Have you ever been treated poorly at a pharmacy or other healthcare provider?

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Too Nice = Less Respect If You Are A Caregiver.
A few days ago I went in to our local 24 hour pharmacy and was treated disrespectfully by a new pharmacist behind the counter. The more I tried to fix the problem with a prescription I was picking up, the less helpful he became. Then it hit me - I looked like h*ll. I had been caring for a parent with pneumonia for a full 10 days and was exhausted. I was wearing a pony tail, t-shirt and jeans and I was old, I was being nice and obviously must have been acting like a typical caregiver - being nicer than I should to try to fix a problem. Although the information in his system was wrong, he would not take the time to research the error - instead he suggested that I call my insurance carrier as it was showing "expired". He made the point that the conversation was over by picking up the bag with my prescription and tossing it to a basket across the workspace. Discussion over. Go away. With no prescription I was forced to go home and wait until I could confirm with my insurer that there was *no expiration* on the prescription benefit. They added that the pharmacist was wrong and should have given me a few day's supply if he was not willing to fix the billing issue. When I contacted the pharmacy's customer service line they said they were sorry I was frustrated.

Then I got mad. I told the CSR that I had been up with little sleep and no help for 10 days and referenced the multiple prescriptions my parent had at that pharmacy. I pointed out that I was there at midnight to pick up a necessary prescription for me that was overdue and could not wait. I followed it up with the fact that I had been a loyal customer. The CSR said "sorry". I said, No you don't understand. I am one of millions of tired old ladies who are caring for a loved one - we do it for free, manage everything including building relationships with healthcare providers to AVOID these problems and the value of all of our services total $470 Billion a year. The CSR said "sorry". I was still very angry and then I said in a quiet voice, OK, you are "sorry" - but I still have to get this prescription at the copay amount, not full retail due to your pharmacists' mistake. How will I do that until I can get a free minute to drive 20 miles back to the pharmacy - probably at night. Can you guarantee the problem will be fixed? She said "sorry, I can't guarantee anything". That is up to you to talk to the pharmacist about. I said wait a minute - why don't you call the pharmacy for me and fix the problem ... "sorry" we can't do that. As your insurer to do that. What? Why can't you fix the problem, make amends and have the prescription delivered to our house? "No, I'm afraid not - sorry". I began to cry. At that point the CSR broke down and said this

"I know what you are going through, you sound just like my mom who is caring for my dad who has cancer". I truly am sorry, but the corporation that I work for won't let me do anything other than log this call as a customer complaint. Someone is supposed to get back to you within 3 business days." Now I felt bad, and I said "sorry; I know it must be hard for you as well sharing the burden with your mom. I truly appreciate the fact that you listened and talked to me like a human being. I would like a favor from you". She said OK, if I can and here is what I finally said after I put on my big girl pants and realized that nothing corporations say or do is there for caregivers and nothing will ever change unless we change it the only way we can. Here is what I said:

"I am transferring my prescriptions, never shopping at the ______ chain again, going on social media and yelp to complain and sharing my story with every other caregiver on forums (like this one)."

She chucked and then laughed. "OK, I'll write that down, she said" and then she added - "give them hell, you DO sound alot like my mom".

So my question is twofold - 1. what is YOUR Story? Share it here - discuss it and let's raise enough awareness that the companies that don't recognize us start paying attention. 2. What Else Is Bugging You As A Caregiver?

I feel better writing this - now I am no longer sorry.


Could you have call the pharmacy the next day, late morning, and speak to the 1st shift Pharmacist? Sounded like a glitch between the pharmacy and the Rx insurance provider. Everyone has a bad day, even a pharmacist.

I really don't think it had anything to do with how you were dressed. Heck, the same could have happened if your were dressed like a bank President, or picking up your order via drive-thru.

I wouldn't waste my time adding negative reviews on yelp or any other review site, because most people when they have 100% good service never write a comment, but one bad time they are all over the internet with negative comments. Thus, those reviews are meaningless.

