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There Are Plenty Of Options To Fill Prescriptions

Question: My pharmacy is closing and the old pharmacy switched my meds to another chain pharmacy. Do I have to use that pharmacy? What should I do?

Answer: I can’t begin to tell you how many calls we got this week with this same scenario. Sometimes I feel like “everything” in the Jamestown area is closing.

But that isn’t the real situation. In the past few years we have lost pharmacies, Two of the Top’s pharmacies closed, Kmart closed, Johnson Pharmacy in Mayville closed and a long time ago Medicine Shop closed. So this does happen once in a while. Life goes on. We also have had new pharmacies open during those years. Life is about adjusting to change.

We need to think about what your options are. You can go to the pharmacy that has been contracted to take over your old pharmacy’s business. You can also look to your Prescription Drug Coverage Insurance product to see if they have pharmacies that work better than others, or you can rethink based on where you shop, where you drive by, and is there a more convenient pharmacy for your situation now? You can also consider mail order and getting 90-day supplies. You actually have a lot of choices to make.

I also understand that losing a store we liked and trusted is hard. It is always hard when other people decide to change our patterns of behaviors.

In this situation, I would really advise looking at your location and what pharmacies fall into your usual pattern of travel. Do you shop at Wegman’s? Wegman’s has a pharmacy, which also offers mail order. Do you need extended hours of operation? CVS, Rite Aide and Walgreens in Jamestown are open 24-hours a day. Or maybe you are a ‘local shopper’ and in that case Southside Pharmacy or Lakewood Apothecary may be the perfect location. Maybe one of the many pharmacy locations throughout the area works the best for you. Or maybe it is easiest to go to the location that your old pharmacy moved your prescriptions to.

That will create the least amount of work for you to do.

If you decide to switch to your pharmacy you will need to visit that pharmacy and talk to the pharmacist about how he can help you to make that switch. Some pharmacies will take your list of medications and call your doctors to get the information into their records. Other pharmacies advise that your get your doctors to call in the medications to your new pharmacy. Remember when you talk to your doctor’s office staff, tell them which pharmacy location you are using. Some of the chains have multiple locations in our area, so you want to be sure the prescriptions that are called in go to the location you plan to use.

Once your medications have been transferred to the pharmacy of your choice, you can begin to fill them in the way that works the best for you — 30-day, 90-day or mail order. This filling can also be determined by your insurance product, not all companies allow for 90-days of medication. Even if they do, your doctor needs to call your medication in that way in order for the pharmacies to fill it that way.

Remember that a big factor for you to think about is how will your prescription Drug Coverage insurance handle whichever pharmacy you choose. If possible I always recommend using a “Preferred” pharmacy. That will save you the most possible amount of money on your medications.

It is also important to not put this decision off for too long. You don’t want to run out of medication, especially on the weekend, when your doctor’s office is closed. So do some thinking now, and maybe even talk to your friends about how they fill their medications. What advice do they have? What experience do they have with different pharmacies? Remember you can still be friends, even if you choose different pharmacies.

Also realize if you start at one pharmacy and find you don’t like it for any reason, you are allowed to switch to an alternative pharmacy. You are not locked in for any length of time. As long as your insurance participates with your pharmacy, or the new pharmacy you wish to try, you can switch to the new location or pharmacy anytime you wish.

You can control your pharmacy choice now and going forward. I am sorry to see stores of any type close, and in the last few years, it feels like we have lost too many. But I love going to the new places that open. There has been a lot of new types of stores open in our area too.

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, please call 720-9797 or e-mail her at janells@lutheran-jamestown.org.

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