Sunday, September 16

CVS: Incompetent & Dangerous

Okay, now I'm breaking out the big guns. I have had it with CVS and their ineptitude!

While visiting family in California, we've had occasion to need both refills and new prescriptions. Here are some of the ways CVS has disserviced me:

• A brand new CVS has opened within spitting distance of where I am staying with family. Charlotte had 0 refills left on her Prevacid, so I needed the GI doc to call in a new prescription. I asked whether it would be easier for CVS to (a) have an out-of-state physician call in a new rx directly or (b) have the dr. call our Maryland CVS and have it transferred to the California CVS. The pharmacy tech told me (a) was easier, so that's what we did. She took the doctor's number. Four days later, they still didn't have the prescription, and insisted they simply could not get in touch with anybody. I finally called myself, got in touch with the appropriate doctor, and had the prescription called in the same day.

The result? Brand-New CVS didn't even have the Prevacid in stock ("We're a new pharmacy"), and transferred the prescription to a farther-away CVS anyway. I could have saved 4 days and driving time if they bothered to check this information in the first place. I asked to speak to a pharmacy manager and was transferred to someone else; I asked if he were the manager and was told, "No. They haven't hired one yet. We're a new pharmacy."

• I went to the Farther-Away CVS to pick up the Prevacid. It comes in the form of dissolving tablets; for infant administration the tablet is placed in an oral syringe and mixed with water. Maryland CVS usually gives me a few syringes with each refill, and I reuse them until the rubber stoppers break and/or the inside has so much Prevacid residue it's purple. I asked Farther-Away CVS for some syringes, and the pharmacy tech had no idea what I meant. I described the syringes (brand name, color, size.) No idea. She offered me a dropper; I pointed out that the tablet cannot be placed into the dropper.

She fetched a second tech for me, who managed to find an oral medication syringe . . . except it was 1/5 the size it should have been. It was too small for the tablet to fit inside. I pointed this out, and the tech called for the pharmacist.

The pharmacist asked me "what my problem" was. I explained the situation. She came out from behind her counter to my side, looked around, and then shouted to another pharmacist, "Where do we keep the oral syringes for sale? This lady doesn't like our free ones!" The pharmacy was crowded, with a long line of patrons, and all eyes were on me.

My eyes popped out of my head. I announced loudly, "Excuse me. The ones you've offered are too small to fit the tablet! I'm only inquiring about what my regular CVS offers me. You don't have to make it sound like I'm throwing a fit because I'm so picky I don't want your syringes."

Then the pharmacist turned to me and said, loud enough for the entire pharmacy to hear, "I don't have to take this from a customer. Pick up your medication and go."

"I'm going," I snapped. "CVS is apparently staffed by morons, coast to coast!" Okay, it was rude. I was also sleeping sitting up in an armchair with a refluxy baby, and hadn't had more than a consecutive hour of sleep in a week.

• My older daughter needed a refill of her regular medication. Fortunately hers was a straightforward transfer and the drug was in stock at the Brand-New CVS. I discovered that this CVS did in fact carry the (free) oral syringes and asked for a handful.

• A week later, I took a prescription for an additional reflux medication to the Brand-New CVS. It was a new prescription, and I dropped it off in person. Several hours later, I got a phone call. Brand-New CVS did not have the ability to mix a liquid suspension ("We're a new pharmacy"), so they were transferring it to Farther-Away CVS. Oh Lord.

I picked up the new rx at F-A CVS. So far, so good. Took it home and administered before bedtime as ordered (thanks to one of my trusty new oral syringes, safely hoarded.) Except the baby wouldn't swallow it. Took a taste; gagged on it myself. Called the F-A CVS, which is fortunately open 24 hours. Pharmacist and I discussed flavorings (it is compounded with baking soda and tastes like bitter ocean water.) He said he'd call the flavoring company to ask about whether he can flavor this drug; promised to call me right back. Before we hung up, I noticed and mentioned that there was an error on the prescription label and asked him to confirm the dosage. He paused. Put me on hold. Came back. The medication had been compounded at ten times the prescribed dose. My jaw dropped. He told me he'd look into it and call back.

