The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

This ain’t Cheers

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:24 pm on Tuesday, June 12, 2012
  • “…..where everybody knows your name….”

Right drug, Right dose, Right Directions, RIGHT PATIENT.

The four cornerstones of a properly filled prescription.  You can do 1,2 or 3 of them right, but if one of them is wrong the consequences can be devastating.

So why is it that so many people become so damn indignant when, at the pick up window, the tech wants to verify the patient’s name + one other form of ID verification?At PC Pharmacy we verify street address or Date of birth.  Its is a company wide policy.  Names can be duplicated.  I personally have 6 active David Smiths in my computer. I also have about 5 Nancy Johnsons, and  the list goes on.

Everytime there is a nationally publicized rx error, we get some kind of corporate reminder to be attentive to all policies and procedures about selling the right drug to the right patient.

I get this….so why is it so hard for the patient to appreciate this attention to detail?

Saturday I had a float tech,  She was new so EVERYBODY at the counter was a stranger to her.  THEREFORE She would also be a stranger to everybody who approached the counter.  Do you really expect somebody YOU have never seen before in your life to know your  name??

If you are a patient who reads this:  We aren’t being nosy. We care about detail.  You might be the only Thomas Quenton Flickenstein in the entire world, but I dont know that, and I will make completely sure that you are the PROPER Thomas Quenton Flickenstein before you are  getting this rx. ( and if there really IS a Thomas Quenton Flickenstein, my apologies for using your name, I just made it up right now.) And, if you dont recognize the person waiting on you, its probably a sure thing he/she doesn’t know you either, so please be nice and give us the information we are asking for ok?

Shortcuts are a dangerous practice.   They can be career suicide.

This ain’t NIKE:  Dont Do it.



Comment by marc b

June 12, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

I had issues in other pharmacies where we have worked where corporate said not to use street addresses and not to ask the year of the date of birth as people didn’t want their age known. One time we had 2 ladies of the same name and same month and day of birth but different year. Following the corporate check out policy of asking name and month & day of birth, the wrong patient got the wrong med, thankfully she looked in the bag a check out and found it was the wrong strength of lisinopril, 20mg instead of 40mg. After that we had to ask address but then customers started complaining about us asking addresses and “did you ever live at #X on ABC street?” after going through the address and have them get angry we did not have the current address and the one on file and the one the doc happened to have was 4 addresses old. Of course if they don’t come in frequently and the doc e-scribes the rx with the same address, how the heck are we suppose to know that their address has changed except to ask when you come in and we want to make sure we have the correct Jane Smith in the system.

Comment by IAPharmer

June 12, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

I am with you, my policy is that we verify 2 of 3 (DOB, Address or Phone number), address or phone alone does not work as we have a lot of Sr vs Jr and they don’t pick each others up.

I don’t care if it is your mother or brother or best friend, you have to verify 2 of the 3. I have seen a tech grab a bag and ring someone out because they “knew them” and did not verify, guess what…it was the COMPLETE wrong person.

It is most dangerous when people assume they have the right person.

Comment by Pharmaciststeve

June 12, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

Just tell the people that complain that the only other option that you have is to put a barcode tat on their forearm ( or forehead) .. so that you can scan it when they come in and you won’t have to ask them any personal questions… until they have the barcode tat… you will continue to verify that they are actually getting their medications.. and not someone else with the same name…

Comment by Don

June 13, 2012 @ 1:29 am

As a consumer, I appreciate why this is being asked for, and double check my medications when I get home, as I trust no-one to get my medications right. The buck stops with me.

I’m also quite a private person, and don’t want to shout out my address or phone number to everyone standing in line.

I’m thinking you should have a large sign at your pickup area, pre-warning people that you need to check their Address/DOB to ensure that they are receiving the correct medication.

If you also provided a little privacy, people would be more comfortable doing it. Maybe have a line in front of the counter for people to queue behind, thereby giving your customer being served a little breathing space?

Anyway, I’m sure a little in-line education would help for reasonable people. Hopefully you have some. :-/

Comment by murgatr

June 13, 2012 @ 6:35 am

Just because we do know you by name (or by sight) isn’t necessarily a good thing, usually it means to us you’re a PITA or high maintenance 🙂 That being said, this is why the pharmacists SHOW the patients the vials prior to check-out so they can READ the labels, and OPEN the vials to show that the proper medication is inside. Still not a perfect system, but they have caught some major errors before handing it out. Favorite saying at our pharmacy was “Do you want it done fast or do you want it done right – you can only pick one of the two”

@Don – we have a floor line placed about 2 meters in front of the drop-off & pick-up windows for patients to queue behind. Even with a big old sign reminding customers to stand behind the line to ensure patient privacy, I have on numerous occasions had to shoo away the impatient ones literally breathing down the neck of the person in from of them, or worse butt in front of the line. Wish there was a cure for those lacking patience or personal space issues.

