TalesFromThePharmacy: "Only Brand, No Generic"
I had an encounter with this “smart lady” (SL) today, which left me with a feeling similar to having 3 finals back-to-back in college. A common trait with all of these patients that I’ve noticed is that they’re really simple issues that they blow out of proportion and then completely drop on us. Here’s what happened:
SL: Hi, I’m picking up for BriannaSmith10/12/1984andeverythingshouldbereadyIsawmydoctorsendit
(off to a great start, eh?)
Me: Alright, just one second while I load this up. Looks like I have 2 ready for you. Let me grab those for you.
Me: So your doctor sent 2 medications to us, one for Tylenol and Flonase.
(she grabs the bags to examine them. I notice her eyes getting wider as they travel from the name to the price tag)
SL: Neither of these have the names you said right now. This bag says “Ma..p.ap” and the other one says “Flu…tic..a..sone” Where are the ones you were talking about?
Me: Those are the generic equivalent versions of the drugs. Mapap is Tylenol and Fluticasone is Flonase.
(she gives me this look like I just cursed her family for the next 6 generations before mouthing off)
SL: And who gave you authorization to give me the generic? I only want the brand name!
Me: Well, just a few things I should note. One - your doctor did not mention that you only wanted brand name when he sent the prescription over. Two - you didn’t mention that you only wanted brand name even after you saw your doctor send it over.
SL: How is that my problem? You guys should have notified me. I’m taking these medications, not you, so I need to get what I want and when I want it.
Me: One more thing. Your insurance (Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program) doesn’t cover brand name drugs, especially ones that are over the counter. These are Tylenol and Flonase. The generics are covered, $0. The brand names aren’t.
SL: That doesn’t make sense. Drugs are drugs. Why does it matter if they’re over the counter or not?? They should be covered!
Me: That’s the reality of the situation. Most insurances don’t cover over the counter drugs and are even less likely to cover brand name versions of them.
SL: I don’t care what you have to do, but these have to be covered. I’m not paying a damn cent for these and you better get that in your head.
Me: We have two options: You take the generic versions or pay out of pocket for the brand name. That’s all I can do for you at this moment.
SL: NO! I need the brand name! Where’s your manager? Bring him/her over right now!
(something to mention is that at this point, it’s 30 min to close and 1 tech left early -we usually close with 2 techs but he felt sick- so it was just me and the pharmacist. she was on the phone fighting her own battle so I didn’t want to bother her.)
Me: She’s a bit occupied right now, but I can go ahead and get you the brand name since it’s so urgent then.
(I walk to the OTC aisle and grab a box of Flonase and Tylenol and set it on the counter)
Me: Alright then. The brand name for both will be $22.37. Will that be cash or credit?
(she didn’t take that very well. right before storming off, she says)
SL I can’t believe this place. Un-fucking-believable!