About a week ago, I decided that it was about time to renew several prescriptions, a decision informed by the following facts:

  • A couple of them were down to five or six left;
  • All of them would require approval of the prescribing doctor, who has a tendency to approve only 30 days' worth at a time;
  • It has become difficult for me to complete the transaction at my usual CVS pharmacy, since it's in the middle of a large Target store and I'm still stuck in this metal frame;
  • There's a freestanding CVS only a couple of blocks away;
  • CVS.com has a function to reorder from a different store, right there on the site;
  • I dared not wait, because a couple of them were down to five or six left, and as of the first of January, CVS is no longer in my network and I'd have to fork out as much as $350 for just one of these drugs.

I duly punched numbers and checked boxes, and thought no more about it until Wednesday, when I realized that I'd received no notifications from CVS. I went back to the Web site, and discovered no trace of my order; there had been, it said, no activity since the last week of November. I swore the kind of oath you might think I'd swear under these circumstances, and re-entered the lot. This time I got an email response, indicating that I should expect the order to be filled at the new store by 6 pm Friday, which was fine with me.

About 3:00 Friday, while getting ready to go pick up the week's groceries from Walmart, I placed a call to that store. They informed me in no uncertain terms that they didn't know me from a can of paint and that they'd received no such order, not Wednesday, not ever. I called the old store, just in case. They hadn't seen anything from me either. By now, several of the prescriptions were about to run out.

So I started composing a nastygram in my head while my fingers brought up the Contact Us link. I would get a response in email, it said, within five business days. Another oath, and then I reached for the phone.

After two levels of phone tag, I got through to someone at Customer Care who was actually willing to go through back records and discover that I wasn't just making this stuff up. She was at least somewhat apologetic, and said that I would be contacted promptly by their local pharmacy supervisor; "local," if Caller ID is to be believed, is in Tulsa, but the supervisor did call within ten minutes.

Some of this, perhaps, could have been avoided were they able to speak to the physician himself. But no; he takes off Friday at noon, as he always has. Could they lend me a few tablets until Monday or Tuesday? Afraid not, she said sadly; the two drugs in direst need were on Schedule IV, which means that the Federal Drug Warriors would stomp them into the ground if they dared to fork over so much as a single unauthorized tab. I had to concede that this was true.

Finally we hit on an agreement for a non-solution solution: I would attempt to do without for the weekend, and Monday they would make the necessary contacts, fill the prescriptions for the two drugs in direst need, and waive the additional price. I would request that the other prescriptions be called in to a non-CVS pharmacy — as it happens, if you draw a line between those two CVS locations, it will land in the parking lot of a Walgreen's — and pick them up on whatever schedule they happen to have. They already have my insurance information on file at this particular Walgreen's, inasmuch as I had two new prescriptions filled there in, yes, late November. It's a clusterfark of uncomfortable dimensions, but I have learned not to expect much from the damned near nationalized system of alleged health care.

The Vent

  1 January 2017

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 Copyright © 2017 by Charles G. Hill