Treated Bad by Pharmacy Today

I had a really bad morning today and I am still upset about it. I take Darvocet for the headaches I have 24 hours a day and for the Fibromyalgia pain. Whenever I start to run low I will call my prescription into the pharmacy. I typically go to Walmart to have my prescriptions filled. I normally went to the Walmart on the other side of town but I decided to go to the one that is about five minutes closer to my home.

I called my refill in and they told me my insurance would not approve it until December 6th, which was today. So this morning I went to pick up my prescription and the lady who waited on me said that it was not ready. I told her I was told that it could be filled today. She went and talked to the pharmacist and he jumped all over me! He was very loud, rude and treated me as though I were a drug addict or something!

He accused me of “gobbling those things up” (his words exactly) and he said he would not fill them yet. He jumped all over me about how bad Darvocet is for the liver and so on. He also continued to say loudly that if I have to take that many then I need to get something else from my doctor.

I agree that I probably need something stronger, as this time of year my pain is worse and I do take an extra pill a day, but he had no right being so rude and loud to where other customers could hear him.

In all the time I have been taking this medication I have never had any problems with getting my prescription filled – ever. When I got home I called my insurance company and she told me that it could be filled today. So I called back to Walmart and the pharmacist again kept repeating, “Nope, it’s a controlled substance. Can’t fill it. Call before you make the trip next time.” That was all he would say to me and again not very nicely.

I called the insurance company back again, spoke with the same lady and she called Walmart to talk to the pharmacist. She called me back a few minutes later and said that this guy was mean to her also and he wouldn’t really explain why he couldn’t fill it when he had the insurance company’s authorization.

Finally I called Walmart to report this jerk to management. The pharmacist there today is just a fill in and he normally does not work there. Walmart has something set up, and it must be new because I have never had this problem with them, in their system that a controlled substance, like Darvocet, has a “threshold” period before it can be refilled. So even though the insurance authorized it, their system would not allow it to be filled. I told the manager that was fine and I am glad that someone finally explained it to me. If the pharmacist would have done that from the start I wouldn’t have had any problem but the way he handled the whole situation was very unprofessional and I let the manager know all of this. He was reporting him to the district manager and said he would not be allowed to come back to their store again.

There is always this stereotype around those of us who require pain medication that we are somehow druggies out looking for the next big high. I would not take them if I did not need them. I did call my doctor and she is prescribing me something else (Ultram and Vicodin) to help with the severe pain I am experiencing right now but they didn’t get my prescription called in before the end of office hours today. I am miserable and in a lot of pain and I keep hitting my husband’s Extra Strength Tylenol bottle but it doesn’t do any good.

I hope when I go to the pharmacy tomorrow this jerk isn’t there. They will definitely all know my name by now!

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  1. I am amazed daily by hearing how badly people with chronic illnesses are treated. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that jerk. If your doctor prescribes a medication for you who is he to get angry with you about it?

  2. I know, Connie. That’s what my husband said. If my very competent doctor doesn’t see any problem with me taking Darvocet, then who is he to jump all over my case?

  3. *shaking head* Educated [pharmacists] people acting like complete idiots. What a waste of good schooling.

  4. It’s hard enough to just bear the pain, but to have to endure that degree of abuse on top of the pain is unacceptable. I am sorry you went through this experience, and glad that you were able to handle it with such awareness and assertiveness.

  5. ooh, that just makes me so mad! i’m glad he’s not your regular pharmacist.

    and i’m impressed that you were able to handle all the phone calls and such while in pain. i know how difficult that can be.

  6. I am sorry to hear that you had such a hard time at the pharmacy. I WISH this was a rare occurance, but unfortunately this is quite common and happens to chronic pain patients way too much and the majority of the time it happens at chain pharmacies.

    My suggestion is to try to find a mom+pop local pharmacy. Also, I don’t know if your doctor ever mentioned this to you, but actual drug-addicts tend to hop from one pharmacy to the next as a way of avoiding being recognized. For this reason, most doctors who treat chronic pain patients suggest (or require) that their patients use ONE pharmacy in one location for every single medication (and all medication refills). This helps to prevent running into bad pharmasists, and it also shows people that you are a real chronic pain patient and not a pharmacy-hopping addict!

    My final suggestion and word of caution is regarding the amount of Tylenol you seem to be taking/needing. I know that tylenol is all you have until you can get your new prescriptions filled, but the recommendations from doctors is to NEVER take more than 4,000mg a day (and for anyone who takes tylenol more than 3 times a week the recommendation is to never take more than 2,000mg a day).

    Remember, one of the ingrediants in the Darvocet is tylenol and Vicodin also contains tylenol (on the bottle of Vicodin it will have 2 different numbers in regards to mg’s. The 1st number is the number of milligrams of hydrocodone (the narcotic ingrediant of Vicodin) and the second number is the tylenol. Usually Vicodin is prescribed as 5/500mg (5mg of hydrocodone and 500mg of tylenol per pill).

