There are reasons for wait

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

As a pharmacist in Los Alamos, I would like to respond to the letter from Sig Gerstl.  Yes, there may not have been a line at the drop off window at either pharmacy you visited, but here is a “look” behind the counter.

A typical day sees several hundred prescriptions filled. So it is likely there are many in the queue when you arrive.  While most pharmacies employ several pharmacists, often there is only one pharmacist on duty in the pharmacy who must check prescriptions, communicate with doctor’s offices, counsel patients present at the pharmacy and those who call in, and deal with insurance companies. 

When you drop off your prescription these are the steps we take to ensure your prescription is properly and accurately prepared.  The pharmacist must check all interactions that the computer software detects and give the final check to every prescription that passes through the pharmacy.  The pharmacists are the only ones who may take new prescriptions over the phone from a doctor’s office, some days these calls follow in rapid succession from different offices. 

Some counseling questions are answered quickly and some require research.  Other tasks in the pharmacy involve obtaining prior authorizations from your insurance company for certain medications, obtaining refill authorizations from your physician, logging and tracking all Pseudoephedrine sales, finding out why your insurance is not paying for your medication.

Pharmacists understand that most patients arriving at the pharmacy do not feel well and we try to work as fast as possible but understand that this is your health we are dealing with.  Pharmacists are not serving fast food. According to Drug Topics magazine, “pharmacists tend to prioritize tasks quite well.”  People need to understand that it takes time to accurately process and fill their prescriptions. Our estimated wait time may not be accurate but we do not want you to be disappointed if we run over, and we know that you are pleased when we are able to get your medication to you faster than predicted. 

Please read your labels and call with questions. We will do everything we can to help.

Los Alamos