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:
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?