90 minutes later I called him again. It was now 11:00 p.m. Flavoring company hadn't gotten back to him. But he looked into the compound and thought the dosage was done properly after all; it was just a typo on the label. Forgive my skepticism. I wanted the med re-compounded. I'd be in touch tomorrow. Doctor ends up taking kid off the new med, don't bother following up on this one.

• Doctor called in yet another new rx (Pepcid) to the Brand-New CVS. A few hours later I called to ask if it's ready to pick up. Oops. They don't have the liquid suspension available ("We're a new pharmacy") . . . no, really. Transfer to Farther-Away CVS? Sure, why the hell not.

I got to pick this one up from F-A CVS without incident.

• Baby developed unrelated infection. See Urgent Care. See new rx. See Meg cry. See Meg be stupid and drop off rx at Brand-New CVS. See B-N CVS call Meg and explain they don't have this medication in stock. Seriously. I cut her off. "Look, I know you're a new pharmacy and all, but presumably corporate gave you some actual DRUGS before you opened." She said "Sorry."

As long as I had to get the prescription at F-A CVS, I called in the refills for both the Prevacid and Pepcid. They called to inform me they were all ready for pick-up.

When I got there, the Pepcid had not been reconstituted (it was powder in a bottle) and they had mistakenly given me half the amount of Prevacid they should have. Good freaking thing I realized both of these things before I left.

• Urologist wanted baby on prophylactic antibiotics. Finally wise, I skipped B-N CVS altogether and dropped off the prescription at F-A CVS. The tech read it and pointed out that the PA who wrote the script made an error. At 2 mL/day, the total 250 mLs she prescribed would be a 125-day supply of medication, which is highly unusual. Fine, I said, just give me 60 mLs (standard 30-day supply.) She had to check with the pharmacist.

Nope, she said when she returned. The law does not permit them to alter a prescription. The doctor's office had to be contacted; they could confirm or change the prescription. I checked my watch; 4:30. The office would close in half an hour. She said she'd fax them immediately.

I wandered around CVS for twenty minutes. I looked at the pregnancy and ovulation tests (my hobby.) I read the brochure for Jitterbug, the cell phone designed for elderly people. I checked out their stock of automatic blood pressure cuffs. I looked at their compression stockings, canes, and hemorrhoid cream. Finally I returned to the counter and asked the tech whether the dr.'s office had gotten the fax and cleared up the error.

"Oh," she said, "I don't know. The fax is in the back, so I just wait for someone to bring me my faxes periodically." My temples began to throb. I asked if she would check, given that I had been waiting ten feet away for 20 minutes. She did, looking inconvenienced. No, there had been no response. Too late for today; I could try again tomorrow. I asked for a pharmacist.

The tech left and returned a minute later. "The pharmacist who said I had to call them went off-duty, so I asked another one, and he said just to give you as much as your insurance will pay for."

Surprise, surprise. Insurance paid for a 30-day supply . . . the 60 mLs I had asked for, the 60 mLs that "could not be dispensed" because it was "illegal" to "modify a prescription." Yeah. That.

On the way home, I stopped at B-N CVS and asked for a handful of oral syringes . . . I have developed a habit of this, so I now have quite a nice little supply. I am rationing them carefully, yet I ask for "as many as you can give me." This is my way of sticking it to them.

So there you have it. From sea to shining sea, my experience has been that CVS pharmacists and its technicians are rude and poorly-trained (or simply incompetent.) Its shelves are poorly stocked. They have made potentially dangerous errors in dosage/dispensation of drugs for infants. They fail to return calls, review prescriptions before accepting them, or contact doctors for clarification in a timely manner. They have little sense of urgency for sick children. And finally, I am breaking free. Took me WAY too long.

CVS: sucks!


At 7:48 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Holy crap!!!
I'm glad I use Walgreens.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Katie Driscoll said...

