Saturday, June 6, 2009

Kudos to Target Pharmacy

Thursday I went to Target to get a pharmacy prescription refilled.

As usual there, the lady told me that the prescription would be ready in 10-15 minutes. When I came back, she apologized that my prescription had expired. It seems that prescriptions are only valid for one year, so if the prescription covers refills for a year it's easy for the prescription to have expired before the last refill is obtained.

She then said that she had already contacted the doctor's office for an extension and was waiting for a reply. She said to check back tomorrow (Friday) or Monday; and since I only had one pill left, she gave me three more to cover the weekend.

On Friday, I called since I had to be in the area anyway. While I had to navigate the phone menu to get someone, when I did get someone, she remembered me right away. She said that they had heard back from the doctor and that my refill was ready.

When I got to the store a few minutes later, she had my refill waiting, with 87 pills instead of 90 to make up for the three she gave me the day before. She said that the doctor had called with the prescription 10 minutes after I left and they had filled it right away.

In comparison, the most popular pharmacy chain in the country, Walmart, would have required I wait in line for 15 minutes just to check the status of the refill. On my first check, the response is usually that they just got the request, even if I had placed it two hours previously in the hope it would actually be ready. They usually then say that they will "put a rush on it" and to check back in 30-45 minutes (down from the 60-minute normal wait). When I get back, I again have to wait in line, and will probably be told that they are "filling it now - give them another 15 minutes." In another 15 minutes, I have to get back in line. So, I have my prescription in-hand 1 1/2 hours later (45 minutes wait, plus 15 minutes wait, plus two waits in line at 15 minutes each). Not including the time between placing the order though the refill phone number and when I first went to the store. Target's wait is only 10-15 minutes total, no excuses, no waiting lines. And that is only if I had not even mentioned the refill before; if I had requested in advance, it would have been ready with no waits at all.

But when, in this case, the prescription had expired, if WM had handled it themselves at all, they would not have handled it the same day; I would have had to wait until Monday, just to go through the above process all over again. And they sure wouldn't have given me a few pills against the prescription to cover the weekend - I would have just been out. Target did it all themselves and quickly, without me even asking.

So, Target saved me at least 1 1/2 hours. And frustration. And they have the same price of $4/30 days and $10/90 days for generics that Walmart does.

If you want them to, you can actually have them automatically refill your prescriptions and let you know when they're ready for pickup, handy if you have several. And it would have avoided my expiration problem...

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