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  1. #1
    ICN Member
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    Apr 2005

    My letter to Pharmacy-treated terrible like a drug addict!

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    This is a rough copy of a letter that I wrote to **** the cooperate office concerning how bad I was treated by thier staff members and pharmacist. I still have to fix the typos.

    Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 11:05:37 -0400

    July 24, 2007

    To Whom This May Concern:

    I am writing concerning the customer service by the staff members of the Shirley NY *****. I am a long time customer of **** for many years and I have never received such poor customer service and disrespect like I did by the staff of the Shirley NY **** pharmacy. I called on the morning of July 23, 2007 at approx. 9:00 am to refill one of my medications (Norco) using the rapid refill. The automated service said that my order was accepted and would be ready at 12:00. About a minute later my phone rang and it was a pharmacy staff member stating that it was too soon to refill my prescription and that I would have to wait until no sooner than Thursday. I explained that I was leaving to go on vacation on Wednesday to Florida and that I would need to take my medicine with me. Well the woman says ”You have to call your Dr to get a new prescription and have it filled when you get down there.” My prescription is due July 29 and I have 3 refills for this prescription. The law says that I can have my prescription up to 7 days before it is due to have it refilled. Well I never wait until the last pill to run out and have it filled. As I am very sick and suffer from a chronic illness causing me take medication around the clock and it is serious that I can never run out of my medication at any time so I fill my prescriptions every month a few days before I will run out. Well after I hung up with her I called back asking to speak to the pharmacist. I explained to the woman that if it was possible to stop by before I leave on Wednesday (which would only be 4 days early) to get my medicine. And being that the law says they can fill up to 7 days before it is due it should not be a problem because at that point it would only be 4 days. She blurts out ”Is this a pattern with you?” I am now very offended and upset. I explain to her that the reason why I called today (on Monday July 23) to have my pain medication (Norco) filled is because I have another prescription to fill and it would be easier to get them the same day. I go on to explain (when I should not have to) that the other prescription is for something else, a steroid to take before a blood test tomorrow the next day. And out of convenience I would get the Norco that day because it was within the time allowed to refill it. And that now I have to drive all the way to Stony Brook which is not close(45 minute drive) to get another script to have filled on my vacation which is a major inconvenience. And I said that I have 3 refills on this prescription and that I wanted her name so that I could have my pain management Dr call and speak to her. She (pharmacist) then says “okay I will leave them a note to refill it on Wednesday morning. I never got her name. My husband called later on that afternoon approx between 2:30-3:30 and asked to speak to the pharmacist. Well this man (pharmacist) was rude and performed terrible customer service and actually hung up the phone on my husband. He says to my husband “ I do not know who you spoke to earlier but if you do not like the service here take your business elsewhere.” And then he hangs up on my husband. Well my husband called Cigna Insurance and Cigna told my husband to conference call the pharmacy because they do not know why the pharmacy did not fill the prescription because it was due to be refilled. Well my husband called the pharmacy back with Cigna on the phone and spoke to the same man (pharmacist) again and the pharmacist says “I do not have time to talk to Cigna.” He also said “ have some more self control with the Norco.” And then hangs up on my husband again. Both my husband and I are appalled and outraged by the treatment and disrespect of the **** staff. What kind of customer service is this? This is abuse and should not be allowed. I suffer from a serious chronic debilitating disease that is called Interstitial Cystitis. The quality of life with this disease is compared to be being worse than end stage renal cancer on dialysis. Along with some other medical problems I should not have to explain. I am suffering daily in pain and need medication to get by to function like everybody else. I have enough with my illness being sick and enough stress and to have to deal with being treated like this is very cruel and wrong and uncalled for. Both the staff member and these 2 pharmacists implied that I am a drug addict because I have to take daily narcotic pain medication. They do not know me or know how I suffer. Is this how all pain patients are treated by ****? I was treated like a lowlife and second class citizen and I deserve an apology. This is not the first time I was hassled and given a hard time filling my prescription by ****. In the past they even misplaced my medication. Another incident I dropped it off(prescription for Norco) at ****** pharmacy in Shirley and had 2 refills on the prescription and I was hassled and told that I would have to call back later because they did not have my prescription at all. I called back several times and I was told to call back the next day so that they could pull up the prescription on the hard drive. I was even told to call the other **** on Montauk Hwy because I supposively (I did not) have my prescription transferred to the other **** on Montauk Hwy in Shirley. Well after numerous phone calls and speaking to a friendly staff member of the Montauk Hwy Shirley ****, a staff member pulled up my prescription and says “yes you do have a prescription with refills and call the other **** to tell them and that they have it.” I finally called the ***** back again and told them that they do have my prescription and the pharmacist who is always rude says “ yes we do have it and it will be ready in an hour.” Now why did I have to get upset and deal with that and all those phone calls back and forth when all they had to do was pull it up on the hard drive because they had it all along? When my husband went to pick it up, the man was rude and said “ the confusion was that you had your prescription transferred to the other pharmacy and it a little suspicious.” My husband left upset and confused by the this pharmacists’ words. We did not have it transferred and why was it suspicious and it was their mistake? It is an ongoing hassle every month filling my pain medications. We pay a lot of money for insurance and spend a lot on medications. My family has used **** for almost 30 years. After how I was treated on the phone I took my prescription to CVS and had it filled with pleasant friendly pharmacy staff associates. I am so distraught that on Wednesday I do not even want to go to **** to pick up my medicine. I will probably send someone to get it for me and this is not right. I am so upset and I hope that something is done to fix this situation. I hope to hear from someone from **** about this matter to rectify the situation. Thank you for your time and cooperation. Any questions feel free to contact me at *********

