Are You Leaving The Pharmacy With YOUR Meds?
by, 01-12-2009 at 01:48 AM (1908 Views)
This post may open the eyes of many patients that must visit the Pharmacy often, picking up prescribed medications for pain, or other illnesses. Many of us just run in or drive through, pick them up, pay, and leave.
When you pay for those medications, and leave the pharmacy, you are now responsible for what is in your bag. How do you really know that your meds are in that already closed and stapled bag? Have any of you ever gone home to find that not only are the wrong medications in the bag, but there may be an indiscriminate amount of the meds that are yours; but not the amount, or dosage your doctor prescribed.
Also to look for on the bottle are the main things that the Pharmacy has the responsibility to fulfill, and these are the things that they check to make sure that the correct dosage has been prescribed and filled, the correct amount filled, to the correct person, by your doctor, with their name on the bottle, their phone number, your phone number, and your address.
Yes, this seems like double checking what the Pharmacist has already double checked. They usually fill meds automatically with a computer-only ability to access certain schedules of medications. Then, they count the meds by hand, for the double check. We all know how busy most Pharmacies are, and considering all the different people they fill for, all the range of meds they must work with, and all under a certain amount of time, when requested prescriptions come in from the doctors office, that is a lot of work. As in any job, there are mistakes to be made, hopefully inadvertently.
I am no way putting down Pharmacies, I respect very highly what they all do there, whether the Pharmacist, the pharmacy Technicians, or the cashier, who is usually one of the above two. I just know, from a great Pharmacist friend, that they are usually over worked, and there are many times they are either short an actual Pharmacist, putting the one left there to fill all the scripts, putting more pressure on them. Some companies, especially the bigger ones, may need to call in a Pharmacist that is a fill-in, and who is not familiar with the store, where everything is, does not know the regular patients, and may be either over-worked, or over the top on who you really are when you pick up your meds.
I have always found it very disturbing that basically anyone can go in, say they are picking up for "Joe Smith", and receive Joe Smith's meds without showing ID, and here we run into a problem that is not easily rectified. What if Joe Smith just had surgery and literally cannot pick up his own meds, and sends his family members, or a friend to pick up his meds. There are people who are in such pain when meds are due and ready, that they must send someone else to pick them up. This is a situation that I find no answer to. But if someone is hanging around the Pharmacy, hears the patient at the counter leave their scripts, enough is usually talked about between the staff and the patient to alert that person that a script or 2 will be ready to be picked up in an hour or so. When the time comes for pickup, that person could easily go to the counter, say they are picking up for ''Joe Smith", and usually no questions are asked, unless the patient had made a point of telling the staff that they will be picking them up, waiting for them, or shopping in the store while they wait for the meds to be ready. What about "Joe Smith's" meds that were turned in by someone, and the person hanging around in a waiting chair hears enough to be interested in the meds, he/she can then go to the counter, say they are picking up for 'Joe', and basically pay and walk out with someone else's medications. HIPPA rules and regs say the privacy of patients comes first, but I have never heard low voices used when a Tech asks for your phone number, address, etc., which can be easily written down and used by the false person who then picks up 'Joes' meds for 'him'.
To save yourself the problem of taking home either someone else's meds, or ending up with a short amount of your own meds, there is a solution. As 'silly' as it may sound, or look to others waiting in line, remember they are not the ones to worry about here in this situation. These are your meds, your lifeline to be able to lead a life of some sort, and those that have to pay the full price amount, will not feel shortchanged.
When the Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician, brings your already stapled bags to you upon check out, do we really know what exactly is in those closed bags? Remember, as soon as you leave the Pharmacy, they do not know if you have reached in and scooped out some, then gone back and complained that the full amount was not there.
I am not saying that you need to count out every single medication. To do that properly, you need the little blue counter that they use to hand count your meds, and then pour them in the bottle. You can not pour them out on the counter, (unsanitary), or try to count them while in the bottle, but if you have been taking the same meds for a long time, it is quite easy to eyeball the amount dispensed.
I am suggesting that you: Open the stapled bag and look at the label, make sure that you check that it is prescribed to you, it is the right medication, the right dosage, the right amount, and the right price. After that check in front of the Pharmacy Tech or Pharmacist, you have made sure that you are getting YOUR meds! If you can make this fill on a Monday through Friday, (I know that is not always possible), at least if there is any problem, the Pharmacy can call your doctor then and there for you, if there are any discrepancies.
This is just one more bag unstapled in our lives of the many stapled bags that will liberate us, and allow us, the patient; to have full control over a most important part of our pain or illness therapies.
Gentle Hugs to all....