Target Pharmacy Incident

I am not sure where within “TuDiabetes” to put this so I can reach the most people. Perhaps there ought to be a group for consumer affairs. After all, we’re not just patients, we are also consumers of hundreds of products that impact our health everyday (though this is another issue for another day)…

Yesterday, I decided the time had come to transfer my diabetes-related prescriptions to Target Pharmacy from CVS. ATM, I needed to pick up some more Humalog and another box of BD syringes (3/10cc, 31g, 8mm needle, 1/2 unit markings). I left the box top with the prescription information on it with the pharmacists and wandered around the store for about 90 minutes (twice as long as they told me they’d need). I paid for the scripts, was handed the pag, and proceeded to check the contents: Plain old Humalog? Check. BD 3/10cc, 31g, 8mm needle, 1/2 unit marking syringes? NOT. The pharmacist have me the whole unit syringes instead.

I told the girl that the syringes were the wrong syringes. She brought the pharmacist over, who proceeded to tell me that they were exactly the same syringes I had been using. Having been through this situation before, I brought out the meter case, in which I had a syringe tucked away, and showed her my syringe. I showed her the syringe, asked her if they looked the same – to which she answered “Of course! They are the same!!” I couldn’t make her understand, even with my syringe in front of her, that just because they are both 3/10cc syringes, they are NOT the same syringe. That’s when things got weird.

The pharmacist then plunged her hand into the box, pulled out a bag, opened it, and withdrew a syringe. Then, she pulled off the orange shield and the white plunger cap and started playing with the syringe, wagging it in front of my face! All while she continued to yell at me that the syringes were exactly the same.

That was bad enough. What made it worse was, when she realized she wasn’t going to bully me into accepting her twisted logic that half-unit syringes are the same as whole unit syringes, she RECAPPED THE SYRINGE, PUT IT BACK IN THE BAG, PUT THE BAG BACK IN THE BOX, AND THE BOX BACK ON THE SHELF. FOR SALE. EXCUSE ME?? Not right. Not at all. However, at that point, she did find a box of the half unit syringes, started apologizing, and let me go on my way. I, however, was still upset. I went to guest services to speak with the general manager (Target calls them LODs) to tell them what happened.

I went home to call Target’s corporate office to tell them what happened, but when I got home and opened up my new box of syringes, I had a big surprise. THAT BOX HAD AN OPEN BAG OF SYRINGES IN IT! WTF? I called BD to tell them what had happened, and they offered to take the box back and offered me a coupon for a replacement box (Thank You Susan!). Target Corp, OTOH, has thrown up a curtain around themselves. They’ve offered to “investigate” the situation, but are refusing to do anything to make up for the humiliation and frustration I endured at the hands of their employee (who is, as I discovered, a registered pharmacist and not just a pharmacy tech, like at one point I thought she was).

I am encouraging all diabetics who use Target pharmacy to be more aware of their prescriptions, especially syringes. Don’t tolerate abusive behaviors from pharmacists (just like you shouldn’t abuse your pharmacist!). One woman who witnessed this incident told me she refuses to use the pharmacy in Target because they mocked her husband for his prescriptions, which were not diabetes-related. Thus, at least at this pharmacy, there is a pattern of mouthy, verbally-abusive behavior. If you can, maybe you ought to switch pharmacies. I know I would like to switch. I am very disgusted after this incident.

Why don’t you tell us which Target you went to? That way, we can all weigh in with phone calls and emails to get their attention.

You can report her to the state board of pharmacy. I did this years ago when a pharmacist did not label a bottle of med on the bottle just the outside of the bag. When I took it back instead of giving it to my daughter she wanted to just put a label on it and hand it back. As a mother and a nurse I told her I didn;t think so and kept that bottle while she filled the script again. Any time you have an issue with either a pharmacist or a pharmacy all you have to do is report them to the state governing board.

Although I don’t use Target for my prescriptions I appreciate your warning.

From Target website: If you prefer to speak with a Guest Relations Team Member, please call 1-800-440-0680. I’m sure you could give them an earful.

