7 Things Your Pharmacist Isn’t Telling You

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Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Dear Pharmacy Patient:

We need to talk. See, I’ve been noticing that you sometimes don’t pick up your refills, or you’re shocked at the high price of your prescriptions. I can see your frustrated face when you’re waiting in line, and I know it’s aggravating when your prescription isn’t ready.

Believe it or not, I want to help. I went to school and spent years studying, and not just so I could wear this white coat. I took this job because I care. I want to help you be healthy, but it’s also important to me that you are able to afford your prescriptions.

So I’ve prepared this list of 7 insider tips that can help you, your wallet, and your relationship with your pharmacist the next time you’re filling a prescription. Read on.

1. Five hidden secrets to saving money at the pharmacy

Saving on your prescriptions can be complicated, but here’s a great place to start—ask me! Don’t be afraid to ask your pharmacist for help.  No one knows drug prices better than I do. Here are 5 tips I use all the time:

2. The best way to refill your prescriptions

Don’t want any hiccups when you come in to pick up your meds? Try this: call me or bring your bottle to the pharmacy when you have 7 days of medication left. This is super important because there are so many things that can go wrong, and a week gives us time to fix any issues like:

3. You can get a 3-day emergency fill if your prescription has run out

Almost none of my patients know that if you do run out of medication before you can get a refill from your doctor, you may be able to get a 3-day supply while we wait. This will mostly apply to medications for serious, chronic conditions, like:

4. How to get your doctor’s office to fill your prescription faster

As much as you would like to think the pharmacy has a direct line to call your doctor for refills, we really don’t! We call the same number as you, the patient, and 98% of the time we have to leave a message and wait for a returned call.
To help get your refill as quickly as possible, I recommend my patients also touch base with their doctor. You might need to schedule an annual visit, or complete blood work before you can get a refill, and giving the office a call directly will save time.

5. How to stop using unnecessary medications

Being overmedicated will not only put a dent in your wallet but can do your health more harm than good. Talk to your pharmacist if you are concerned that you you may be taking too many medications—we can help you get to the bottom of it.
Your pharmacy may offer medication therapy management or MTM, and it’s free for most patients with Medicaid or Medicare. Your pharmacist will sit down with you face-to-face or over the phone to discuss your medications in-depth. We can help you track down unwanted side effects, unnecessary medications, alternative and less expensive options, and much more.

6. When to avoid the pharmacy

I like you and I want to make time to help you—but if you want the most attention from me and my staff, try to avoid coming to my pharmacy at peak times. It will make your trip faster and more pleasant.
It can be hard to know when your pharmacy will be busy, but our most crowded days and times are:

7. There are other pharmacy services that you didn’t even know existed

The role of a pharmacist can vary a lot depending on one state to the next. In many cases though, a pharmacist can do much more than just fill your prescription.

A pharmacist in a retail or grocery store may offer:

A pharmacist in a hospital or clinic may offer:

Well, thanks for listening to me. When you’re waiting in line at the pharmacy or trying to get your refill straightened out, remember that I’m just trying to help. In fact, everyone at your pharmacy, including technicians and interns, is working hard behind the scenes from the time you drop your prescription off until the time you pick it up.

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