Since I moved my housing costs are a bit higher, so I’ve been looking for more ways to save money. I’ve been able to grow some of my own food this summer, so that’s been good, and buying more of my clothes at the thrift shop has saved me a lot of money. The University has been encouraging its employees to use the Walgreen’s mail order pharmacy to save money (we can get a three months supply of maintenance drugs for two months copay), so I thought I would give that a try.
From the very beginning I wondered if they really had their act together. On the registration form it said no PO boxes for the address, even though they said they would be mailing it via the US postal service, and they only had a space for one address, not a separate billing address and shipping address. So I had to call them and explain that my PO box is my billing address on my credit card, my address with the university, my insurance, all my medical records, so just what address did they want me to use? The representative said, “Oh, we’ve changed that. You can use a PO box now.”
Well, that’s good. But did it occur to anyone to change the form so it doesn’t say “no PO boxes” for eternity? Duh?
So I registered online, entered my credit card information so I wouldn’t have to give it to them every time I ordered, entered my email address so they would email me when my order was in process and when it was mailed, and that was that. The registration was done.
A few days later I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. He said I was doing great and wrote a prescription to refill one of my antidepressants. I asked him if he could write it for three months so I could start doing the mail order pharmacy to save money. No problem. He wrote it for a 90 day supply to be refilled 3 times.
I looked at the form I needed to mail along with the actual prescription and it asked for my credit card number. I called them up again to ask if I had to write that on the form even though I had already given it to them when I registered. She said I could just write “credit card on file” on the form, but she looked up my account to make sure they actually had the information.
They didn’t. Um. I had entered it. Hello? No, they didn’t have have any credit card information for me. So I had to give her the information again over the phone for her to enter it.
I filled out the form and mailed it along with the prescription from the post office that evening, Monday the 11th. They said to allow two weeks. Ok.
Tuesday the following week I got an automated phone call that said my order was in process and they would call again when it was mailed. Well, alright, I thought. At least they got my order. And I should have it in a few days. But I wondered why they called when I gave them my email address?
So for the next few days I waited for another call telling me they had mailed it. And waited. Um. They said two weeks. I had enough to last two weeks, but then I’d be out. I looked at my online banking. No, they still hadn’t charged my card. No more calls from them, no emails from them. Friday evening I called to ask what was going on.
The representative said the pharmacist had left a message for my doctor the previous Saturday asking for clarification and hadn’t heard back.
What the fuck? Citalopram 20mg. A 90 day supply. 90 pills. What the hell kind of clarification do you need?! “He needed clarification about the directions.” Directions?! 90 days, 90 pills? How about TAKE ONE A DAY!
She insisted they couldn’t fill it until they heard back from my doctor, even though I told her I was almost out and I wasn’t supposed to just stop taking it, that I’d been on it for months, and that the directions were pretty clear — take one a day. Nope. The doctor had to call.
I also asked her why they had called instead of emailed when I had given them my email address when I registered. She looked at my account, and you guessed it, there was no email address there. I gave it to her and asked her it there was any other information missing. She said it was all there. But yeah, basically when you register online with them, half the information you enter is going into a black hole.
Saturday morning I scored my one remaining pill so I could take half a pill then and the other half Sunday.
I called the clinic on Saturday but no one answered. My doctor sees patients at several different offices but he’s only at the Ann Arbor office on Saturdays. But for all I knew he could be on vacation for a month. He’s the only one seeing patients there on Saturdays, so if he’s not there, there wouldn’t be a receptionist there. I left a very detailed message in case anyone did come in later. No one was there until Monday morning though, and I actually called again before the receptionist had a chance to listen to messages. I left my work number for him to call me back at and tell me what was going on.
A few hours later the receptionist called and said he had found out that they had received the earlier message and faxed back clarification. (Why was I not surprised?) They weren’t able to reach my doctor, but they had another doctor contact them this second time, so it should be taken care of.
I called Walgreen’s again to confirm that they had received the clarification and were now processing my order, because at this point I was convinced that the people working there had an IQ of 3. She said yes, they were now processing it. “So it will go out today?,” I asked. “It may go out today,” she replied. I explained that I was out of my medication and that I really wasn’t supposed to just stop taking it. That seemed to mean nothing to her.
Ok, I thought. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. I’ll have it in a few days. I can get through this.
The next day I got an email from them. “Processing of a recent prescription order has been delayed. Please log in to your secure Walgreens Mail Service mailbox for specific information.” What? But of course I couldn’t log in to my secure Walgreens Mail Service mailbox. You know why not? Because they wanted me to enter a prescription number. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Right.
So I called them again. “Oh, that email must have been delayed. Your order is being processed.” “So it will go out today?” “It may go out today.” Ggrrrr.
In my mail that day was a letter from them dated August 20. “We are unable to complete the order referenced above. As noted in our previous communications to you, we have attempted to contact your prescriber but have been unsuccessful in obtaining the necessary information to complete your order. If you would still like this prescription filled…”
Previous communications? What previous communication would that be? The only
communication prior to the 20th was when they called me on the 19th
to tell my order was in process. Or was the email I received on the
26th sent out earlier than the 20th?
If I would still like the prescription filled? Oh, no, just forget about it, don’t bother to fill it. I’ll just go without it. It’s only the medication I need to make my brain work, you fucking morons! Geez. Obviously I’m never going to send them another prescription, but they need to either fill this one for me or mail it back to me so I can take it to another pharmacy who will fill it, not just hold it hostage. Geez, I’ve read about some pharmacies pulling crap like this with prescriptions for emergency contraceptives (“we don’t want you to have this drug so we’re not going to give it to you and we’re going to make sure no one else does either”), but are some people so dead set against antidepressants they’re pulling that stunt with whatever drug they feel like?
No, I’m probably just being paranoid because my brain chemistry is totally fucked. This week has been really hard. Lots of irrational thoughts, lots of waking up at 5am and crying for 2 hours, dizzy spells, thoughts I just really don’t want to have.
Wednesday I called them again and said, “Look, I called Monday and you said ‘it may go out today.’ I called yesterday and you said ‘it may out out today.’ It HAS TO GO OUT TODAY!” She asked if I was out of my medication. I had said I was out when I had called on Monday and Tuesday — do these people even listen? I answered, “Yes, I’m OUT! I’ve been out for DAYS! I’m not supposed to just stop taking it!”
She said she would let the pharmacist know it was a rush order that needed to go out today. She couldn’t guarantee it would go out that day, but she would let the pharmacist know.
A few hours later I looked at my online banking and they had finally charged my card. Later I got an email saying it had been mailed. Finally. So…mailed Wednesday, should arrive Friday or Saturday.
I went to my PO box after work Friday. Nothing.
I made a special trip downtown to check my box Saturday. Nope. I even asked the clerk if he could check if there were any packages for me. Nothing.
And now it’s Sunday and there’s no mail. And Monday’s a holiday so there won’t be mail. If I’m lucky it will be there Tuesday. If I’m lucky they’ll have actually gotten the order right.
I will never never never send another prescription to Walgreen’s as long as I live, and if anyone asks me about them, I will tell them no, you don’t want to use them. There are some good ways to save money. This is not one of them. The time I have spent, the aggravation, the frustration, and above all, the ill effects on my health, so far outweigh any monetary savings, it would be laughable if I didn’t feel like total hell.