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The Changing Role of Pharmacists in the Lives of Chronically Ill Patients

I just experienced something brand new to me and I wanted to share it with you all in case you have gone through a similar situation. This involved a pharmacy.

To make a long story (semi) short, I dropped off two prescriptions from the same physician at the pharmacy five days ago. I was able to fill and receive one medication that day and was told they would have to do a “special order” for the second medication. This isn’t uncommon for me so I didn’t think much of it. I then called the pharmacy today to see when the medication would be in stock and, after being thrown around to three separate customer service representatives, I was finally told that the pharmacist was waiting to speak with my doctor. The woman refused to respond to my question asking what it was regarding.

Two prescriptions, one big problem

I then decide to call my doctor’s office to see if they could hopefully resolve any menial issues that were preventing the pharmacist from filling my prescription. As soon as I began stating what the pharmacy told me, my doctor’s nurse told me they already had multiple back and forth conversations with the pharmacist. She told me that the pharmacist asked either me or my doctor to pick a medication because he/she wasn’t filling both of them. My doctor’s nurse told me that she and my physician explained to them that I need both and have been on both for years. Still, the pharmacy declined to fill, asking my doctor to choose, which he did not.

I asked the nurse if it would be considered “red flag behavior” if I tried to see if another pharmacy close by would fill the script. She said she didn’t believe it would be a problem on their end. So, I went to the pharmacy and picked up the hard copy of my prescription. I took that script to another place, explained what had just transpired, and they were fine to fill my medication for me.

This made me think about so many things. I have been treated like a pariah when I would bring pain medication prescriptions but, for other controlled substances, I have never had a problem. I could understand the hesitation to fill two prescriptions from someone for two similar medications that were written by two separate physicians who had no knowledge of each other, but given that that wasn’t the case here, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Who should and shouldn’t have a say?

I couldn’t, and still cannot, fathom how a random pharmacist who knows NOTHING about me has the right to tell my doctor and me what medications I should and should not be taking. I do understand that with this supposed “opioid epidemic” that the CDC and DEA have asked pharmacists to also be their eyes and ears. However, I found it personally insulting.

I don’t like these changes to the healthcare system. It honestly scares me. I feel like between the government, pharmacies, and insurance companies, my care is not just in the hands of my doctor and me like it should be. I have people making decisions for me who have zero business having anything to do with my life or my care.

While I know a lot of this is outside of our control, if something like this has happened to you, speak up as best you can. Even if it is just on social media. Just get it out there. You never know who may be investigating certain things and/or looking for personal stories.

Has anything like this happened to you? We would love to hear about it!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    Oh man, that is stressful. I too can agree with you, in that it can be frustrating when other people become involved in your health care who aren’t your doctor. You were smart in going to another pharmacy.

    I personally have never experienced this, but I have experienced moments where I needed a refill and because of issues with communication and system problems it becomes a mission to receive my medication. But deep breathes and it usually gets solved.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Akepps
    1 year ago

    I find it interesting that you describe your pharmacist as random. I consider one to be an important part of my medical team….ive gone to the same place for eight years and they know all my meds and how they react with each other, etc. My pharmacist doesn’t let me buy over the counter cold meds he knows will react with my other meds and always stops me from buying them. I feel like he knows more about how I’m doing than some of my doctors since he sees me at least twice a month since none of my scripts seem to line up. He is the best. I really suggest going to the same pharmacist regularly, it makes such a difference!

  • Marisa Lauren Troy moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi there. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your experiences. I am really glad you have a pharmacist and pharmacy you can trust and really understands your medical history. I appreciate the advice also. Sending support your way.

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