    I hope that info helps, and I really hope you are able to get your new medications soon (and I really really hope that work well for your pain).


  7. Just to let you people know that pharmacist are not just pill dispensers– they are educated professionals, most with a doctorate. You people seem to think you know everything there is about what a pharmacist is responsible for. Pharmacist are governed by very strict state and government rules and regulations.

    Everyday we deal with physicians who make mistakes on
    medication orders–some that could very seriously harm the
    patient. I’m not knocking physicians, I’m just simply pointing out that errors occur and if pharmacists do not catch the error before it is dispensed (i.e., wrong strength, wrong drug, wrong dosage, drug allergy, drug interaction) they are held just as liable as the physician. Pharmacist just resolve the issue along with the physician and say nothing to the patient about it–out of professional courtesy.

    Pharmacist deal with people disrespecting them all day long, largely because they have the same impression that most of you who posted do. We are not just there to blindly follow physicians orders. Pharmacist are trained to question and double check everything that appears incorrect or excessive–especially when dealing with narcotics.
    I want to thank Kem for her posting. Believe it or not 8 out of 10 prescriptions that are written for tylenol containing narcotics are prescribed incorrectly. If a patient were to take the medication as the physician ordered they could very easily damage there liver. I personally have gotten tired of calling the physicians offices to inform them of the potential harm to their patients and correcting it.

    Pharmacist are not out to keep any medication from a patient. They do their best everyday to accurately fill and dispense
    every medication order in a timely manner. You as patients have to understand that they do more than just count pills– not to mention all the “*$#%@&” insurance issues that they must handle. Pharmacist do all this with little or no appreciation from the public. At times they are treated no better than the guy behind the counter at Burger Mart. It does get old.

    • Margaret Brown says:

      The fact that you use the term “You People” and the fact the guy behind a burger counter deserves to be treated badly, tells me you may have trouble comprehending treating people with respect. There is no need to humiliate anyone, but to be pissed off at sick people is inexcusable. I wish the pharmacists with no social skills and who find all questions irritating, please go work in a hospital, or lab, or anywhere where you don’t have to talk to all “those people”. We pay the price for incompetence, whether it comes from the doctor or the pharmacists. Believe me, dealing with mean pharmacists gets old too.

  8. Dana, Thanks for commenting but the fact that pharmacists put up with a lot of crap is NOT my fault and it was no reason for this jerk of a pharmacist to act so rude and ignorant to me. And later when I went to pick up my prescription he had talked like that to many people that day and was told he would no longer be back there again.

    My doctor is wonderful and if she felt I had a problem with pain medication she would stop prescribing it immediately. I didn’t just step off the turnip truck and I do know the dangers and risks involved in pain medication. Obviously you are another one who has no idea what it is like to live with pain around the clock. We do what we have to do to get by and to function each day.

    I typically deal with ONE pharmacy, as I mentioned in my post. I decided to go to this other Walmart because it is closer to my home. I don’t have to worry about “jumping” from pharmacy to pharmacy because I do not have a problem with my medications.

    What a pharmacist may or may not go through does not make it right the way I was treated.

  9. I am with Sandy on this one. Dana, I’m sorry you feel that you are disrespected at your job, but I think everyone who works with people at all simply has to put up with it. While I’m not saying it is ok to be rude or disrespectful to medical professionals (or fast food workers for that matter), it is definitely not acceptable for the person behind the counter to talk down to the customer. Even if there is a problem with the prescription, the pharmacist should treat the customer with respect and courtesy. Yes, we appreciate what you do for us, but we do not appreciate being treated rudely any more than you do.

  10. How true, Tammy!

  11. Sandy,

    As a pharmacist, I am sorry that you had to deal with such a rude pharmacist. There are plenty out there. I would normally fill your rx as long as your Dr. didn’t put any time restrictions on it. If I felt you were taking an excessive amount I would discuss that with you in a private area and I would also notify your physician. I think it is important to always look at things from both views. It is possible that the pharmacist you dealt with is usually quite friendly and you struck him on a very bad day. Pharmacy has a high burn out rate. It is stressful to have so much education and to be asked more about toilet paper then medication. The best way to deal with a rude person is with kindness. It will either bug the hell out of them or it will make them a little nicer to the next person they see. Just to let you know, complaints to head office are usually not taken seriously. They will pretend to side with the customer just to get you off their back. This is because most complaints aren’t valid. A lady once complained about me to head office because I refused to check in her very full cart of groceries. She didn’t even have a prescription. If you are having chronic pain, it may be time to start thinking about a long-acting med and not one that you have to take every 4-6 hours.

  12. Hi Jane! Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your kindness. I understand having bad days – I have more than I can count and I know that pharmacists are human, too. But the way this guy handled the situation was way off base and I agree that if he felt I was taking too much, he should have talked to me privately and not for everyone around the pharmacy area to hear. It was so embarrassing to me.

