Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Buying Locally

With the economy the way it is, we are constantly being asked to support our local businesses.  As far as I can, I try to do this, but there are times that it really isn't possible or feasible.  Getting medications from a local pharmacy is something that we are--pretty much--banned from doing.  We CAN use a local pharmacy if we want to, but our insurance company won't pay its part beyond three months, and I have to pay my deductible every month instead of every three months like with the mail order pharmacy.  Going with the mail order pharmacy that the insurance company 'forces' us to use, is really a no brainer on our part--if we want to use our benefits to the fullest and spend less money, we go along with what is dictated.  And this has ALWAYS been a sore spot with me.

When I first began getting my medications by mail, I questioned the safety of the meds.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I was worried about whether I was getting the correct meds, just that I questioned the way they were stored and transported.  My meds (except for Enbrel) come by US Postal Service, so they are put on trucks--NOT refrigerated--and transported from great distances before they reach my mailbox.  It seems as if every place my meds come from are in the south--and I get meds all year long, from the coldest days in winter to the extremely hot days in summer.  In my mind, I can't feel that this is, in any way, good for the medications. While my local pharmacy may be getting medications by truck, they, at least, are getting MEDS and not all forms of junk mail at the same time.  I would think (hope) there are safeguards in place.

I also like the personal touch of shopping locally.  Not only do the people know you, but they quite possibly are your neighbors.  When I was getting my meds from our closest pharmacy, I would be greeted by name, asked how I was doing, and told everything I needed to know about what I was taking.  They were always willing to help before I even asked--and a lot of times problems were detected and solved before I was even aware of them.  Somehow, this just made me feel a bit safer than when I talk to a faceless voice over the phone.

Today, I got another dose of why I hate doing business the way I am forced to.  After nine weeks of not being on Enbrel, I have gotten the go-ahead to begin again.  Last night was my first injection and I only have one dose left, so I needed to call and schedule a shipment, which I did today.  While I probably should have done this last week, other times when I've tried to get more Enbrel when I had two or more doses on hand didn't go so smoothly, so I waited until I was down to my last dose.  First, I was told that they would have to call my doctor to get permission to restart my shipments, as they had been halted.  When I said that *I* was the one that halted them and explained my reason, the woman did agree it was a valid reason to not have to call my doctor.  But then, she said that my prescription had expired and they needed to call the doctor after all.  Now, I'm not sure if I made a mistake, if the pharmacy made a mistake, or if the doctor did, but I began using Enbrel in the month of May and if the doctor writes my prescription every April/May, then I should still have a couple of refills left.  I don't understand what happened, but you can be sure that if I was dealing locally, we could have figured it out.  To say I'm a bit upset is putting it mildly.

So, the pharmacy has to get in touch with the doctor to get a new prescription.  The doctor has to get back to the pharmacy and begin a new, valid prescription.  The pharmacy has to get back to me to schedule a shipment.  THEN, I have to wait for the delivery company to get my meds to me.  When I asked how long this will take, the woman said it will be a week to get the prescription validated, if the doctor gets back to them right away.  Excuse me?!?!?!?!?!?!  Telling her that I only had one dose of medication made her 'assure' me that they will put a 'rush' on this and, hopefully, get it all straightened out in less time.  I can pretty much guarantee that my local pharmacy would have had this straightened out in one day's time.  I'm REALLY not a happy camper tonight.


7 comments:

ordinaryjanet said...

The more stories like this I read about, the more I think that universal health care is the way to go, even though I have friends in the UK who tell me hair-raising stories too. I don't know why things can't be made simpler.

Mom gets some of her meds by mail too, and it never occurred to me to wonder about the temperature during shipment. Something to think about.

cmk said...

I had mentioned the temperature thing to my old PCP and he hadn't thought of that, either. I'm ASSUMING things are okay, but you never know. Just how long are meds allowed to be in a 100*+ warehouse while waiting to be sorted before they are no longer viable? At least my Enbrel is handled by a specialty pharmacy and packed in ice packs, as it has to maintain a very constant temp--AND it gets to my house overnight.

cmk said...

And I don't know about allowing the guvmint to handle health care--they certainly don't know how to run the country, much less life and death issues. ;D (And this goes across ALL party lines--there are very few government persons that I trust beyond being able to walk a dog, these days.)

ordinaryjanet said...

lol! I can't think of a single one I'd trust to walk Daisy!

cmk said...

For SURE!!!!! :)

dkzody said...

I guess you have summed up the reasons I've never done the drugs by mail bit. We have a wonderful neighborhood pharmacy with a pharmacist who knows me and talks to me over the counter. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Of course, I only have two prescriptions and they cost almost nothing, so the 30 day thing doesn't bother me.

cmk said...

dkzody: I held off as long as I possibly could before changing from my local pharmacy. Unfortunately, our insurance company makes it almost impossible to 'buy locally.' I can only get three months worth of meds before I am, basically, forced to use the mail order pharmacy. Between The Husband and myself--we both have medical issues--we couldn't afford our meds if we had to pay out-of-pocket. It is a fact of life these days, sadly.