    Last edited by ICNDonna; 07-24-2007 at 02:15 PM. Reason: Negative comments about a specific company.

  2. #2
    ICN Member Claredale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I had to quit going to **** due to remarks similar to what you had, plus they filled one of my meds with the opposite type of medicine and gave me a hard time when I tried to get my money back (after the manager had already told me that I could). They told me that I had already taken 2 weeks worth. I told them yes, I realize that now, but if I hadn't have happen to show another pharmacy the meds I was on, the mistake wouldn't have been realized and I was already having so bad side effects due to the incorrect med. Even my doctor tells his patients that he doesn't recommend **** since he has had several issues meds being mixed up. My doctor uses a computer to write his scripts, so it's not like they couldn't read them.

    I hate to tell you this, but I also wrote a letter to their corporate office. I work for a large company and I know how important it is to keep customer's happy! When I got my "phone call" the lady had the nerve to tell me that I have also moved my medicine between 2 different ****. (One is close to my home...and the other close to my work..which I explained) She also mentioned that my file indicates that my doctor changed my dosages quite a bit on my B& O supp and my Loratab. I told her that I go to the doctor once a month for med checks and I am sure that as an IC specialist, he is very aware of what meds and dosages I need. I asked how that was their business? I did explain that I had a chronic bladder disease and like you was in constant pain. I also have Cigna and was told on several occasions by Cigna that they were approving my meds and when I got to ****, they hadn't "checked their messages" or something. I definitely felt embarrased when there were people around as well as the way they looked at me. The **** rep said that she just needed to mention that the meds that I was on were very addictive and if I had tried other meds. I was furious needless to say! I told her that I had a implant to help with my freq/urg and I was actually on less meds than I had been in years. She also said that brought up a flag for concern when narcotics are transferred. I told her that there commercials certainly don't make that point! I to make sure my meds are filled before I actually run out, since I never know if something may happen and I can't get to a pharmacy (which has happened before and I was an hour from the closest pharmacy).

    She hung up on me as well when I told her that I had already moved my meds to Rite-Aid. The 2 Rite-Aids that I use happen go to both have pharmacist that are very familiar with IC which is remarkable. The one closest to me told me that his wife has suffered with IC for over 30 years.

    I hope for your sake that you get some satisfaction. I realize that there are people out there that have caused these feelings with pharmacies and other medical personnel, but I am under contact medical care. My doctor doesn't even write refills on any of my meds anymore. He has let me now that If I do run out of pain meds due to a flare, he will call the pharmacy himself since I have had so many issues with pharmacy techs in the past.

