though, I’m pretty sure it’s more the insurance company delaying things than Medtronic.