I recently had something happen that I thought was very important to share. I am a diabetic and on diabetic pills. My system is very sensitive to these pills and will only tolerate one particular brand.
My doctor called in a prescription for me, and specified the particular brand he wanted me to have. But instead of getting the brand he prescribed, I was given a different brand by the pharmacy, which had a terrible reaction to my system. I won't go into what the reaction was, but suffice it to say it was really bad.
I went back to my doctor, taking the meds with me that I had gotten from the pharmacy. He was livid. He told me that many times the pharmacy will swap out what is prescribed for something else because they get a "bonus" from the drug companies to do so.
He called the pharmacy and raised Cain with them about this but he told me that it probably didn't do any good. He told me that whenever I go to pick up a prescription, to check the label and the pills themselves to make sure they are what I am supposed to be getting.
I would have thought that this type of thing would be totally and federally illegal, but obviously it's not. I was flabbergasted when he told me that the pharmacies are doing this. With me, it simply made me violently ill and some other side effects. But for some people this could be deadly.
So everyone, please check your meds when you pick them up from the pharmacy. And check them closely. What I am going to start doing is to burn a copy of the prescription for my records. Then if I get a new med that I don't know what it looks like, I have the prescription to make sure I have gotten the right med.
If it's not readable (you know how most doctor's don't write them legibly to the average person), I'll have my doctor write it down so that I can read it. If your doctor balks at this idea, tell him you are simply trying to make sure you get the right medicine from the pharmacy.
By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC
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Great Post. I too am a diabetic, and I cannot take the Metformin or the Glipicide that some diabetics get along just fine with. I've been taking Janumet for a couple of years, and as of Jan 1, this year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield won't pay for it although my doctor had written a "Formulary Exception" for it. With our new $300 annual deductible now, I'm in a very tight corner. There is no "generic" for Metformin. Anybody have any suggestions?
I wouldn't have even thought of asking here, but when I read Cricketnc's post, I decided that this is the best group of all for getting good answers. I'd never even thought about pharmacists being able to go against doctor's orders. Boy, things are changing, aren't they?
All the best to everyone. Julia in Boca Raton, FL
Metformin is the generic! The "original" is called Glucophage!
I am a pharmacist and I give out both generics and original drugs each day. Just to clarify: The pharmacist can not, I repeat NOT change from metformin to (for example) glimepiride (another diabetes medication). If the prescriptions says metformin, this is what you get.
There are, however, a number of different manufacturers of the drug metformin, but they all have to qualify to manufacture drugs, and let me tell you the quality control and the inspections are very hard!
It makes me angry when people accuse me of changing the drugs to something cheaper, as if it is not of equal quality. It is!
A very rare number of people might have reactions to their drugs. Personally I question how they all can be so sure that the new generic drug caused the diarrhea or the rash or whatever, and not a food poisoning or new laundry detergent.
But if you are very sure the drugs caused the reaction, the doctor and doctor alone has to make a note on the prescription that you only tolerate that particular brand of pills.
Thank you. I have noticed some switching on my meds too, from namebrand to generic.
Whatever the case, pharmacists can and do make mistakes. They are human like the rest of us. We are all in control of our own health and it's our responsibility to stay on top of everything.
Haushinka, just because you may be a pharmacist, does not make you a doctor. And from everything that you said in your post, I would hope that people are extremely careful when they get their meds from you.
For one thing, generic meds are not always the same as the brand names! Yes, many times they are, and I myself do take a lot of generic meds. But there are a lot of meds out there that the generics are not the same too!
As in my case, my prescription said Glumetza, and I was given Metformin. And no, my reaction was not caused by food poisoning or anything else.
As was previously mentioned, we all are human and we all make mistakes. Even the previous post assuming what medicines you take was a human error. Pharmacists face losing their license and Federal prosecution and possible prison if they do purposely switch drugs without a doctor's consent, etc. Also, your pharmacist very most likely called your doctors office first for permission for the switch and often a nurse will say it's okay without asking the doctor if it's okay. It could very well be that the mistake/switch took place from your own doctor's office :-( I had that happen to me during this past year.
Your tip to warn people to be extra, extra careful is a very good one though!
PookaRina Julia, ask your doctor(s) if they have samples! I have to take Spiriva, Symbicort and Ventolin for Emphysema and when I am on my spend down/deductible period I simply can't at all afford $500.00 per month for them :-( I call ahead and ask the office when I am getting low and they check to see if they have them available. Almost every single time they did or were going to be seeing the pharmacy rep within a couple of weeks for restocking. All I have to do is drive a few extra miles to the office to pick them up :-) I hope this will work for you!
I also take Metformin. It tells you on the bottles which drug is the original and the name of the generic.
If you belong to an HMO you can bet they are dealing with Mfgs. that are in other countries for the cheapest price. Ask the Pharmacy "What is the country of origin". I don't care what they say, If it isn't made here in the U.S.A. or Canada even. I'm not taking it.
The Government doesn't have the man power to test all the drugs coming into this country. And the prices for the same drug can vary in prices that you can't believe.
Just ask, Call around to the pharmacies in your area. I called 5 different places and got 5 different prices. For the generic. $500 - $450 . Long's, Wal-Mart's was made in Jordan. And with AAA discount at one ( Rite-aid) plus employee discount $179 for 100 pills, made in Ohio. They worked. My HMO's came from Slovenia, and they didn't work.
The Lowest price at $21.00 was at Costco . The last one was made in Virginia. I called to talk to the Mfg. Yes, it is made here. It worked. However, she couldn't tell me where all the ingredients came from. A big difference.
DR's in HMO's are told to Limit time to 15 minutes per appointment ,unless it is one made for a complete physical, then they can use an hour appointment (once a year).
Right now we're told there is a worldwide shortage of Gemfibrozil the (Canada) ,generic for Lopid,and we are getting just 30 tablets at a time instead of the normal 90 day supply by mail order. There was a news special on TV a few years back on imported drugs, some Mfg. were even using the " chalky substance" found in drywall as a filler to cut costs.
I learned this after the first pills made me sick. And I took it for 3 weeks before giving up and calling the DR. Just to make sure it was the medicine. So please just be careful and be vigilant. GG Vi
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