    Last edited by ICNDonna; 07-24-2007 at 02:04 PM.

  3. #3
    ICN Member jjt001's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Northern California
    Having worked in insurance for years (and even for CIGNA, working with the pharmacy department), I would strongly suggest filing a grievance with CIGNA as well, since they will also investigate what happened and take action as needed with the pharmacy. I wouldn't just CC them on the letter, I would very specifically state in the letter that you are filing a grievance regarding your treatment by their contracted pharmacy, then go on to detail your issues (including dates, if possible). Good luck!

  4. #4
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Western NY
    I am so sorry you had to go through all that! You are definately doing the right thing by writing to them and you have gotten great suggestions from the other ladies. I understand what it is like to be treated like an addict b/c I am on two different controlled substances and it isn'tfair at all. First I had my diagnosing Uro suggest that I was exaggerating pain and telling me he wouldn't give me pain killers anymore (after one month) b/c they are meant for pain like "having a tooth pulled". Let me tell you, I didn't need painkillers after having a tooth pulled and the IC pain was SO much worse. Needless to say, I found a new Doctor. And things were much better, both with the Doctor and the pharmacy. Then I had one branch of the pharmacy I use give me a hard time about filling my prescritptions there, they made me show several forms of ID to pick up my Valium, and the pharmacist refused to talk to me, she spoke to the associate, who talked to me, and vice versa. It was embarrassing and unprofessional. I just decided not to use that branch again, but should have spoken up.
    In your case you are very much justified to go to a different pharmacy, and take whatever further action you feel is necassary.
    I understand illness discrimination first hand. I had an issue with a large chain store refusing me restroom access and I ended up being incontinent (which at 25 is a horrible thing). I did write a letter to the company, but never heard back. In my case, they weren't breaking any laws (not here in NY anyways...) and beyond reporting them to the building inspector to find out if they are breaking a building code by not having public restrooms, there was little I could do.
    I would really encourage you to send the letter, but not let it end at that if they don't respond to you in a way you feel makes the situation better. I agree that there were MAJOR issues with the way you were treated and perhaps even HIPPA violations as well.
    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
    Oh, where you able to enjoy your vacation? I hope you had a good time!
    Last edited by RAS6; 07-24-2007 at 09:35 AM. Reason: added info
    IC; PFD; possible Fibromyalgia; IBS;

    Symptoms: Frequency, Urgency, pelvic and bladder pain, bladder and pelvic spasms, difficulty starting urination, weak stream, incontinence, vaginal and urethral pain

    I've Tried:
    three Hydrodistentions, various Rescue Installments; 6 DSMO treatments; Pyridium Plus; Proced; Detrol (patch); Elavil; Uricet K; Elmiron; Nortiptyline; Ultram; Allegra; Ditropan; Ditropan ER; Vesicare; regular Lidocain; Neurontin; Lyrica; and few more I can't remember!
    Currently using:
    Valium; Vicadin; Proced DS; Claritin; Buffered Lidocain; Cymbalta; Baclofen; Prazosin @ night (also on Prednisone and Adderall for my joint pain and severe fatigue)
    Heating pads; frozen water bottles; A&D ointment; Poise pads; IC dieter since 8/06; yoga; imagery & relaxation CD, Mindfullness, self healing CD's; hot baths; seat cushion; prayer
    I am 28 yrs old, dx'ed in '06, still trying to get my health undercontrol!!

  5. #5
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Thank you for your responses. I am so upset about this! It is ruining my week! It is all I can think about I am so angry!!! Good idea about filing a grievance with Cigna! And I am sure that they also broke some HIPPA law as well! They do shout my business out loud between the employees! They did it yesterday when I was on the phone and also when I was standing there a few times in the past. I am not going to give up until I get an apology and there is some action taken with those employees!

  6. #6
    ICN Member sandramac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Stand up for your rights. I'm sorry it happened but glad you are doing somthing about it.!
    Hugs Sandra
    "Never Give Up."