I would have murdered someone by then...

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too hate CVS. After hearing them announce to another customer in line, "Mr. Smith, your Valtrex is ready!" I decided that I had had enough of their disregard for HIPPA and utter stupidity. Just because I'm a nurse, doesn't mean I am the only one who knows what Valtex is. Commercials on TV educate everyone about genital warts. Proud Walgreen's user.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Jessiekinz said...

I also hate CVS!!! I used them for nearly a year before becoming fed up and transferring my prescriptions. If only we had a walgreens around here!

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Nikkie said...

I have never had too many issues with them, other than my doc being an idiot and sending new scripts (And/or refills) to the CVS 10 miles away, rather than the CVS around the corner from my house like I ask.

I have had several problems with HIPPA violations though, and actually complained and employees were fired on the spot. (Or at least sent home in tears, cussing me out in the parking lot.)

*I'm sorry I'm a nurse and am well aware of my rights* I thought in the back of my head.

This all happened at the CV 10 miles away though, THUS my using the one closer to my house ;-)

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CVS is terrible, had a very bad experience today and I will never be back. These people don't have a clue about good customer service.

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CVS is the Walmart of pharmacies. They swallowed up our Sav-Ons a couple of years ago, and now what used to be a well planned, pleasant store where you could actually find what you wanted has become a chaotic mess.

The check-out area used to be sensibly laid out with a single waiting area that led to individual register counters allowing customers and their carts to pass through to the exits, but now there is a simple long counter against the front of the store, and you have to unload your merchandise on the counter, and then reload it back in your cart. You have to go back to the merchandise area to leave the cashiers. There is no longer a single line, but lines form individually for each register, and it's up to the customer to figure out which will be fastest.

Yesterday I went there to request my prescription records from Sav-On, but was told they don't keep records available from before the takeover. They said there was a number I could call, but they didn't know it, and I should call the manager back today.

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

none of this happened, you dumbass ho

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also hate cvs! I call in advance and they say your prescription is ready, you go to the drive thru to pick it up and its not ready so they tell you to circle the building well after 1hr and circling the building 6 times I finally get my prescription after the 3rd time of this happening to me I moved to walgreens. cvs sucks

At 11:58 AM, Blogger KAT said...

CVS's do stink. Their clerks are dog mess with legs.

I love Walgreen's. They don't clutter the landscape like CVS and they give good customer service. Consumer Reports says the best pharmaceutical advice and service comes from grocery store pharmacies.

Behind that are the Wal-Mart-type chains and friendly Elmer at the mom and pop drugstore. My cousin's husband was a druggist and he could run circles around CVS. I am begging for a Walgreen's in my neighborhood.

At 5:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you staff pharmacies the way that CVS staffs their pharmacies. This nonsense is gonna keep happening until the state boards smack down the way these disgusting chains staff their operations.

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get angry everytime I try to use a CVS. The other day, I wanted to know if the store had inject printer inks. There were four people at the Customer Service counter and only one customer. I tried making eye contact with one of the employees - to no avail. Finally I just said, excuse me, do you have - and one employee walked away, two others continued to ignore Me looking at the floor having lengthy phone coversations. I found them on my own, took my 6 items to purchase to the front counter and waited and waited. While the lone cashier tried to check out the one customer, as the customer put things on the counter, she'd decide she didn't want them. Twice the cashier left to go put the things back on the shelf before she continued with the next item the customer had. I sat my items down, walked out, and went to Walgreens.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My worse and most hazzardous time at CVS... I'm in line at a checkout. The cashier waits on the customer in front of Me. The customer completes her purchases and leaves. I step up only to have the cashier spray a can of lysol right in My face and then all around her area. EXCUSE ME - DON'T SPRAY THAT IN MY FACE, I'm an asthmatic - well she stank, she said. I left. For the next two hours I had a respiratory attack and trouble breathing.

