You’ve probably visited a pharmacist a couple times in your lifetime. Perhaps it’s even a regular thing. However, have you been making the most of your pharmacist? Do you know all that they have to offer?
Your pharmacist is there to help fill prescriptions that have been given by your doctors. However, is that all they do? Nope. Pharmacists also ensure that you know how to safely take the medication and are fully aware of any potential side effects. They also make sure that what you are taking won’t be affected by any other drugs on your drug list. They will consider the food you eat, the lifestyle you live, the conditions that you may be living with. They don’t just hand over the drugs - they make sure it’s safe for you to take and that you know everything you need to know about it.
Your pharmacist is the last healthcare professional in the way of you and your drugs, and they’re the final people that ensure that you will be using the right medicine safely. In the case that your pharmacist discovers something that may lower the efficacy of your drug, they may get into contact with your doctor and discuss the prescription. It’s possible that there be a better medicine available or even a different dosage.
Besides making sure every patient gets the medication that they need, pharmacists educate the general public and work alongside other healthcare professionals. They are the people your doctors consult when they need to decide on the medicine that is the best for you. They are the people you go to when you need an over-the-counter drug for a cold. They’re also great for figuring out how to prevent certain things. Your local pharmacist may even offer cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar monitoring services to ensure that your levels are safe.
Pharmacists are definitely valuable healthcare professionals. However, it doesn’t explain why it takes so long to fill a prescription. What goes on behind the glass?
Here are some reasons why prescriptions take time to fill:
Pharmacies are often pretty high traffic, and often don’t have enough employees. Each patient is there to receive medication, and this means that a pharmacist has to look at their prescription, get some background information, and get in touch with their doctor if need be.
Insurance policies can also add to the time it takes to fill a prescription. If your insurance company is supposed to be covering your prescription drugs, it may take time some for authorization to come through - sometimes even a whole day. Your pharmacist may spend time making sure everything goes right with regard to insurance, ironing out any kinks with the doctor, the company, or even just waiting for authorization.
Last but not least, drugs are very highly regulated. There are lots of time-consuming checks and processes that your prescription has to go through before your pharmacist can dispense your medications to you.
So how do you make your visit to the pharmacist as pain-free as possible? Let’s take a look:
While you’re at your doctor’s appointment, ensure that your drug prescription contains not only the name of the drug, but also the dosage, quantity, and directions for use. Your doctor must also sign the slip to authorize it. If you aren’t sure whether the drug will be covered by your insurance plan, ask. If it isn’t, ask your doctor if there are any other alternatives that may be covered.
Prior to getting to the pharmacy, ensure that your insurance information is current. You need to present the correct social security number and other information, or else you may be denied coverage and be forced to wait until the matter is cleared out until you can get your prescription filled.
If possible, ask your doctor to send the prescription information over to your pharmacist along with information on when you will be picking it up. Otherwise, get your pharmacist’s number so you can call in advance to confirm that your prescription is ready, so you avoid any unnecessary trips.
Opt to visit the pharmacy on lower traffic hours. Avoid lunch and after work hours if possible - it’s during these times when you are most likely to have a long wait.
Spend some time discussing the other drugs you are taking with your pharmacist to ensure that your prescription won’t be counteracting with what you are already taking. It won’t cost you any more, and will make sure that you are getting the drugs that will be effective for you.
Go to the same pharmacist every time. This way, your medication profile will be there and your pharmacist will be able to quickly see if there are any counteracting drugs on your drug list without you even having to tell them.
If you’re stopping by for a refill, ensure that all your refills have not already been filled. If you’ve already used up all your refills, get in touch with your doctor before going to the pharmacy so you won’t have to waste time at the pharmacy.
Another thing worth doing is setting up an automatic refill service for drugs you take on a continual basis. This may even allow you to get larger prescriptions so you don’t have to drop by as frequently.
Get to know your pharmacist and allow them to get to know you. This will not only help you build a rapport, but will make you more comfortable talking about drug-related things with them.
Take advantage of any other free services that may be offered as you wait for your prescription. If you can check your blood pressure level, do that. If you can check your weight or cholesterol levels, do that. You never know when that information may come in handy.