Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pharmaceutical Phanaticism UPDATED

A few days ago I made a post here on the blog about my "adventure" with a mail-order pharmacy, and that my meds, ordered back on March 15, had not yet been received, and my continuing ordeal in trying to get the order after running out of my reserves and watching my health deteriorate.  In particular, my blood pressure went into the stratosphere, and I was in the danger zone, if you will, for almost a week with dangerously high BP, something that is regulated by one of the meds I take and had run out of.  At the end of the post, I stated that I had received a message from the mail-order company telling me the meds would be shipped within 5-business days (after they had promised me they would be shipped over-night), and that I was expecting to get short-term prescriptions from the local pharmacy here to get me by until the shipment arrived.  I was also scheduled to see my doctor on Tuesday for blood work and to assess the damage from being off all of my meds for over a week.

On Monday evening, I went to my local pharmacy to pick up the short-term prescriptions.  When I arrived, the place was packed.  This is exactly why I went to a mail-order pharmacy, so as to avoid the crowds and waiting that go with a busy pharmacy.  I waited patiently, and after 20 minutes, I got to the head of the line.  The cashier asked for my name, and then went to get my meds.  She appeared very frustrated when it was clear that I did not have an established account with them (since I had never been there before), and she would have to build it.  She took my insurance card and asked me to take a seat.  It was another 20 minutes before I was called to the front desk and was told that my insurance would not cover the 30-day supply of prescribed medications.  Since they had already paid the mail-order company for the prescriptions, they would not pay for the short-term prescriptions.  I replied to her that she must be kidding.  Two of the meds cost over $3/pill WITH insurance.  A 30-day supply of even one of the drugs was well over $100!  I was flabbergasted.  I started to tell her the story of my situation with the mail-order company and that this was because I had not received the other meds.  The pharmacist replied in a condescending tone, "I just got off the phone with them and they said they will not cover them."  Her tone, along with my frustration over the last several days, and with the stress on my body, caused me to bubble over in anger, and I said to her, "Well, I guess I'm just going to die tonight."  And then I walked out.

In hindsight, this was an absolutely stupid thing for me to do.  I needed the meds.  My life might well have depended on getting them right away.  I also took out my anger on an obviously tired and likely overworked pharmacist who chose the wrong customer to use a tone of voice better suited to someone who might be trying to "break the rules."  I probably could've paid for the heart meds, if nothing else, or even a week's worth to tide me over until my mail-order delivery arrived.  In any event, I wasn't thinking clearly, and I actually went home and broke down.  I felt awful and completely stressed out and I really had no idea what to do.

The next morning, I went to see my doctor.  He was the voice of reason I needed to hear.  He's a really good guy, knows his stuff, and has been caring for me for almost 20 years.  He's only a few years older than me, and has known his share of tragedy.  He also treats my father and brother, so he knows our family, and family health and history, well.  He got on his soapbox about the state of health insurance and decried the issues I was dealing with as something that is wrong throughout the industry.  He had samples of the meds I needed, and stressed to me that I could call him whenever I had an issue like this again.  He told me never to wait until I run out of meds.  It was common sense advice, but good to hear, regardless.

In the meantime, I finally received a message from the mail-order company on Wednesday telling me my meds had shipped, accompanied by a UPS tracking number.  My meds finally arrived late Friday afternoon, accompanied by a letter from them telling me that they were "...sorry for any inconvenience due to my not receiving the order shipped on 3/15/2015.  Enclosed is a replacement for this order."  I know, based on several phone calls to them, that the order NEVER shipped, so this is a lie.  The company lied to me several times throughout this ordeal, all to cover themselves from any wrong-doing.  It is now my word against theirs, however, and I don't believe I could do anything about it even if I wanted to.  My solution is to find another pharmacy option.

As I stated previously, there's a lesson to be learned here.  I don't know what it is, but I'll figure it out.  I'm just thankful that I'm still around to learn it.  I'll probably never know just how critical my situation was, but I can tell you that I never want to go through it again.  It was the worst I've felt in years.  But God is good, and He continues to be with me.  And for that, I praise Him.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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