Nosey Pharmacists

Over the past few years my medications have changed so much I find it hard to keep up. But I manage. I’m also only allowed my medication a week at a time, as I have used them in the past to overdose.

Because of this, I have always struggled with doctors and pharmacists messing up my prescriptions.

I have had Med’s cancelled with no notice, wrong dosages, days’ supply only, old med’s being randomly re prescribed: if you can think of a problem, I would have experienced it.

My old pharmacy, Acorn, were terrible. The pharmacist would misplace my prescriptions often, and the young woman pharmacist would talk to me like I was a piece of shit on her shoe. I also had a pharmacist once ask me.

“how are things going with your medication”

This may seem like an act of kindness to you, but to me it felt very intrusive. The only people i want to discuss ‘how things are going’ with are my GP and psychiatrist.

It got so upsetting constantly having problems at Acorn, I decided to move pharmacists. 

So when I found my new pharmacy, I was so happy. They had a simple system but it worked well, I never had to wait for meds, and they were all bagged up by the time I needed to pick them up. No questions, no prying, no problem.

The new pharmacist started off really nice. He learnt my name fast as I was in there at least once a week. He was always polite and helpful. But things started going downhill when, in the chaos of the reshuffle, they ‘lost’ my repeat dispensing prescription. So I made them print it again, which they did.

Then last week I went in to pick up my usual medication and I had a terrible headache and had run out of paracetamol, so I asked for some ibuprofen, which I was informed may interact with the venlafaxine I am on.

So instead I asked for some paracetamol. He then started looking at me really shifty, sort of expecting me to say something, then bumbled around with the card machine. I asked if there was a problem, as he was acting really odd, and he asked me what I was using the paracetamol for.

I told him I had a headache and then he went on to explain to me how to take paracetamol…

“Don’t take more than 8 in any 24 hour period”

“I’m 28, I know how to take a paracetamol, thank you”.

“just trying to council you”

My lizard brain is telling me that he obviously knows I have a mental illness from the meds I take, and the fact I’m only allowed my medication a week at a time suggests it’s because I am prone to overdosing on it.

What he thought he was doing and what I thought he was doing are completely different though.

He made me feel stupid, policed, probed and vulnerable. What he was basically saying is ‘don’t go away and take all of them at once’.

He doesn’t know it of course, but I get these un-trustful questions frequently from my boyfriend, in hospital, doctors and all the rest, and I don’t really need to hear it from a jumped up pharmacist.

Then yesterday, I went in again as my doctor has just prescribed me metformin for my PCOS. All was fine, I handed the script in, and it was done in a flash.

Then when I was paying, the pharmacist came to the till and asked me, with a que full of people behind me, what I had been prescribed the medication for!

Embarrassed, angry and upset, with panic rising in my throat, I muttered ‘polycystic ovaries’, not wanting to cause a scene. And hightailed it out of there.

I really don’t agree with pharmacists prying into my medications and diagnoses in this way. I am of the persuasion, that if you turn up to a pharmacy with a prescription signed by a doctor, there is no need to pry into what it was prescribed for, least of all in a small, quiet, busy pharmacy. Maybe I am the only one who finds this upsetting. Either way, it has upset me.

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5 comments

  1. That would have upset me too. I once went to my gp & before I saw her the nurse’s station first checked my vitals. Then the nurse asked me why I wanted to see the docter.
    I immediately got pissed off. My answer was: I don’t know. Only docters can diagnose. And as you know I haven’t seen her yet.

    Like

  2. Just wanted to say, as a pharmacist myself, that I’m sorry to hear about your negative experiences with pharmacists.
    In their defence, I will say that it is part of our job to ensure that meds are used appropriately, and that includes verifying the indication, etc. I’m not sure what country you’re in, and what sort of laws there are there, but where I am, if there’s any sort of problem with a prescribed medicine, and something happens to the patient, it is the pharmacist who gets the blame (and potentially loses their registration), NOT the doctor (even if the doctor made a mistake, which does happen from time to time) – possibly a reason why you might encounter some nosey/overzealous pharmacists. (Of course, there’s no excuse for incompetence and losing scripts…)

    However, pharmacists should also know about patient autonomy, and the right of the patient to NOT be counselled, so they should, at the very least, respect that (not to mention privacy! It’s shocking that that pharmacist came and questioned you at the till like that)

    (Sorry for the long comment, but I do care about this sort of thing. Hope you’ve found a better pharmacy with staff that treat you better!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pistachios (very cool name)

      I’m In the UK here.

      I totally understand there are laws and regulations pharmacists have to stick to just like any other healthcare professional.

      I do now try to get less upset if I am over probed, so to speak, by a pharmacist.
      It’s hard to write a feeling out in words for the Internet to see, which is why I may have sounded a little harsher than I Intended. But I did genuinely feel like this pharmacist was being far too nosey and rude by asking me very personal questions In front of a queue of people.

      Thanks for your comment, I really did think twice when I Read it, which is what I Started this blog for really, to learn from others.
      TC x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, honestly, if I’d experienced what you did at that pharmacy, I probably wouldn’t go back there either.

        I should be thanking you for sharing your experiences! It’s always good to be able to see things from another person’s perspective, and I feel like reading this post has actually made me a bit more mindful of the way I interact with patients. Like you said – we blog to learn from each other 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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