My prescription drug provider, let’s call them Aardvarks, has set things up so that refills are sent out to me automatically. They will also contact my doctor when the prescription expires to get a new one.
When they tried this last November for a drug called, let’s say, noDie, my doctor didn’t respond. Aardvarks sent me a letter saying, roughly, “Dude. Your doctor didn’t approve your new prescription. You’re gonna die if you don’t call him to get more drugs.”
Unfortunately, this letter got lost in all of the other spam that Aardvarks sends me.
Last weekend, I noticed that I was running low on noDie and checked Aardvarks’ site to see where the drugs had gotten to. That’s when I found out that my doctor hadn’t approved the new prescription and that I was gonna die.
I called prescription hot-line for my doctor’s office. In the past, I’d called here for prescription renewals. The voice-jail robot would tell me to provide my name, the spelling of my name, my date of birth, the name of the drug, the spelling of the drug, the dosage, and the phone number of the pharmacy that I use. A day or 2 later, I’d pick up the prescription at my pharmacy.
The voice-jail has been updated to say “we don’t do that anymore. If you want a renewal, tell your pharmacy to ask us nicely. Goodbye” and then hangs up.
This left me in a bit of a quandary. The doctor will renew the prescription only if the pharmacy sends a request and, I checked, the pharmacy wasn’t going to ask again.
I called my doctor’s office again and asked to leave a message with my doctor’s medical assistant. There’s no option for speaking with her directly and there certainly isn’t an option for getting to the doctor. I summarized my long sad story and asked her how I should resolve this.
Two days went by and I still hadn’t heard from anyone. I called my doctor’s office and tricked the voice-jail into connecting me to a human. I told my long sad story again. The human checked whatever it is that gets checked and told me that my prescription had been sent to a different but at least local pharmacy. The human also told me that the prescription had been renewed within minutes of my call.
I thought about telling the human that it would have been nice to have know this when it happened instead of having to play detective to get them to tell me about my own bloody prescriptions. However, this person was not the one who can change anything. It would be just as useful as yelling at the voice-jail system that I’d bypassed.
I like my doctor but not his office.
His office is apparently following 2 principles:
- Only volunteer information on a need-to-know basis.
- The patient has no need to know.
It seems ironic that the drug that I was trying to renew is to treat high blood pressure.