Addresses & phone numbers get changed often, but provincial health care numbers do not, which is better to check against when you have 3 Margaret Anderson’s prescriptions to be filled on the same day. At least they live in the same building so you save on their delivery LOL.

Pharm.Tech. RDC’06

Comment by Erin

June 13, 2012 @ 7:26 am

We have recently become a lot more strict on identity verification at my store. We have a lot of regulars that I know on sight (and not because they are all PITA, though this is certainly true for some!) However, I still like to be cautious about identity. When I was a brand-new tech, I grabbed the wrong bag by mistake- it was a simple matter of seeing the right one but grabbing the wrong one. Fortunately, the patient read the label at home, and realized it wasn’t theirs. The experience taught me VERY well, and I never want to do that again!
A couple things I’ve noticed: you can’t feed people the information, a la “is your birthday 4-18-1974?” Rather, you must ask “what is your birthday?” This is because people don’t listen and will often agree to anything. Another thing is that, sometimes, if I say I am verifying identity, they get huffy. If I add that I also want to make sure our computers are up-to-date, people find that less offensive.

Comment by loveinmyjob

June 13, 2012 @ 8:50 am

My FAVORITE is when they send someone else to pickup the rx and that person knows NOTHING! Seriously, do they really expect me to release an rx to just anyone that give their name! If you don’t know the address how do you know where to take the rx? And, no I’m not talking to someone on the other end of YOUR cell phone to verify anything! What is wrong with people these days?

Comment by Jon

June 13, 2012 @ 9:01 am

I think he spells it comment yet!

Comment by Vagabond Rx

June 13, 2012 @ 10:54 am

I am curious about how the cashier verifies that the birth-date is correct. Does it print out on the privacy label? Our system prints a privacy label with patient name, address,phone, transaction # and barcode for each rx. These labels are stuck on the bag for the cashier to scan out at the till. At our pharmacy, the cashier would have to leave the cash, walk to an rx terminal, enter the person’s name then check the D.O.B.

As I was reading this, it occurred to me that many stores have a “rewards” card. Maybe each patient could have a barcode on their card that could be scanned at the beginning of the cashout procedure, and the computer could verify that the subsequent rxs belong to the person with the pc pharmacy, all rx transactions are rung at the pharmacy counter. the pharmacy receipt has the dob on it. we will ask, ” can you verify the pt’s date of birth or address please?” At that time, the patient gives the appropriate information.

Comment by JS

June 13, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

I started working @ a Child Care Center when I was 17. The first day, I was left alone from 3-6; this was against the law but never mind that detail. I refused to let any child leave w/ anyone until they showed me their ID and I matched it to the emergency paperwork. So, not expecting someone new all nine parents (it was a room with a 5:1 ration; law two broken) pitched a fit to some degree.

Me: “Hi I am JS. You must be Thomas Quenton Flickenstein’s Mom? It’s nice to meet you. He had a great afternoon.

Mrs. Flickstein: “Great! Get your coat Thomas Quenton Flickenstein!”

Me: Mrs. Flickenstein I am going to need to see your DL or some type of photo ID before I can let you leave!”

Mrs. Flickstein: “Well, he came right up to me when I walked in (me thinking so did all the kids) so he’s mine, I am his mother! My ID is in the car, I am not going back and getting it and then he’s going to cry because I left (he was already back playing and didn’t care that she was even in the room) and then it’s going to be a terrible ride home!”

Me: “I know how much trouble that walk back to your car will be, but, I don’t know who you are, and I would rather you go out of your way to get what I need then for me to just assume your someone on the pickup list!”

Mrs. Flickstein: “You’re just being a B****! I am going to get the Director!”

Me: “I will call her, don’t worry!”

Mrs. Flickstein: “Good! She will tell you who I am and then we can go!”


Mrs. Flickstein: “Please tell this incompetent employee that I am Thomas Quenton Flickenstein’s Mom!”

Director: “Did she request your DL?”

Mrs. F. “Yes, please tell her who I am?!”

Director: “Please go get your ID!”

Mrs. F. “I am calling 911 to tell them you won’t release my child!”

Director: “Let me call for you! Or, please go get your ID!”

Mom gets ID, I check the paperwork and waive good-bye to Thomas Quenton and his Mom!

What’s wrong with people?? WOW!and you can bet that TQF’s mom would be the first in line to sue you if Her child went home with somebody else!

