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Rant

On freedom of choice in pharmacies.

I’ll keep this one shorter than usual.

I advocate for the freedom to choose which pharmacy you can go to. Being told you can only use certain pharmacies does not encourage good care.

When a doctor prescribes a medicine for the patient to pick up ASAP, if they are locked into just one pharmacy chain and that pharmacy doesn’t have the medicine in stock, this presents a problem: That patient cannot get their medicine in a timely manner. Mail order doesn’t solve that problem: it exacerbates the hell out of it.

For maintenance medicines, I am only allowed to use mail order or Walgreens pharmacies, at the corner of Overworked and Burnt Out. All other medicines that are basically one-offs, I can still fill elsewhere, like at the local FredMeyer that saved my bacon in 2019 when I had that mail order fiasco in two parts, or the HealthMart pharmacy that I still get my non-maintenance medicines at and am on first name basis with half the staff.

I was prescribed a new medicine on Thursday, and, forgetting that the initial run was NOT a maintenance med, stupidly had it sent to Walgreens.

If this were the easy story, it’d have been sent to FredMeyer, and I’d be taking medicine today.

Nope, Walgreens did not have it in stock at all, and would need to order it. The communication of how long I would have to wait did not happen until I called them the next day and asked if it was ready. No, they’ll have it in stock in about a week, come pick it up on the 8th.

That is not acceptable. That’s nearly as slow as mail order.

Freddy’s will have it in on Monday. Three days faster than that national chain pharmacy, and with a day later start. FredMeyer to the rescue once more.

It’s pharmacy lock-ins that are dangerous for the consumer AND the pharmacists. When one health plan in the area has a lot of patients and mandates only one chain can be used, it dumps a lot of pressure on the shoulders of that pharmacy’s staff, and this means things can be missed, or fall behind, that care that I grew up with at a pharmacy is omitted for the sake of trying to not drown under the weight of concentrated work.

This is another reason that Pharmaceutical Benefit ManglersManagement companies shouldn’t be allowed to continue existing in this way.

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