    I also know that there are customers who are rude and can be ignorant, too. I would not check in a whole cart of groceries at the pharmacy either! That is just ridiculous for someone to expect that! Thanks again and I hope you come back to the site!

  13. donna click says:

    how come my insurence will pay for my script and the drug store will still not fill it and is that against the law?

  14. Donna,

    I am a pharmacist. Controlled substances are to be dispensed in strict accordance with the written prescription. Example: Your physician wrote for you to “Take 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain.” The highest number of tablets you can take per day is 12. Now let’s say the physician writes for the pharmacy to dispense 360 tablets for you to take. These 360 tablets should last you 30 days. Controlled substances should not be filled early and pharmacists are required to know how often you get this prescription filled. Doesn’t matter if your physician okays you to get it refilled early or that your insurance will pay for it early. The prescription from your physician is a request not a mandate to the pharmacist. The pharmacist must not allow early refills — their license is at stake and they can be fined by their state’s board of pharmacy for filling these controlled substances early.

    As a pharmacist, I would have explained the above to you along with the risks of cardiovascular problems associated with Darvocet and the max tablets per day to avoid liver damage by the Tylenol — but I would not have refilled your prescription early.

    Middle Aged Pharmacist

    • Hi Linda, Thanks for the info. I wrote this post a long time ago but I was definitely not taking anywhere close to 12 tablets per day. I understand why the prescription couldn’t be filled. What I did not appreciate is how I was being treated and how rude the pharmacist was. He was extremely rude and from what I was later told, he was fired for repeatedly talking that way to customers.

  15. shellysorrentino says:

    question to any pharmisist out there has ur license ever been threatened by a customer for real? it seems thats what your all afraid of. do you all get off on a power trip because you have so much authority or do you truely care about each individual person nto the extent that you dont want to see them hooked on narcotics even if the are in grave pain? are you allowed to tell that that very concern for them legally? i can understand al the stresses you face but thats your job! you chose it knowing those streses full well! would it kill any of you to smile once in while seriously there is a story with every patient reasons they have to go to the stupid pharmacy in the first place take the dick out of your asses and try to help people isnt that why you chose this career in the first place?

  16. I have had ADHD since I was a kid. I get 30 adderall tablets a month. They are also a controlled substance. Every time I go to get it filled they treat me like a drug addict. On my last refill the insurance had decided to stop paying for it. I get frustrated about the situation. They take it as I’m an addict. Tell me they don’t feel comfortable filling the script. They didn’t even want to give my script back. I would go to the same pharmacy every month but no pharmacy has all 30 pills in stock at the. I need all my pills so I can function daily. Can’t afford to be missing even one.

    • I know this is an old post but gonna reply anyway. The pharmacy I go to has 3 different pharmacists. When I go in to have my pain medication filled on the day it’s due 2 of the pharmacists do it no problem. They open at 9am I’m an early person I like to get all of my stuff done first thing in the morning. Well before the scripts became electronic I had no issues but now they are sent over electronically the one pharmacist says you need to wait until 10am it’s ridiculous you come in so early. I really don’t understand what her problem is. The other 2 fill it first thing but not her. And when it was paper script and I walked in and handed to her she never said anything about time. I will point out that it’s not a chain store and they fill them while you wait usually 5 minutes. But if she is there and I go in before 10 she’ll make me wait 20 minutes or more. If the other two are there I could literally walk in at 9:05 and they will have it done in 5 minutes. She’s a very nasty person with a bad attitude I say why do you take a job in customer service if you hate people.

  17. Concerned patron says:

    I have just had a bad experience too! Only this time a prescription I DID NOT want, a diabetes drug with all sorts of nasty side effects (even the FDA WARNED against it!) and the Pharmacist lady is rudely coercing me to take it even though I explained why I would not. Is there any relief from this sort of judgemental attitude?

  18. This is an old post but I would still like to post a reply. Dana – If pharmacists are so educated, why have you written ‘there’ liver instead of ‘their’ liver, I am sure this is the same spelling for Americans as English. But whether educated or not, pharmacy assistants or pharmacists, all staff should be trained in the art of dealing with customers respectfully. Some pharmacy staff have obviously missed this part of their training and if there is no customer care training in a pharmacist degree course, then it should be a course offered after training for anyone dealing with public. If pharmacy staff continue to be rude, obnoxious and self-important, they will continue to be laced by the public like they have been on this discussion. It is not just in America this is happening, I am English and about to make a complain to the General Pharmaceutical Council about the way a pharmacist spoke to a customer. I witnessed a poor elderly lady spoken to in a totally disrespectful way. I should have spoke out at the time. As I did not, I am forwarding my complaint about the unprofessional manner of staff at the pharmacy now. You give yourselves a bad name!

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