Considering the Drug in Question is an Antidepressant, Just Not Taking it May Be More Effective

I guess my insurance company stopped allowing Walgreens to be part of its reindeer games. I have no idea what the deal was, just that Walgreens was suddenly begging me to hassle Blue Cross/Blue Shield to not make whatever this change was. In this matter, Walgreens both overestimated how much sway I have with BC/BS and how much of a damn I give about who fills my monthly prescription.

In my city, every street corner has on it both a Walgreens and a CVS — someone decided that the best strategy was to always set up shop next to the other, because you can never have too many drugstores. So naturally, I decided to switch the prescription over to CVS, using this tool on their website.

In addition to the site being poorly coded (it asks for your address and zip code, then to find a store near you it asks for them again), it turns out it doesn’t work. When I went to pick up my order, it turned out the pharmacy never got the order. “Oh yeah,” the pharmacist said matter-of-factly. “The online thing loses, like, half the orders put into it.” I’ll give him this — when I then said, “Okay in that case I’ll just take this elsewhere,” he didn’t seem surprised.

Next I tried to transfer the prescription to Stop and Shop, our grocery store. I figure hey, we’re there weekly, so it’s convenient! I went to their online tool and I am happy to say that it didn’t lose my order. This is because it never got my order. When it got to the part where I put in my address and zip code to find the store near me, it couldn’t find one. No matter what I put in the fields, it was stymied. I even put the address of the actual store in the thing and it still insisted there was no Stop and Shop nearby. This was the only way to proceed, and I couldn’t proceed, so I had to give up.

Finally I tried Rite Aid. Everything went fine with their online tool, and I even got an email confirming that the transfer was received and was being processed. This morning I called to see if my prescription was ready, and it was CVS all over again. This time, however, the guy on the phone was a little more surprised that the web site had lost a prescription transfer because he was unaware there was an option to do so ON the web site. I guess that means not even half of those get through?

I live in one of the most medicated AND technologically advanced countries in the world. In America it’s assumed that everyone is carrying around a cell phone that can do things online, inform you of when they’re done, and find the best route to where it’s being done, all while hurling birds at buildings made by pigs. But three different pharmacies have online prescription transfer things that don’t do the one job they’re designed to do. I guess I’m going to have to physically walk the bottle over to a store like an animal so that they can process the transfer using telegraphs or bicycle messengers or orphans or whatever the hell else they use instead of, say, a global system of instant communication.

Here’s the thing, I never had any trouble with Walgreens’ web site. I guess I really should have signed their e-petition or whatever.

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5 Responses to Considering the Drug in Question is an Antidepressant, Just Not Taking it May Be More Effective

  1. CXM says:

    Walgreens asked me to take up the matter of their middleman’s dispute with BCBS “at the office” — as if I might have enough pull to get the ‘group’ to choose other than BCBS, or this particular package of employees, etc, might sway BCBS in negotiation. I explained to them why I would not.
    I do some tech support for a psychologist — did you know there is no HIPPA-approved method online, between dial-up and FTP, for billing medicaid? Staples carries a dial-up USB dongle just for doctors to pipe out medicaid billing. It’s all very ‘Brazil,’ with wires running everywhere, and prosthetics and remembering-not-to-use-the-phone-during-transfer, annoyance, patience-trying, and tryings-again.
    Stop and Shop del Muerta: You won’t be able to find it unless you already know where it is, and even THEN …
    My Walgreens has that cash register that makes change, and all the coins roll down into a tray at the far corner of the counter, closer to the egress, and I know “what’s going on there,” and somehow still I’m charmed.
    IRL is a hilarious place.

  2. Susan says:

    I had a variation of your problem, also with antidepressants. Our BC/BS teamed up with Caremark to offer long-term prescriptions by mail. It was easier for me to continue to just get the refills monthly at the local Walmart or wherever while doing other shopping.

    I received regular form letter requests from Caremark to utilize their prescription services. When I tried to fill in the requested information online, the ID card number I had been assigned (years ago) was declared invalid. So I continued to get the refills at the local pharmacy and pay the co-pay.

    In November, 11 months after this started, I went to the pharmacy and was informed that BC/BS would no longer pay for the prescription UNLESS I went through mail-order Caremark. I couldn’t afford full price for the medication and the current prescription at the pharmacy was non-transferable, so I had to phone and visit my doctor to receive a new script and they could fax to Caremark (I let them figure out the ID problem).

    Guess what? Caremark charged $10 more for a 3-month refill than the monthly co-pay would have cost at the local pharmacy. And I learned that as of April 2012 Caremark would no longer be filling BC/BS prescriptions anyway; the provider was going to change.

    The thought of what kind of sweet contract deal was made this time just leads me back to my medication…

  3. Wriphe says:

    I live in a town 45 miles south of downtown Atlanta, GA. Twenty years ago, my town had a smattering of local pharmacies and a couple of Eckerd Drugs to support the county hospital. Now that we are a bedroom community for the ever-expanding megalopolis to the north, it seems that there is a drugstore on every corner.

    CVS actually built and opened a store on a street corner undergoing expansion so that they would be ready when traffic eventually resumes. It’s been two years, and the street isn’t done yet. (“Shovel-ready” in Georgia means “let’s dig a hole and wait.”) The few people who try to use the store have to cross a giant gravel ditch and then patiently wait for traffic that is always backed up several hundred feet. The most baffling part of this plan is that there was already an existing CVS not 3 miles away in either direction on the crossroad.

    At this rate, all stores in my region will be drugstores as they displace all other real estate in their ever-expanding war on “inconvenience.”

  4. Dan says:

    You live in a city that you can buy drugs on any street corner, so why are you dealing with CVS/Walgreens/Etc at all? If only Der Krackhouse hadn’t closed.

  5. Dan says:

    On second thought, MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST CHEER UP! Duh!