Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Little Cluster of Inattentiveness

A couple of encounters with pharmacy on the 'customer' side of things for me lately....
subsequent to the ER visit mentioned in my last post, we were given a prescription for 9 tablets of generic Zofran for nausea. I usually get prescriptions filled at the pharmacy where I work, but circumstances required me to go to a nearby chain store ( shall remain nameless, rhymes with Schmalgreens). They weren't too busy. I was out of there in 10 minutes.

Got home, opened the bag and observed that the prescription was labeled for 9 tablets, billed for 9 tablets, and filled with 30 tablets (ie, the label was placed on a box of 30 and I got all of them). Also observed that the patient address on the label was over 10 years old and had not been updated with the address shown on the prescription.

A few days later, a neighbor of mine (senior citizen) was telling me about getting a prescription from his local grocery store pharmacy. It was for a topical gel. They called him the next day and asked him to bring the prescription back, as they had discovered on their QA audit that they gave him the wrong strength. He did, they apologized profusely, filled the correct one and (to their credit) they refunded his $200+ copay.

True, none of these things would have killed anybody. It just caused me the tiniest bit of discouragement. And I don't even use pharmacies that often!


Grumpy, M.D. said...

Yup. Been there, done that.

Dani said...

I once got home with a prescription and noticed that I had quite a few fewer pills than I should have... 60 fewer I believe (it was my blood pressure medicine, I don't take any controlled substances). I took it back about half an hour later. After seeing it, the pharmacist seemed more relived that I thought he should have. Turned out it was the wrong drug too. I hadn't even noticed. Guess I should be more attentive.

I guess I figured that was a really rare thing. Not that I think anyone is perfect. It's also why I don't mind waiting for my prescriptions though.

The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

I think in this day and age of high volumes, 15 minute guarantees, and what seems like perpetual staffing cuts we are starting to see error rates escalate. It is alarming but a sure sign that this $4 generic debacle is catching up with retail pharmacy. There just isn't any help at the average retail pharmacy anymore and with so much work to do what little staff that exists at the average pharmacy is bound to make some errors. It is a scary thought but true!

rpn0111 said...

Verifying RPh was probably distracted giving flu shots. Would have to give a few more to make up for lost $ if you didn't return the 21 extra. Apparantly your insurance worked, so who cared about verifying an address?

Anonymous said...

Our (2yr, 28lb) daughter got a succession of antibiotic prescriptions recently for a very stubborn ear infection. On the first round of Amoxicillin, we ran out before we were supposed to have been finished, but we thought it was our fault (and we were back in the Dr's office before then anyway).

However, two weeks later, we got a second round of putatively 3/4-tsp, 20 doses filled at the same pharmacy ... and it was STILL about 1.5 doses low, when we got to the end of the course.

It said the right number of mLs on the label, they just hadn't dispensed it. We went back and my (very frustrated) husband gave them increasingly-upset holy hell for it, because they wanted us to call the doctor's office (at 7PM on a Sunday) to 'authorize a refill' when we didn't WANT a refill, we wanted to be dispensed the amount we'd already paid for.

Apparently amox comes in certain quanta of dry stuff to be reconstituted, and since the amount we needed was 'close to' (but MORE THAN) one such quantum, they just dispensed us that much.

It is to spit. Do they WANT us breeding drug-resistant bacteria by not finishing our course? It's not like people are out there abusing amox constantly, or like it's even all that expensive a drug. :-/

Frantic Pharmacist said...

You're right, amoxicillin does come in specific sized bottles but they should never dispense 'less' than you need -- even if they have to dispense another whole bottle just for a couple of doses. That is an error. Still, we do have customers call and say they are short a few doses even when the right quantity was dispensed and I try to accommodate them without a doctor call -- it's not worth the time or bad will towards the customer.