    To view pictures of my creative interests and Maine Coon kittens click here:

    My Photobucket Link:

  7. #7
    ICN Staff ICNDonna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    While I absolutely understand that there are some pharmacies who give less than satisfactory service, negative reports naming specific businesses are a potential legal problem --- so if you have a problem with any business, please do not name them specifically on the forums.


    Have you checked the ICN Shop? for US & Canada for all others

    Patient Help:


    Diet list:

    AUA Guidelines:

    I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

    Anyone who says something is foolproof hasn't met a determined fool

  8. #8
    ICN Member tigger_gal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    I have had problem after problem with error on my scripts with my pharmacy, they never got who to bill right, even after telling them to remove one. I toll would write a letter, however, you do not need to explain anything other than you were treated disrespectfully. you do not need to explain what, why, or how come you need these medications. The fact is you were treated rudely and you are mad about it with good reason. Cut all the what is wrong with you out of it, keep it short and to the point.. How do I know this.. personal experience. Tell them what they need to know and nothing more.

    I am so sorry you were treated like this. It really makes you want to knock the crap out of them.
    'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

  9. #9
    ICN Member Berkshire Road's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    New Jersey
    I just want to express my sympathy. I know what it's like to be treated like a drug addict, and I am still upset when I think about it, even years after the fact. I am so proud of you for writing your letter! You're helping all of us.

    I get my narcotics and everything else filled in a local, independent pharmacy where my family and I have gone for over 20 years. They just pulled me aside once and asked, nicely, "Carrie, what is going on with all these narcotics?" I said, "I have Interstitial Cystitis." Then they expressed their sympathy, and I've never had a problem since. (See, I have been going there so long that they call me Carrie -- I haven't been called that in a long time!) So maybe smaller pharmacies can do a better job sometimes, because they get to know you. This pharmacy is open 9-9 on M-Sat, and a few hours on Sunday, so it's not too inconvenient.
    Je vous souhaite de la joie, de la bonne santée, et tout ce qu'il y a de bon dans la vie.
    Wishing you happiness and good health, and all the best out of life.

    Peace, Carolyn

    Laura (11), Susannah (12 1/2) and Maman (that's me!), North Wildwood NJ, September 2007

    On the Beach with IC

  10. #10
    ICN Member cass2376's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Manteca, California

    Thumbs up

    I am SO sorry this happened to you! What nerve! I to have been treated like an addict at a pharmacy a few times and finally got the nerve up to speak to a manager. They apologized but I still left because the lady who was rude and got in trouble always gave me this rude look and was cold to me. I felt like she was talking behind my back because when I would get there to pick up a script, she would say something to other workers behind the counter and they would kind of look at me. You know when you can just sense your being talked about and not in a nice way? Anyway, I felt so hurt and angry I just left and went to another pharmacy that was so great and truley was concerned for me and my health. They always asked how I was feeling and if they had any new info available on IC or Fibro, they would print it out and give it to me, now that's service!! I am so proud of you for writing that great letter!! You did a great job, fight for your rights!! Like it was said before, your not only writing this letter for you, but for others that have been treated unfairly too. Good luck and I hope you have a great time on Vacation, enjoy yourself!
    Take care and God Bless, Cassandra
    dx Fibromyalgia April 2000
    dx Endo. Dec. 2003 had hystorectomy Feb. 2004
    dx IC May 2004
    dx Acid Reflex Nov. 2009
    dx Restless Leg Syndrom July 2010
    dx Degenerative Arthritis in my spine Oct. 2011
    lost my mind: A long time ago!! LOL

    Isaiah 41:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    Meds: Elmiron 100mg once daily, Gabapentin 3200mg daily for nerve pain, Trazadone 50mg, Morphine ER 30mgs 2 times a day for chronic pain , Norco 10/325mg 2 times a day for breakthrough pain, Simvastatin 20mg for high cholesterol, Omeprazole 40mg once a day for Acid reflux, Oxybutynin 5mg twice daily for bladder frequency and spasms, Pyridium as needed, and Zyrtec once daily for allergies
    Also a big hug and kiss from my husband Joe and my 4 kids-Jo-Jo, Jenae, Victoria, and Janelle everyday as needed, ( I take this "med" often )!!!!

