Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Auto refill fiasco!

I do promise to write about the fungal meningitis outbreak going on around the US at some point, but probably not until after the evil test of evilness on all the AIDS drugs and the immunopharmacology that goes with them (think an evil combo of complicated information combined with "-ovudine" and "-ivir" drug names that all sound like diseases themselves AND I'm behind on studying... shocker...).

This article from Consumerist is one of my favorites on the subject.  Apparently (and this is totally unsurprising if you've ever filled a prescription at a CVS more than once) pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have been bullied into signing people up for auto refill without asking them about it.  Speaking as a minion of a chain pharmacy, I can totally believe it.  My chain isn't nearly so heavy-handed about auto-refills on prescriptions.  The regional management just lectures the store manager about it and promises are made that "we'll try to get more people signed up" but when we didn't, there were no repercussions beyond another lecture in a few months.

I like auto-refill personally but not the way CVS does it.  We used to live very near a 24 hour CVS and so we got prescriptions filled there because we could just walk over any old time and fetch medicines if needed (or whatever, since the grocery store was across 6 lanes of insane traffic and then across a 2 block parking lot).  The week before I'd run out of something, CVS would call to remind me to pick up my prescription.  About every 12 hours (maybe only 10, but twice a day).  Starting before the thing was even ready with "your prescription will be refilled at your local CVS soon!" calls.

But I never actually signed up for auto refill.  I would have noticed that.  I'm kind of obsessive about reading things and so forth. It took about 4 months to get off of auto refill, and I had to ask twice. CVS kept calling me to invite me back as a valued customer for another 3 months after that.

So I hope this investigation changes the metrics that big chains use to determine success. Maybe customer satisfaction surveys might be better, for example. I hope CVS quits being so awful and remembers that a pharmacy exists to help patients stay healthy, not solely to make money. I really hope CVS quits filling dubious prescriptions just to make more money.

As an example of a CVS "helpful policy," here's my recent experience shopping there. I needed an antacid so I stopped in while out of town. I never shop at CVS because they made me so mad the last time I was a customer. When I went to pay for the antacid, the cashier asks if I have a rewards card and I say no, and no thanks, I don't want one. She rings me up, I pay, she hands me a receipt, AND a rewards card! Arg! What an awful policy!

I have two rules about getting a job after graduation: I will never work for CVS (or Wal-mart either for that matter) because corporations live and die by middle management's obsessions. Profit at the expense of patients is a pharmacy chain death sentence. It's only a matter of time.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! My CVS is wonderful. I never had a problem with them. They did put me on the auto refill program but only after I filled the prescription every month for a year. And when they called for the refill, it was only the day it was ready and once a day for 3 days. If I didn't pick it up in those 3 days, the calls stopped and the script was not refilled. When I stopped taking the med, they were very nice about taking me off the list. The pharmacists there have always gone above and beyond, especially during my IF treatments. I refuse certain pharmacies because they have goofed up more times than I can count. But I've never had an issue with CVS...of course I've probably just jinxed myself.