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't assume that everyone that works at CVS is incompetent, unfriendly, and provides poor customer service. Generalizing the bad habits and behavior of some stores should not translate to every single store in the country. I am an employee of the company and I am not incompetent or unfriendly and I provide a high level of care to my customers.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have problems lady, lots of freaking problems. you are the reason why customer service sucks at CVS. There are rules and regulations all pharmacies have to follow and abide by. If a pharmacist or a pharmacy tech tells you something, you should actually listen, instead of aruging with them. And God forbid a new pharmacy opens up near you. Get a freaking life and realize that this world is not freaking perfect. They did their jobs to the best of their ability. It's customer's like you that makes it impossible to please everybody. Go play in traffic the world needs smarter people that have patience and understanding, not a vendetta to complain about every little thing that goes wrong. how you ever had children puzzles me, and I am sure you don't even know the first thing about a pharmacy and I highly doubt your education goes beyond a middle school level. Get an education before you go and claim such things against educated people who handle your scripts

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Meagan said...

Please don't assume all Pharmacy employees are complete idiots. I am a Pharmacy Tech for CVS here in RI, but my first job is being a mom to my two young girls. You would have never been treated this way at my store, and trust me I understand where you are coming from, but please don't assume all stores and employees would have been this horrible. I have alot of customers yell/cuss/throw hissy fits, but what you need to understand that we are there to help you, and we also have to help 500 other people that day. We are underpaid and our job is extremely strenuous. I take offense at being called an idiot, because I take my job seriously and would never treat a customer this way.

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Cheryl Adams said...

First of all, don't generalize people... You went to 2 CVS's.. there are thousands of CVS employees, and you just insulted each and everyone of us with your "vast experience"... I have been working for CVS for 5 years and we ALWAYS go above and beyond what we're expected... and that gradually builds up to what is expected of us. We are only allowed to give ONE syringe per bottle dispensed. You're not paying for them, someone else is...
Second of all, every workplace has rules. Give some respect. We cannot make exceptions for everyone, because as a pharmacist that is MY license on the line. You did not go to 6 years of pharmacy school and pay 200,000 dollars in tuition... What is upsetting is that this so called "profession" has been reduced to a mere fast food restaurant. No one wants to wait. Do you grumble in the doctor's office for waiting 20 minutes? Why not? Because you respect a doctor. A pharmacist has just as much medical knowledge as a doctor, and to be frank, sometimes more. The medication errors I find in prescriptions written my doctors for small children would make your head spin. And on top of impatient, petty customers, we work for a corporation.. meaning they put SO much paperwork on us.. It is NOT simply counting pills anymore... which im sure no one knows about. There is hardly any time for that for a CVS employee. We are not a mom and pop store where we can change things just because you don't like it. Our jobs are on the line. So why do I still work for CVS? Because its hard to find a job nowadays and you have to take what you can get. I always make sure my employees abide by HIPPA laws, greet customers in a friendly manners. So if you need something to "rant" on since this seems to be your job, how about you not generalize. Thank you.

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a loyal Long's customer for 25 years then CVS took over. I chuckled when the Walgreens across the street put up a big banner welcoming Long's customers because I couldn't imagine changing pharmacies - Long's had been terrific. I tried to be patient with the transition but after having nearly every prescription fouled up (badly) for more than 4 straight months, I transferred to Walgreens. Even though it was the same, formly great pharmacy staff from Long's, they were having a terrible time with the transition and I even tried straightening things out directly with the pharmacy manager to no avail. When I talked to the pharmacist at Walgreens, she had the CVS pharmacy manager's number memorized because so many people were transferring over. I don't even shop at CVS any longer because they've stopped carrying most of the products I used to buy at Long's. It was really sad to see the change. Walgreen's pharmacy has been phenomenal. I even get notified the day my prescriptions are ready instead of 3 or more days after the fact with CVS. Their system seems to work better for autorefills too. I feel sorry for the Long's employees who stayed with CVS, they must be having a miserable time.

