Politics: Prescriptions

Further fallout of my Mad March of 2020 is my medication regime has taken a significant uptick. I’ve been on birth control again for a minute for exactly what the name implies. Until this month that’s been basically my only medication since I gave birth.

Then my body and brain decided they hate me.

So between my PCP and my asthma Dr they’ve got me on a new regime.

  • Breo (daily asthmatic dosage)
  • Singular (stave of allergy aggravation)
  • Lexapro (anxiety is making me barely functional)

I also realized my rescue inhaler expired. So I needed a new ProAir Respiclick.

I generally use CVS as my pharmacy. It’s the closest, it’s convenient, and I like the pharmacist. He’s friendly and has been knowledgeable on every question I have.

But there is something that infuriates me.

I downloaded the GoodRx app to see if I could get any kind of savings. And the first thing they recommend is…. SHOP AROUND.

No.

NO.

NOOOOOOOOOOO.

This pissed me off so horribly. More than badly. This is atrocious. Let me explain my thinking.

First of all, the time. This is by far the least annoying part of “shop around.” It takes time. It takes emotional and physical energy to do this. And with digital prescriptions, it’s not like I’m calling around with a paper in my hand and asking about their price.

Oh and all that’s with my insurance which adjusts the price yet again so I have to give each of these pharmacies my insurance information. Which most of them can’t take over the phone (good privacy rule). So not only can I not really shop around very well, what I can do SUCKS.

Sort of a 1.5 part of this is then going and picking up 4 prescriptions from 4 locations. I have a job y’all. I have a 1 year old y’all. Do you know how much he likes me confined to his car seat versus crawling around? So…. when the hell am I supposed to do this?

Then comes the one that actually is the most important reason to me to use a single pharmacy. Safety.

I work really hard to communicate with my doctors about what medications I have. I spend the time to go onto the digital portals they have (when they have them) in order to update what medications I am on so my doctors can make good, informed advice for my care. I have 3 doctors I see a minimum of once a year: my PCP, my OBGYN, and my pulmonologist. They are awesome at their jobs, but I don’t expect them to know everything.

How does singular interact with birth control? Which of my doctors should understand that? the OB or the asthma Dr? What about how much the total combination of all of these medications on my liver? Does my PCP track that? Does she know?

No. Probably not.

That IS the job of a pharmacist. Or at least it should be.

My pharmacist tells me every time I get antibiotics, “you remember this makes your birth control ineffective, right?”

Now, this is a simple example, but especially in times like right now where my doctors are having to adjust dosages (and potentially try different medications) to address issues – I want my pharmacist double-checking the doctors and keeping me safe. I can’t do that if I’m splitting 4 prescriptions across 4 different pharmacies. There is no one double-checking I am being kept from some kind of horrible drug interaction (they happen!). And especially since not all of these drugs are prescribed by the same doctor (birth control from my OB, anxiety from my PCP, asthma meds from my pulmonologist) I triply need someone acting as a gatekeeper filtering ALL of them through a single final safety check.

When people ask me why I hate profit in medicine: This. This is about example number #287 of why I hate it. I need the professionals to keep me safe. I need a pharmacist I trust to call and say “I think I’m having a side effect but it isn’t listed as an expected side effect, should I call my doctor to get this changed?”

This happened when my insurance said it wouldn’t cover Breo (it’s more expensive) and I tried Symbicort a few years ago. I ended up in the ER needing help breathing about 2 weeks after starting Symbicort. Like somehow the “helps asthma” medicine was making my asthma worse which is NOT a normal side effect.

“Shopping around” is fine for shoes and apples and cars. It is NOT a good idea for something as potentially dangerous as drugs.

Writer, nerd, and perpetual student. I am obsessed with books - both the reading and the making of them. If I won the lottery I would try to have the best private(ish) library in the world. It wouldn't be totally private because the whole purpose of having books is helping other people find a book they will love. I have 2 cats, Genkii (energy) and Kawaii (cutie). I will mention them regularly because they are a daily delight in my life. Granted, sometimes when I'm playing video games they are not so much "delight" as they are "distraction"... but I love them regardless.