Comment by JS

June 14, 2012 @ 2:13 am

Or the father who she has a restraining order OR the divorce decree only allows him to pick up every other Wednesday on the even days and the third Thursday of the odd months and ONLY if that Thursday is an even day tries to pick him up on a Friday afternoon!

You wouldn’t believe some of the divorce degrees and restraining orders I have seen as a teacher. It would make you sick. In my 15+ year career as a degreed teacher (more like 17 if I am going be exact) I had to call DCFS six times. All six cases WERE FOUNDED! Ranging from beating a child to leaving a very young child (under 12) old home alone for an entire week (seven days) while they went on vacation (@ least a three hour flight each way). It was during a school vacation so he was in the house, alone, every minute of everyday the entire vacation (why didn’t they take him with and G’Ma lived about an hour away). He actually emailed me several times because he was lonely (he never said alone, more like he was bored) but I didn’t see them until we returned after the break. The exact details and ages have been slightly changed to protect the neglectful but the situations are true!


Comment by Mare

June 14, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

Where I work the company policy is to ask the month and day of the person’s birthday, and if they don’t know that we ask to verify the person’s address. This leads to many different situations:

One elderly man refuses to give his birthday. He says we don’t need to know it, and he says everytime he comes in he is going to transfer to another pharmacy that won’t ask him that. Good luck with that. He always comes back though…

Another man came to pick up for a relative and did not know what day she was born. His response? “Well she is 84, so she would have been born in 1954, right?” Wow.

Then there is the group of people who whine, “You ask me my birthday everytime I come in!” I guess I should ask my staff to memorize everyone’s birthday…

People never cease to amaze me…

Comment by Annoyed Tech

June 15, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

I actually have memorized some of my PITA patients’ dob’s. *hangs head in shame*

Comment by Sara

June 18, 2012 @ 8:05 am

I hope I’m not a PITA pt, but most of the regular tech and pharmacists recognize me and DH, know we’re fine with each picking up the other’s Rx’s and will answer any pertinent question your have about our identities.

By pertinent, I mean name, DOB, address, provide identity, provide insurance card(s), confirm med/dose/color-size. I won’t remember what we ate for lunch, but, not pertinent.

@JS- I was a director for 4 yrs and was in Early Childhood for 16, I know your pain. The worst were the grandparents we’d see once a year who wouldn’t have car seats or ids, but want their 2 year old grandbaby, NOW. I assembled a car seat for one confused grandma, so her 1 year old could get home safe, and did it happily, since she was pleasant, patient, and had a photo ID.

Comment by PharmGamerChick

June 22, 2012 @ 9:16 am

You won’t believe how many Maria Rodriguez go to my pharmacy.

Comment by Mickey

June 27, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

What gets me is when time after time, I train technicians to check NDC on label with the product vial. and to circle and initial to indicate you’ve checked. Then I’m checking (I open every vial, and verify product with printed product description) and discover things like amlodipine dispensed instead of atorvastatin. Obviously the NDC number is different!!! but they’ve still circled and initialed!!!

Comment by broncofan7

July 7, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

All the more reason why patient’s should choose to utilize an Independent Pharmacy–where it is LIKE CHEERS! (if they have a choice–but that’s another matter altogether)…….180 rxs a day 9 hours a day M-F only. Patients enjoy the personalized service and as a Pharmacist you get to enjoy the satisfaction of being respected as not just an employee but the owner. NCPA and Liveoak bank hold the key to your professional happiness. I found mine……you would still need to verify identify before releasing a prescription ….

Comment by Broncifan7

July 8, 2012 @ 7:41 am

Disgusting that you removed my comment about owning your own pharmacy and the benefits of it.You sniveling bed wetters are a disgrace to the profession.why don’t you grow up you loser! I didn’t remove any comment…I had not approved it yet. I’ve been a bit preoccupied with my own dog who has been critically ill and in intensive care..and the only reason I am posting this is so all my readers can see what an ass you are.