At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for helping me feel better about work. I was feeling a little angry that my new manager is like a lot younger than me but I can't seem to get ahead at CVS. I feel better now. I have only blew it on a few customers. Now of course, I have a few horror stories of saying the most dumb thing to a customer right in front of my supervisor too. But, most of the time, manage to do a good job and some ladies tell me that I'm always nice. Thanks for reminding me that everyone blows it even at CVS where we try our best but it isn't quite good enough at times.

At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mean people suck. I am an employee, have been for 18 years. Always good customer service in my store, trouble is rude customers. realize that people are sick, tired, just wanna go home; but that doesn't give mean customers the right to treat the staff so rudely. know your insurance carrier, have your info updated if there are any changes ( we can't guess your insurance info), we don't set your copay levels; if there is a change in amount, your insurance notifies you by mail every year after your enrollment period, ask your insurance for a drug formulary so you know what is covered and at what cost. i agree there should always be follow-up on all matters, but accept some responsibility if your doctor doesn't call us bacvk in a tiely manner on refill requests. we can send 20 faxes a day, but that doesn't make your doctor's office staff move any faster! We realize you're ailing, and there are some who work hard to provide customer service, but don't bunch us all togther with those who gave you poor customer service. we're people too.

At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i went to a CVS to pick up a prescription in a new town i had moved to. THe pharmacist asks if i had medical insurance. i laughed and said does anybody have insurance anymore. i am a musician and do not have benefits (obviously pharmacists get med benefits with their job!) he said, very rudely, actually 99% of people have insurance. yea buddy, 99% of people who actually pick up their prescriptions! think about all the people who dont get proper medical care bc they dont have insurance....obviously that thought never dawned on him

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

""I have developed a habit of this, so I now have quite a nice little supply. I am rationing them carefully, yet I ask for "as many as you can give me." This is my way of sticking it to them.""

People who constantly ask for syringes are talked about in the pharmacy as possible may that combined with the 'It's all about me' approach to the way you handle workers is why the pharmacy doesn't drop the other 10 customers they're dealing with to wipe up your stink.

You should state where you work so people can come to your work and act crazy too.

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just quit as a CVS pharmacist.
They tout themselves as being great
customer advocates. YOU BET. They
actually want Pharmacists to call
doctors and get additional drugs
given to certain patients. That is
some kind of bull-shit. Doctors do
know what they are doing and none of
the CVS management has graduated from
any medical school, so what the shit
do they think is going on. They talk
about "driving prescription sales".
That is just plain greed.
They also have an "auto fill" pro-
gram, which bills insurance companies for the next available re
fill on meds. Whether or not the
patient requests it. That is so close to INSURANCE FRAUD, a felony
in most states, I can not wait for
the huge lawsuit: U.S. Medicaid/Medicare vs. C.V.S./caremark to hit the courts.
They also believe in less staff and more prescriptions per person,
that translates to more errors. I
don't like that idea. They also
don't like to follow California labor laws. Another lawsuit is in
process for that now.
Stay out of CVS unless you are in
search of cheap booze or foot powder as my friend tells me.
Use CVS if you don't care about
having your meds done correctly but
just want them right away.
If you are a masochist, go there.
If you support corporations that
like to cheat employees.
If you supoort crime by companies.
If you have no better sense.
If there are no options or real
pharmacies available to help you.
If you are desperate.

Emp. id: 0833121.
Password *******, that might
be a violation so it is still:nil

Have a good day,
Go to Walgreen's or a small non-
chain drug store.

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Retail is the lowest form of trade.
it ranks below THEFT, wherein the thief must think avbout his action.
In retail, all you have to do is
go into the store and act the fool and shout "the customer is always right", whoever coined that one is
the first guy I want to choke.
People are idiots and only equate
what they get at the pharmacy to that
little bottle, a product. They don't tell their doctor or dentist
to hurry up, or why is it taking so
long. Pharmacists are only providing a product, no service in
the mind of the customer.
I am not defending CVS I just quit as a pharmacist from there.
The reasons are many. They are only about the money. Less staff
means more work per employee. CVS does not give a rat's ass about you or the employee. Just the money. Don't shop there. Select a
real small pharmacy. Prescriptions will be the same price. Insurance companies tell
drug stores what to charge for
covered items. Cash paid drugs are
usually cheaper at small stores.
Other stuff like toothpaste and deodorant should be bought at the
supermarket (grocery store) get
motor oil and cigarettes from your
local pimp of that type of stuff.