  11. #11
    ICN Member mimimama's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    My comfy lil home
    Wow. i am just speechless. I cannot believe how badly you were treated.

    I always feel very paranoid when taking new pain RX's to my pharmacy. Recently, my dr has been trying to find the right drug for me and we have tried 3 in one week. I have been taking them to the same pharm but am getting more anxious that they will think something bad. It's silly I know but, because of my age, i find that I am much more scrutinized. I also APPEAR to be healthy.


    Currently battling:
    Panic attacks/Anxiety Disorder

    Current Treatments:
    Pain Meds and Anxiety Meds
    Gentle Physical Therapy
    Heating Pad~my best friend
    Lots of hot baths w/ Epsom Salts & Baking Soda
    Tens Unit

  12. #12
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    ICN Donna

    Sorry I did not know it was a legal issue. I will not mention specific names in the future.

  13. #13
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Thanks everyone!

    Thank you all for your support! I am getting ready to leave for my vacation! I sent my mom to the pharmacy to get my meds as I am writing this. I hope they do not give her any problems. She is really upset about how they treated me. She wanted to say something to them when she got there but I told her not to. I told her that it is not worth it and that I am going to take care of it by contacting customer service,the pharmacy manager him/herself, the pharmacy cooperate office, district manager,director,president of the company if I have to.I will speak to whoever will listen basically! I re-wrote my letter to make it sound a little more proffesional. My friend helped me who works for an attorney`s office. I am not giving up on this! I will post when I get back from vacation! I wish everyone a happy and pain-free day!God bless you all!


  14. #14
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    I am so sorry this happened to you. I have had a couple situations with pharmacies but nothing that bad. I hate that they can make you feel so....dirty, I guess. I have always been a goodie girl, I hated to get in trouble, so to all the sudden be treated like someone bad is just awful.
    I was also going to tell you that you should not just write the letter but follow up on it. Like call and ask if they read it, if there was any action taken, etc. I know from my own work experience that complaints can be heard and acknowledged but then forgotten about.
    Just last time I refilled my breakthrough meds, the pharmacist called my mom up there(she fills my scripts for me cause I live out of state) and asked her if I "really took all those pills, cause it was a lot" and then made her wait for 2 hours while they called the doc to make sure! I was pretty mad.
    Let us know what happens!
    Current meds; , effexor 37.5 mg 2 times a day, and lyrica 100 mg 3 times a day, lots of reading and snuggling with the pets!

  15. #15
    ICN Member momw/ic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    I, too had problems about a year ago with a well-known pharmacy chain. The pharmacist actually told my uro on the phone that I needed pain managment. The uro told her that HE was managing my pain and that he was going to report her for practicing medicine without a license by refusing to fill a script. Turns out, he did report her and she was not fired but has a mark against her on her record. He told me that the main phrase to use when the pharmacists refuse to follow the orders of the doctor - including just filling a written script - is "practicing medicine without a license". It is not their decision to make whether or not the patient needs the meds, or has the correct dosage. To make any adjustments in the medication or to refuse to give it is making important medical decisions about your care without the knowledge of being an M.D. THAT is illegal! It might help to use that phrase in your letter. Could you pm me an tell me what pharmacy it was you had trouble with? I have a feeling we all probably had problems with the same one.

    I, too have changed to a small, family owned pharmacy where they get to know everyone personally. It has been great. Yes, it is more inconvenient because they close early, don't have Sunday hours, close at noon on Saturday and can't be use when out of town or anything. I have to really plan ahead but I love that they know me and I don't get those "looks". One of the meds I take is the methadone wafer and they come in orange and plain and they have ordered me both so I can try them and see which I like best. The only have 2 patients who take that medication. I think it makes a big difference.

    Sorry this has happened to you. Be diligent and hold your ground!
    Live life to the fullest day to day. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

    DX: IC - November 2002 after hysterectomy
    Interstim implanted March 2006 - died May 2011
    Interstim replacement June 2011
    Meds: Pain meds, muscle relaxer, cystex, and marcaine bladder instills as needed.
    Docs: Pain management doc, urologist, family practice

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