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What do I do, pharmacist is overcharging elderly mother

Pharmacy is refilling too soon, shorting her medication and overcharging her credit card.
Status: Open    May 23, 2016 - 07:37 AM

Senior Health & Nutrition

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May 23, 2016 - 02:19 PM

You need to get the police involved as well as the governing body of the pharmacy such as the state licensing for the pharmacy.

May 27, 2016 - 09:38 AM

As a former retail pharmacist, I think there may be several things happening here:

1. Her meds are being refilled too soon because the pharmacy probably has her prescriptions on an auto-refill status. This is when the prescriptions are refilled when the pharmacy's computer system (and patient's insurance) calculate that a patient's medication is around 85% gone. This always ends up being inaccurate, and the patient has plenty of medication. Big box pharmacies will penalize their pharmacists for not having enough prescriptions on auto-refill. CVS is notorious for doing this. So I would advise asking the pharmacy if her meds are on auto-refill and to remove them, so you or your mom can call in her medications when she is close to running out.

2. Shorting her medication- if this is just a few tablets, then it is probably human error. Do not be afraid to ask them to count the medication in front of you. If it is a bigger quantity, such as, 30 or 60 tablets, the medication probably comes in a container of 30 tablets. So whoever is actually putting the medicine in the bottle, has only pulled one bottle of the shelf (a 30 day supply) as opposed to two or three bottles for a 60 or 90 day supply respectively. Again, do not be afraid to ask them to count it in front of you when you or your mom picks up. Also, many (not all) pharmacies have an inventory system that tells them how much of each drug should be on their shelves. So if the quantity on their shelf is higher than what the computer says, they have definitely shorted your mother. If you receive any push-back from the pharmacy on this, or any issues, don't be afraid to ask for their district manager's contact information.

3. Overcharging her credit card- do they actually have her credit card on file? If so, request it to be removed. However, if you are finding that there are medications that are going up in price, she may be in the Medicare Part D "donut hole." As we are almost half way into the calendar year, it is very likely this is the case. With the "donut hole" Medicare is only paying a certain small percentage of the cost, and she is paying the rest until she has spent a certain amount of money. My recommendation is to contact her Medicare Part D Plan (the phone number will be on the back of her insurance card). Ask them to look at her Explanation of Benefits to tell you what she should be paying for each medication. If she doesn't have Medicare, this still applies to any insurance company. Call the customer service number on the back of the card and they will be able to help you.
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