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Establish the Relationship with a Local Pharmacy

Feb 27, 2018

Many of your patients think they must use mail order pharmacies, but many times they have a choice. This past holiday weekend a patient of mine was out of her medication, a medication she cannot be without without having serious effects of missing a dose. She went to her local pharmacy. There were no refills. The pharmacist gave her 5 days of medication until she could contact me, her provider, to renew her medication.

She reached out to me this morning and asked me to please send in her prescription for refills. Yes, I prescribed it right away. Disaster Averted.

Lessons Learned:

  • When a patient needs to have prescriptions filled absolutely on time, ask if they have a local pharmacy. Discuss the importance of getting their meds, at least the ones they absolutely need and cannot wait on refills for, at their local pharmacy, and explain the importance of an established relationship with the pharmacy. Although we and the pharmacy recommend giving the pharmacy and the health care prescriber notice on the need for early renewal for meds, we understand this doesn’t always happen. Even if they have, we don’t always get the message to renew or the pharmacy doesn’t receive it in a timely manner.
  • If patients think their prescription plan does not allow for patients to receive their medications at a local pharmacy, this could be a misunderstanding or something to discuss with customer service of the plan. It could be a bit more of an out-of-pocket expense, but many times the plan will work with them on these medications. It could be life saving.
  • Getting these meds at a local pharmacy of a national chain can be helpful for those who travel a lot. Patients can often get their meds when out of state if they are an established customer of the chain.

Joy Pape, FNP-C, CDE
Medical Editor, Diabetes In Control

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