Rarely do I run into any problems at the pharmacy. Usually if there is an issue, like no order is waiting, it was because my Dad had forgot to call in for a refill yet told me pills were waiting :P
I would talk to the day time pharmacy manager and the store manager. I would not personalize this.
This pi**es me off you guys, why should the poster have to accept that level of disrespect from the pharmacy? It is not acceptable when essentially you are told we're sorry, but we won't take responsibility for the problem or make any effort to try to correct it and is then advised don't take it personally, maybe if you just behave differently next time it won't happen again. And freqflyer, I'd like to believe that her appearance had nothing to do with the way she was treated, but there have been too many studies done that prove all too often it does make a difference. So I agree, "give them hell", and do it loudly or else they won't even notice.
I said not to personalize, i.e., not to try to figure out why this jerk was treating her badly. That excuses his behavior. My motto is "don't get mad, get even". I've found that a letter to the store manager/department manager with a cc to corporate customer relations works wonders in getting respect and results. Phone calls get you connected to clerks. If you must make a call, be nice to the clerk and ask for a supervisor.
Now in Texas there is a Texas state board of pharmacy through which you can make a formal complaint. I imagine (because I am a dumb Brit and I do imagine consistency where often there is none) that every state has a board of pharmacy and they licence pharmacists .....so put it in writing hun nothing ventured.....
I think the formal complaint is in order. He had no business denying you at least a few doses of an important prescription while it was sorted out, and it should have been escalated to management on the spot if there was some reason he could not do that. It is utterly unprofessional to treat someone differently because they are not well dressed. If you had not been 'nice" he might have had an excuse. The formal complaint might be a signal to him to change his attitude, or that if he is too burned out to view customers as human beings, and to treat fellow human beings with decency, he needs to get help; possibly, along with others who complain, if this is not isolated behavior, it would be a heads up to his employer to take disciplinary action.

I do realize that the Walgreen's and similar pharmacy people are expected to ring up non-pharmacy purchases, deal with long lines of impatient people, and in general are not getting tons of respect themselves, nevertheless, you learn to cope with that, or hate it but hang in until with enough pressure, corporate policies need to, and could, change for the better, or get out. This kind of thing can hurt people. I have had patients hospitalized because a prescription was denied when a single phone call or fax could have taken care of it, but they were too busy and didn't care enough about the Spanish speaking single mom with two special needs kids...You know how they say "don't get me started"? - well, you got me started!

I've never been treated badly by a pharmacist. When my Mom was still alive and I was picking up her prescriptions for her they went out of their way for me. I'd walk up to the counter and always caught the eye of the head pharmacist. He would smile and get my Mom's prescriptions. I usually didn't have to wait.

When my Mom was transferred to the NH he made all the arrangements for her prescriptions to be done there properly without me even having to ask. Even said kindly to me "now you can rest"
If you want to complain, forget about Yelp; research the company, contact one of the execs, or better yet, figure out how to notify the shareholders. It's a lot of work, but those in a position to benefit from good management and good customer relations are more likely to be concerned than independent, unrelated, disinterested people online.

But change your approach and be very rational about it; anger just makes you seem more dismissible. It's easy to decide that you're irrational and angry and ignore your complaint.

And frankly, given that he was new, he might not have known how to address the problem. He relied on the store's computer system which indicated the script had expired. A good pharmacy, an individual one like the one we eventually selected, will offer to contact the scripting physician to get a renewal on the script, unless perhaps it's a narcotic.

BTW, you mentioned this is a 24 hour pharmacy. What time of day or night were you there?
There are ways to avoid the pharmacy all together by actually not going to the pharmacy. Let me explain, If you have a Med Ex in your area or you have some type of pharmacy that delivers to the house or apartment you live in you can avoid a nasty pharmacist and get a very nice pharmacist and dedicated staff that does not like phone trees. If you have a refill though coming out to the house and need to send a new prescription they will work with you. All you have to do is have the new prescriptions in an envelop ready for the driver to pick up and your Co-Pay ready to give the driver when they show up and you receive your refills and then you get your new prescriptions the next day thus alleviating the $3.50 service fee and you are also able to get any over the counter items at a lower price delivered at the same time.
Hey everyone, here's an update that explains alot. Opened the paper today and read an article about the pharmacy chain I complained about being sued for price fixing. Might explain why the guy was so short with me and dismissive when I wanted to know how my prescription copay inflated to $141.00....so complaining to a corporation that knowingly gamed the system and overcharged customers means that he probably knew what his company did.

The news article is here or probably in most major news sites.abc7./news/cvs-accused-of-overcharging-for-generic-drugs/895185/ They are going to be sued in a huge class action suit.

Thanks for all the comments - I really believe after reading this article that posting on social media like Yelp does matter hugs to everyone who shared support.

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