Comment by broncofan7

July 8, 2012 @ 10:45 am

“you would still need to verify identify before releasing a prescription ….” ——Frankly, that is corporate robot speak. Positive identification comes in a variety forms, including but not limited to KNOWING YOUR PATIENTS on a first name basis and if they happen to paying with a credit card, matching of the name on the CC to the name on the RX. There is no LAW or database that requires physical entry of an identifable number (DL # or SS # (yet))to pickup an RX like their is in some states for the sale of PSE.(the signature log book simply identifies the person who recieved the RX and is for insurance company auditors) As a Pharmacy owner and Pharmacist, I’d proudly enlist a detail oriented “Indian” such as yourself to follow the guidelines that I put forth as your employer.(and the first one is always GET TO KNOW YOUR PATIENTS)..but that’s just the problem in our profession….. too many of you are quite willing to be “Indians” and lack the initiative to become Pharmacy owners(“Chiefs”). on 100 Rx’s a day the average profit is $1100-1200 over AQcost.a Pharmacist, a tech and a clerk and pharm software, electricity, etc cost roughly $1000 a day for a 9 hour day……..but carry on with your gutless whining. Some pharmacy blogs are actually informative…why those blogs link to yours is beyond me.and you dont seem to care if you sell a drug to the wrong patient. Ive worked in the same location for 16 years. OF COURSE I know my patients by first name…but i still verify. Not only is it company policy ( sorry Bronco–I do not own my own store and since I dont sign my own paychecks I guess that makes me a loser according to you), but its a good safety net. You are welcome to quit reading me you impatient imp. I cannot believe frankly your poor attitude when I didn’t immediately post your comments. I have a life you know, and lately its been consumed with a very sick pet. I dont spent 24-7 writing this blog.

Comment by Ivan Ilyich

August 18, 2012 @ 10:17 am

I’m all for attention to detail. I use a small neighborhood pharmacy where they all knew me by name as soon as I started using them. I get several prescriptions routinely, every month, and always give them the numbers so as not to get them confused should another client have the same name. Just yesterday I picked up three of my prescriptions in the usual way, and this morning was astonished to discover that while they were the correct drugs, two of them were interchanged, that is, mislabeled!

This error wouldn’t have killed me, because I take each once a day, but it strikes me as something that should never happen. I’m wondering how unusual such an error is.

Comment by Ivan Ilyich

August 18, 2012 @ 10:44 am

What’s with “Bronco..,” anyway? I use a small independent pharmacy, but it certainly isn’t (and wouldn’t be) his.

Comment by falconsmate

October 8, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

i know this is an old post but…

please. i am the ONLY 49 year old customer with my last name who comes in carrying a small service poodle who also has pink hair coming into the pharmacy i frequent. i’m not a PITA, but i AM rather unforgettable. i happen to be greeted by name every visit.

and i quite happily give my DOB every visit because, ya know, policy AND i want the correct medication. you just go on with your verification because its GOOD BUSINESS. And we thank you!!!

Comment by Mark

April 18, 2016 @ 6:28 pm

Yeah, get to know your patients all on a first name basis makes things real practical especially in stores that fill 700+ Rxs a day, rotating employees (yes because those high paying tech jobs are so worth it by being treated like shit constantly by PITAs), central computer systems and worldwide travel, and a world with 7 billion humans. No, phonetically, I’m not guessing how you spell your name since it can easily lead to errors…hardly anyone has “typical” name spellings anymore since the world is so overpopulated. On top of that, there are the traditionalists who rename family members the same name generation after generation.

Get over it, if you don’t want to say your name, DoB, and/or address, just show the sales associate your ID card. Rant off

Comment by Nicole

June 13, 2016 @ 6:42 pm

It is very strange to me that people become upset when asked for an extra piece of verification. I actually found this blog post tonight because I was searching the internet to find what laws/policies are in place to keep my pharmaceutical information private. I was actually annoyed that my pharmacy did NOT ask for my date of birth or anything other than my name to verify me. Not only do I want to make sure I am receiving the correct medication, but I also want to be sure no one else can easily gain access to my medical information. Sure, someone can probably find my date of birth with a little digging, but at least it’s something more than just my name before the pharmacy staff starts telling the world what scripts I take (which can then be easily Googled to find out why). I would actually advocate for MORE verification. I would love to see an electronic kiosk (like what we use to swipe credit/debit cards) where you enter a PIN number or some other identifying piece of information before your information/medications will be released. That way no one else would be able to hear you say your DOB or address and you can feel more comfortable knowing you took an extra step to ensure you are getting accurate medication and your information is kept confidential.As much as I’d like to say that privacy is paramount, the simple layout of a pharmacy makes it difficult to keep conversations private at pickup windows. We used to have a decent enough counseling section then we had a remodel and had it removed to a place right next to the check stand. I would advocate to YOU that when you do a pick up and you are sensitive to having anything verbalized then you can do a couple of things. First, ask to have your ID Viewed instead of spoken so you can show a drivers license with your name, and dob on it. then when its time to counsel with the pharmacist, see if your pharmacy has an area that you and the pharmacist can retreat to so you aren’t near other people. 🙂 I agree that your health information should be kept private and pharmacies do the best job they can to preserve that information. Some are more sensitive to verbally expressed information than others and we certainly can help as long as we know .

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