Remember: Stay out of CVS they are
only a bunch of criminals at the head office. The poor bastards at
the store are not the problem, they
are just being worked to death.

Vote with you feet. That means go somewhere else.

Have a goo day .
david f . Spring Valley, CA.

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

please guys shut the fuck up this is the way it is------cutomers arent 1st because you motherfuckers try to get ur way with everything and you dont comprehend anything! we bust our asses for you fuckn assholes! please go and stay at fuckn walgreens,walmart wherever you want to shove ur pills up ur ass.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My CVS pharmacy staff are great but the store itself sucks. They have stopped carrying items they used to sell when it was still Longs Drugs. Instead they replaced it with CVS brand stuff which isn't as good. They are slowly but surely doing this with a lot of the items they're selling. As a result I do not buy my things from CVS anymore.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say, no matter which one I have gone to, whether it be by home, on the way home, near work, or in another state (I am restricted from going to any other pharmacy other than CVS), I have had nothing good to say about any of the pharmacy techs or pharmacists. Doesn't matter if it's in California, Missouri, Illinois, Arizona, or even Connecticut, they have no customer service skills. Perhaps CVS should properly train pharmacists and pharmacy techs on how to treat participants and fellow employees. I have seen incidences where the pharmacist has yelled in front of customers at the pharmacy tech; one had the nerve to them they shouldn't even be there if they don't know what they are doing. How as a customer would you like to hear that? Makes you wonder why they were hired in the first place and if they are even registered or licensed in handling such a task and/or whether you want to even obtain your scripts there.

On another note, I refuse to shop there, as I have noticed their prices are almost doubled of what Walgreens sells for. This is not Rhode Island or Connecticut where the cost of living is much higher, but Texas.

At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the person that stated that they think people who ask for syringes are "druggies." My question to you is: Are you a complete and utter MORON?! The syringes she's talking about, dumbass, are the ones for liquid suspension, which are NOT needles. Pray tell how those are for druggies? Just curious. BTW, I, too, am going through the SAME crap with CVS as we speak. In Arizona. I just got off my phone to my husband so stressed my teeth were chattering. My insurance refuses Walgreens now, and It's been HELL for a year. Bravo, you #$#$#$ #$#$#$#$##$@$@$W$#$#$ pieces of #$$#@$$ #@$#$#$ !!!!

At 12:42 AM, Blogger Billy Earley said...

A little 8 year old boy was made because the pharmacist at CVS slandered his mother and her doctor. He pulled out his cell phone and video tapped the entire thing. Watch CVS Pharmacist Slander The Doctor.

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Harry Pinna said...

You are absolutely right about the incompetence of CVS staff and often their pharmacists as well. on example, they ran out tubes of a cream I use so they scooped out enough to fill a pill bottle from a larger tub they had. They told me it was $94.00. I asked the tech to check, said said it was right. However, I had been paying $14 for it. She would not check any further so I refused and she got all indignant with me. I could go on and fill up more space than your original. Customer service is totally lacking at all CVS stores I have visited.

At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CVS Caremark is staffed by IDIOTS. I keep asking them "why is this so hard?" I absolutely loath going in the place. Unfortunately it's where I have to go due to my health ins.

At 12:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CVS in Wakefield, RI has this short, gray haired bitch who works in the mornings at the pharmacy. What an unpleasant troll. I think it takes a special kind of stupid to get hired there, kind of like, George w bush stupid. also, why do Muslims sniff each others assholes when they pray?? Maybe they see allah whenever they look deep into someone's asshole.


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