Successfully Navigating Pharmacy Renewals

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When we call or walk into the pharmacy asking for a refill, sometimes we have to get the prescription renewed.  It’s important to get the script renewed quickly and efficiently.

First, if you’re able to plan ahead, try to get your prescriptions earlier in the work week.  Many doctors work Mondays through Fridays.  If there are any questions or if a new prescription is necessary, it’s helpful to catch the doctor when he or she is in the office.

One pitfall occurs because some providers work at more than one clinic.  It’s possible that a given prescription may go to the correct provider, but at the wrong clinic.  In that case, the staff assisting the provider may be confused, or even erroneously deny that you’re his or her patient.

Sometimes, the pharmacy may have an old prescription in the system.  If the pharmacist doesn’t ask you to verify who your doctor is, be sure to ask.  There are two risks here: multiple providers and old providers.

If you have more than one doctor, that may mean that you’d need to keep track of which doctor gave you which prescription.

An old provider in the system may mean that an automated renewal requests may go out of the pharmacy system to your previous provider.  Sometimes the previous provider may not remember who you are, and this will lead to delays.

Another risk is that the pharmacy may have an old script in their system.  This is often not a problem because the script is often associated with an end date beyond which it is no longer valid.  Nevertheless, it may sometimes go through.  If it’s not current, it leads to risks: even assuming that it’s still the correct medication, dose and route, you could experience a delay if a renewal is necessary but the script is pointing to the provider’s old address.

Old addresses pose a couple of different problems.  Assuming it’s faxed, the automated renewal requests may come into the wrong fax machine. In this case, the staff monitoring the fax machine may not know who the patient is.

In sum, be sure to be early and query your pharmacist if they don’t ask you your provider’s name and address, and verify that the prescription is current.  Remember to bring a list of medications with you to help veirfy that the medications, doses and routes are accurate.