Better Know a Pharmacist

I’ve recently been intrigued with all of the new gadgets and advancements available for treating diabetes, but there seems to be a little something that’s been left out. Now we’ve got needles, pumps, pills, prickers, inhalers, and the like, but is there anything we’re missing? Why, yes, I think so. Last week, I went to the pharmacist to renew my prescription of insulin glargine (brand name Lantus) and this time, instead of stating the norm, I decided to spice it up and requested my insulin in “rock” form.


You should have seen the look on his face. “Rock form?”

“Yes,” I said. “You haven’t heard about the latest developments in insulin therapy. Patients are tired of the day-in and day-out monotony of sticking themselves, reloading cartridges, and inhaling. It’s time to let us smoke up rather than shoot up. Let us addicts finally look like addicts!” I said, and then held up my own little custom glass pipe.

The beauty of it all was that for a moment—and I mean only a moment—the possibility seemed to exist. The look on the pharmacist’s face suggested that there was a chance that this pharmacy was behind the times and not getting on board with the latest diabetes advancements. Was there a smokable insulin rock that they didn’t know about? Were they supposed to provide the pipe as well?

That moment in itself leads me to my next question. How well do you know your pharmacist? Obviously, I do not know mine very well, and it seems like every time I’m at the pharmacy a new person refills my prescription. It’s always a very professional interaction. I use my formal name, “Warren,” and there’s usually a line of folks in front of and behind me. I guess this is the norm for folks in a heavy populated area, but making the interaction personal something I’d like to be better at and for pharmacies to be better at, because there’s no doubt that I’m going to be a regular customer.

There have been times that I’ve been in the pharmacy and ordered some new needles or insulin only to be told my prescription had run out. Thankfully, those weren’t emergencies because I try to stay ahead with my supplies, but I always wonder, “What if?” I did have a moment once where I was away for work and I dropped a bottle of Lantus and had to get the prescription filled in a different city. While it was a bit of a hassle, it only took a couple of hours. But I’ve also had problems getting needle prescriptions transferred from one branch to another within the same pharmacy chain. Even if it was in their records, if a needle prescription was not called in to that specific pharmacy, they would not refill it. Which, once again, cost me a couple of hours.

Where’s Wilford Brimley when I need him to tell me to get my supplies by mail? Does anyone out there do that? I’d love to know the efficiency of and the requirements for mail-order supplies. It seems like it would be a lot easier to not have to deal with the pharmacists if I could avoid it. Unless, of course, I get to know them or they get to know me.

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  • Coco

    I get my supplies by mail and it is so convenient. They send you email reminders to refill the prescription every 3 months and if the prescription has run out they contact your doctor for you. I also keep an insulin prescription at the pharmacy down the block just in case. Mail order is definitely the way to go.

  • Janet

    I get my meds from a mail order pharmacy as we are required to by our insurance company. I do miss the personal interaction with a local pharmacist. I get 3 months supply at a time paying about 20 % with a cap of $50 out of pocket expense. When Byetta was added to my mix I wondered about the shipping. I reorder on line and within 1-2 days I am called to confirm a delivery date. In the box is a styro cooler with cold gel packs around the pen boxes. All stays nice and cool in summer heat or not frozen in winter cold (Minnesota winters). It is very conventient to have to the door delivery.

  • PAS

    I had a good relationship with my pharmacist, but the co-pay on my prescription drugs kept going up and up and so I finally started ordering my prescriptions through the insurance company at my work. At first, I oculd get 3 months’ supply for the price of 2; but those prices have gone up too. Now I get 3 months’ supply for the price of 2-1/2.

  • Joelle

    I laughed my butt off when I read this entry! Rock form, you kill me.
    I have a great rapport with my pharmasist, in fact I only use that pharmacy because he works there. I keep trying to get him to change but he says he likes it there.
    I have have had the same routine for about 9 out the 20 years I have had Diabetes- 6 or 7 needles a day, trips to see Bob every couple of weeks to pick up test strips or pen needles or refill a perscription.
    On November 29th, 2006 I go to pump school (I am terrified!!!!!!), the company that makes my pump does mail order but I would miss the interaction and news about new products by not going to see ol’ Bob. I think the human element will keep my going to the pharmacy.

  • Pat

    I too have had problems at the pharmacy. Before we moved across town I had no problem at all. The pharmacist was wonderful and always went the extra mile to work with my insurance company.

    Then…we moved and I had to change to another pharmacy. I selected a “chain” because I thought it might be easier in the future if I had to move again. Wrong! Every single time I went in there was a “problem with the insurance”. They would only approve one box of pen needles at a time…never mind that they would only last me 20 days! I called the insurance company and they said that was incorrect and it was the pharmacy making that arbitrary decision. Over and over every month. I finally changed to another pharmacy after 3 months and am having a little less stress but would LOVE to switch to mail order if it would be less hassle. I’ve been a little afraid of receiving insulin through the mail. How well is it kept cold?

  • Linda

    I have only been on the needle for about 6 months. I started at 4 finger pricks and 5 shots a day. I was like a deer in a head light. I walked into the pharmacy with a stack of prescriptions. My pharmacist immediately recognized that some changes in the prescriptions could more effectively ustilize my insurance. So she called my doctor. Some items are now oredered on a monthly basis, others on a 3 month plan. She saved me major dollars. I would not have had this type of service from a mail order service.

  • Coco

    In response to Pat about ordering insulin though the mail – they send it to you overnight via UPS or FedEx in a package with those cooling packs in it (they work very well – the insulin I receive is never warm). They also put stickers on the outside of the package to remind you to refrigerate the insulin as soon as you receive it.

  • Stuckey

    I think I’m going to try mail order or at least get away from the chain pharmacies. It’s a disaster everytime I walk in to one of them.

  • mortpes

    Caution: When you use mail order plan well in advance to allow for shipping problems. Any glitch in the system can leave you stranded. Ask the MD for extra prescriptions to be used in a local pharmacy in case your shipment is late or delayed. Be prepared to pay cash in the local pharmacy as the mail order facility may freeze your account. Mail order is a sunny day program and not every day is a sunny day.

  • Sofia

    I have been getting my diabetic testing supplies from Wilford
    Brimley (Liberty) and have been
    frustrated. First they did not
    send me enough supplies to test
    twice a day – I did not discover this until I had almost run out of supplies. I was newly diagnosed and very confused by everything to do with diabeties. It took 2 months to find out that when you are on Medicare you only get supplies to test once a month. It took a call to my doctor to change that. Then they said they could not send new supplies until the date I was supposed to receive my next
    shipment (if I had only been testing once a day). The result being that I went 3 weeks without testing. Then the lancet devise broke and they were reluctant to send me a new one. Needless-to-say, I am planning to switch companies.

  • joseph

    the only terrifying thing about mail order is the fact that even one touch strips are produced illegally (otherwise, counterfits)God forbids, if this thing happens in mail order imagine the hassle of having it returned. For patients like us the validity and effectiveness of our medicine is crucial for better maintainance, I myself is a kidney recipient transplant patient, my immuno suppressants are available online but I am alway hesitant to try.