Monday, March 2, 2009

Um, You're Out of What, CVS?

I just returned from one of the most frustrating trips I have ever had to the pharmacy. For the most part I hate going to the pharmacy, I hate knowing I'll have to wait in line at CVS, I hate knowing that there will be a problem no matter how great of a day I'm having and worst of all I hate knowing that without them I'm basically screwed in terms of my general health. In the un-Zagrum (Leadership & Self Deception) way I'm very much "In the box" towards CVS.

My exchange with CVS went something like this today:

Me: "Hi, I'm here to pick up my prescriptions."
Pharmacist: "Ok, hmmm... don't see your name."
Me: "It's one of the big bags on the bottom." (seriously every time I'm there they can never figure out I'm the big bag on the bottom - I only spend like $200 here every month!)
Pharmacist: "Ahh ok, Clarinex and One Touch test strips."
Me: "Yeah, and there should be insulin in the fridge."
Pharmacist: After opening and closing the fridge 3 times, and whispering to a co-worker, "sir, we're out of insulin."
Me: "What do you mean you're out of insulin."
Pharmacist: "We're out of insulin, we don't have any."
Me: "You do realize that without insulin a juvenile diabetic will die, right?"
Pharmacist: "I'm sorry sir, but we're out."
Me: "Wait, maybe you didn't just hear me, I will die without insulin." (ok I might be a little dramatic at this point)
Pharmacist: Puts hands in air and shrugs
Me: Now irate "Didn't you ever hear of a telephone? Ya know TO CALL THE PATIENTS WHO NEED ACTUAL MEDICINE TO LIVE WHEN YOU'RE OUT OF IT."
Pharmacist: "Well sir we don't make the insulin here, and we're out."
Me: "Yes I'm aware that you don't make insulin here, last I checked there are no pigs running around to draw artificial insulin from, but this doesn't change the fact that I WILL DIE WITHOUT IT."
Pharmacist: "So, do you want your prescriptions to go somewhere else?"
Me: "Whatever, yeah."
Pharmacist: After consulting with another pharmacist, "sorry sir, we just found 2 vials, would you like them?"

Seriously, out of insulin, we're not talking flonase for a cold here, we're talking an essential ingredient of my daily being; wouldn't you think if you're out of a critical drug you'd call the patient?

So, I'm done with CVS, does anyone order their insulin through the mail, and if so which is the best place to go through. Every time I've been to the CVS in Virginia I've run into at least one problem, whether it was billing my insurance wrong, not finding the medicine or in this case thinking they were out of something really critical, I just can't dependent on them and that freaks me out.


Tim D said...

It's been documented the problems with CVS. Mostly revolving around them selling expired prescription drugs. So yes, they wing it.

There are other great in-store pharmacies like Walmart that you might want to look into.

Lee Ann Thill said...

I've heard mixed things about mail delivery - people who've had UPS just dump the stuff on the doorstep in 90 degree weather without ringing the bell or knocking and despite whatever labels are on the package saying it needs to be refrigerated or whatever. I would just try another pharmacy. Personally, I use Walgreens, and haven't had any memorable complaints. I can order my stuff on their website, and I get emails if they can't fill it or there are any problems.

Laura said...

I used to use CVS, but after having difficulties with refills repeatedly, I changed to the Kroger grocery store Pharmacy. They've been wonderful so far. One weekend my grandma was visiting and she forgot one of her pills. She only needed one, and so her usual pharmacist called in her order to Kroger. They had it ready by the time we got to the store, and they gave her the 1 pill for free. They've always been punctual and well staffed. I would think the same might be true at other grocery stores, too. It would be worth checking out, though!

Sarah S. said...

I've had the "out of insulin" thing happen too - however, they instantly call the nearest pharmacy to have them send some over via the manager and their car. Walgreens, if that's any consolation. With the mail-order pharmacy, I too have had some issues but I think it really has more to do with your local mail/UPS/FedEx delivery person than with anything else. I'm working with Medco, the BCBS pharmacy mail order option. The only thing I would say about them that's less than good is that once I had to order some Novolog early because a bunch went bad and they took their sweet time fixing the problem; their tracking on shipping stuff can be a bit slow too (stuff arrives before it says it's out for delivery). Mail-order has its own problems but they're at least different problems than the brick-and-mortar stores cause :/

Good luck getting what you need!

Lauren said...

I have had trouble with Walgreens, myself. The same issues actually - they're always out of test strips and insulin and they never bother to call me ahead of time to let me know as such. Which usually involves me scrambling at the last minute to find another one of their locations within a 20 mile radius that might possibly have it. I had been thinking of switching to the CVS across the street but if they're just as bad, I don't know...

Aren't their any reliable 24-hour pharmacies out there?

Allison said...

Wow, that is frustrating. Especially when you call and tell them you're going to be coming in to get insulin.

My issue is that I *rarely* call, I just show up and expect them to have insulin. So sometimes, I only get a couple of bottles and then I have to come back later and get the rest.

However, I think yelling at the guy was a bit uncalled for. Most likely he was a pharmacy technician and may or may not be the one who puts in the orders. Blaming him and threatening that you're going to die is 1) not helping the situation and 2) you don't know if he's the one you should be upset with. If it was the pharmacist, repeating the you're going to die is going to magically make the insulin reappear. Asking if another CVS has insulin and then asking for them to transfer your prescription over there would be a much better use of your time. Then just stop going to the pharmacy.

Allison said...

Sorry, that third to last sentence should read "is not going to magically make the insulin reappear." Typed too fast.

jpnairn said...

While I wouldn't personally yell at a pharmacy employee, I would want to make big enough deal out of it so that when I left the store, someone might say, "You know, maybe we should make it a policy to either obtain the drug from another store, or call and warn the patient that we don't have it."

Bennet said...

We use mail because that is what our insurance requires, Caremark aka CVS.

The have a new plan to ship insulin without keeping it cool unless is is smoking hot outside, never mind the truck is a hot box.