Appreciate the heads-up. What an experience!

Not to the degree you experienced, but I’ve had trouble getting 1/2 unit syringes also. My CVS has problems keeping them in stock. They’ve offered me several bags of whole units free until they got them from another of their stores & don’t understand why it’s not a substitute. I got weary of explaining this to CVS & ordered syringes on-line. Was cheaper with no co-pay on-line than it was at CVS with a co-pay. Lo & behold, I was sent whole unit syringes:) The company paid the return postage & I finally got the correct 1/2 unit syringes. I can send you the link if you like so you never have to deal with Target rudeness again.

Dori is correct call, write and email the licensing agency in your state. Not only do they have the power to pull or suspend a pharmacist’s license but the stores ability to sell prescription meds if they are not compliant with the law and reselling a product that has to be sterile when it has been compromised is not ok.

You can (and should) report this to your state medical board. You might also think about putting this on The Consumerist

I had the same problem with CVS with half unit syringes and then again with Novolog pen fills. I originally filled the RX at the Walgreens attached to the Joslin Clinic in Boston, but when I needed to refill the pen fills for my NovoJunior refillable pen, I switched it my neighborhood CVS. They kept giving me disposable Novolog pens, which don’t do half units. The refillable kids pen is the only one that does. After 2 refills full of hastles, I switched back to the Joslin Walgreens, solving the issue.
Point of my story, is there a pharmacy near your endos office? They might be used to slightly “strange” RXs. I had to take a different bus home to be able to use that pharmacy, but well worth it.
I agree that you should report it, especially because it was the pharmacist. I hate dealing with the techs, but usually the pharmacist has some sense!

Unbelievable. Unprofessional. Thanks for the heads up.

I have to add to this. No one should take this behaviour from any pharmacy. I had this experience at not one, BUT TWO, Rite Aid’s. Abusive behaviour, giving me incorrect prescrips, and assuming I knew nothing about what I was doing. I reported them to the city on top of everyone else.

Had this happen many times with mail order pharmies - not the rudeness but just getting Icc when what wat was ordered was 1/2. They won’t take them back even though unopened they keep quoting me some law and they just resend the right ones. May I suggest another possibility - internal theft my a staff member or shipping personnel who pilfered a couple of needles for use with illegal drugs. Just my 2 cents. Mike.

Michael: I called BD and they offered to take back the syringes that were opened. I took them up on their offer, though they told me that under the law, I would have to ship the syringes back to them in a special container. I can’t say I blame them; I’ve received mail that’s been severely damaged and considering the syringes are sharps, I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt. On the receiving end, if I got a package of syringes that were badly damaged in shipping, I’m not sure I would trust that the syringes would be sterile. So, I can’t say I blame them. Also, you kept getting 1cc syringes when you ordered 1/2?? You would think that a warehouse would be able to keep 1/2 cc syringes in stock – they’re not as “obscure” as the 3/10 cc syringe with 1/2 unit markings!

Renata: Good for you! I’m glad to hear you reported the people at Rite Aid. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to explain the difference between whole unit markings and half unit markings, but this is the first time I’ve had a pharmacist try to insist syringes with whole and half unit markings are exactly the same and that, on the whole unit syringe, you actually count by halves.

Jackie: I was originally using CVS, but their costs are too high AND I couldn’t get them to understand that there is a difference between the whole unit and half unit syringes. Just like you, they argued with me too and it really annoyed me. I also don’t like the pens for my Humalog, since even the Novo Jr and the Luxura do not do well if you need only 1/2 - 1 unit. The only pharmacy that’s closer to my endo’s office is the same CVS that kept trying to give me the whole unit syringes. Interestingly, I was out on Reli-on’s website yesterday, looking for some information, and found out that Reli-on is making all of their 3/10cc syringes with 1/2 unit markings. Go figure!

John (sorry, didn’t forget about you!): The Target is on Allentown Blvd in Harrisburg, PA and is store #1254. Thanks for the suggestion!