9 Ways to Endear Yourself to Your Pharmacy

29 07 2010

As many of you know, my alter-ego is a pharmacy technician. I love working in a pharmacy, but there are many moments in which I have to bite my tongue (and resist reaching across the counter to throttle a customer).

Are you one of those customers? You can read my past pharmacy-related posts to find out:

A Very Special Message from Your Local Pharmacy, Part I
Another Special Message from Your Pharmacy
The Drive-Up Window is My Archnemesis

Today I’ve decided to throw you a bone and share some ways to snuggle up to your pharmacist.

Always bring your insurance card with you.
You’ve had the same insurance for 20 years? Good for you! Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they haven’t changed a few numbers on your card. Odds are everything is the same, but just in case it isn’t? Our lives are a lot easier (and your prescription is ready a lot faster) if we don’t have to call your insurance’s help desk.

If you’re picking up a controlled substance, bring picture ID.
I know I’ve discussed this one before, so I won’t harp on it. State law requires us to verify your ID. Also? We’re mostly trying to watch out for you, so stop bitching and hand over the ID.

Know your insurance plan.
There are hundreds of insurance plans out there. I have no way of knowing which medications are on your formulary, why your copay is so high), or when you’ll meet your deductible. I wish my brain were that useful, but it isn’t. If answers to these questions are important to you, please contact your benefits coordinator or insurance company.

Don’t whine incessantly about prices.
Here’s a little secret: Prices are usually set by your insurance company. We don’t have any say in how much money we get from you. Even if you’re paying out-of-pocket for your prescriptions, our mark-ups aren’t outrageous. And no, we won’t price match any of the box stores. We don’t have $4 prescriptions, but we also don’t have 30 minute wait times.

Know how many refills remain on your maintenance medications.
If I had a dollar for every phone call I get on Saturdays from panicked women who’ve run out of birth control (and have no refills left on their prescriptions)…well, I wouldn’t need to be a pharmacy tech.
If you take medications that are vitally important to your well-being or cause serious problems when you miss a dose, please keep track of your refills. We’ll make sure you’re taken care of if absolutely necessary, but being on top of your meds saves everyone a whole lot of headaches.

Identify yourself when we answer the phone.
I pick up the phone and hear, “I need you to refill my prescriptions” or “Did my doctor call in a prescription?” My response: “And you are…?”
Even if I’m pretty sure I know who you are, with the HIPAA laws in place, it’s better for everyone if I don’t start guessing. Instead, try for, “This is Jane Doe. Did my doctor call something in for me?” There. wasn’t that easy?

Call ahead for refills.
I know it’s impossible to think ahead every time, but if at all possible, give us a head start on your prescription refills. It makes everyone’s day easier.

Don’t ask us to get it ready as soon as possible.
I’m sorry your 99-year-old grandma is sitting out in the car without any air conditioning while you pick up her heart medications.
Asking me to get it ready as soon as possible won’t speed up the process–it’ll just piss us off. Perhaps you don’t realize what you’re implying with this question–that we dawdle on prescriptions if we don’t have someone like you impressing upon us the need to move quickly. Also, you aren’t our only customer, and it would be unfair to push your prescription to the front of the line.

Say “Thank you.”
Tell us when we’re doing something right. We like to be appreciated. I know, right? Who would’ve thought?




7 responses

2 08 2010

Along with the “thank you” I also like to include “and have a nice day!” It’s amazing how well people respond to a small amount of kindness.

2 08 2010

Always love your pharmacy ‘tips’ Jen! I’ve taken note! LOL 😉

30 07 2010
Jessica G.

I have a much greater appreciation for my pharmacists after reading your posts. You guys know your stuff.
And I hate when people call *my house* and demand to know who they are speaking to. Dude. You called me.

29 07 2010
Kristina P.

Uggg, the phone one drives me nuts! “Yeah, someone called me from this number?” “Yeah, I’m not going to be able to make my appointment today, so can you tell CHarlie?” I don’t know who the hell you are!

30 07 2010

I can explain why we do not give up our name right away: because it’s all to often that we call, tell a whole big story with name and details and then we get transferred to someone else that has none of the info and we have to repeat the whole thing again… it happens a lot with calls to doctor’s offices. I understand hat pharmacy is different, it’s difficult to know all the rules for every place that we call. Sorry about this, i think you guys need to live with it. But I sympathize with the rest :).

29 07 2010

It amazes me how inconsiderate people can be in almost all retail situations. Good tips though! Kind of surprised about the call ahead for refills one though. Doesn’t everyone already do that? I know I always do. Saves me time! 🙂

29 07 2010

Amen to that! I work in a hospital and get just as stupid questions about medication.

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