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The Duane Reade pharmacy at 2409 Broadway (at 88th St), dept #366, is absolutely the most incompetent pharmacy I have ever been to in my life. First of all, I can't even count the number of times I've gone to pick up a prescription that my doctor called in, and they've told me my doctor never called it in, that they have no idea what I'm talking about. When I get the doctor on the phone, she says she did call it in. This has happened at least half a dozen times in the last few years. They're just too incompetent to keep track of prescriptions that are called in.

But the last straw was this. I tried to fill a 90-day script for a long-term med I take (Bupropion XL 300 mgs, generic for Wellbutrin). I dropped it off along with 2 other 90-day scripts, Lexapro and mirtazapine (generic for Remeron). I picked up the Lexapro and mirtazapine on October 25, 2011, but was told by a member of the pharmacy staff that it was too early to pick up the Bupropion XL.

The next day, October 26, 2011, they sent me a text message saying the script was ready to pick up. But I was going on a trip and was unable to pick it up until almost 3 weeks later. When I came to pick it up 3 weeks later, they said they'd already put it back on the shelf and would have to fill it again. I said fine, no problem. Fair enough.

The next day, November 14, I got a text message from them saying there was a problem filling the script. I called them and they told me my insurance wouldn't pay for it, that I have to use the insurance company's mail-order service. This was contrary to what the insurance company told me (both over the phone AND in writing) when I'd begun the plan. It was also contrary to what Duane Reade told me 3 weeks ago (they sent a text on Oct 26 saying the script was ready and I could pick it up).

I told them that the script had already been filled 3 weeks ago, and had been ready to pick up, and that in fact I almost did come pick it up. I was passed around to 3 different people and repeated this to each of them, before I finally got to speak to one of the pharmacists. I asked him, "How come I could have picked this prescription up 3 weeks ago, but now I can't?" The pharmacist said (and I quote): "Uh...I don't know."

So, I spent hours upon hours on the phone with the insurance company over the next 4 days. When I finally managed to get a hold of someone who could help, they informed me that Duane Reade screwed up (surprise, surprise), and I could pick up as many 90-day scripts as I wanted. Duane Reade was completely wrong to tell me I had to use mail-order. So, I wasted 8 hours of my life on the phone with the insurance companies, getting passed from one number to the next and being put on hold over and over again...ALL FOR NOTHING. I should have been able to pick up the prescription all along.

I immediately called Duane Reade pharmacy and informed the pharmacy staff member that I wanted my 90-day Bupropion XL prescription (which I originally dropped off almost a month ago) filled, that I had been told my insurance wouldn't pay for it but that was wrong, that I just spoke to my insurance company and have paperwork to verify this, and that I wanted the prescription filled immediately. The staff member looked up the prescription and told me that he didn't understand why I wasn't able to fill it in the first place, that he wasn't seeing anything on the computer about insurance not paying for it. He said he had no idea what I was talking about, basically.

When I explained the situation, he put me on hold, and when he came back, he tried to tell me that the reason they wouldn't let me have the meds was because I tried to fill the script too early. This of course was BS, and I told him so. It hadn't been too early since October 26, and furthermore, that's not what they told me when I tried to pick up the script. They told me my insurance wouldn't pay because I had to use mail-order, not that it was too early. He put me on hold again, and when he came back, he had changed the story, and tried to tell me it was the insurance company's fault. I told him it wasn't the insurance company's fault, that the insurance company had NEVER put out any kind of notice to the pharmacy saying I had to use mail order, so in fact the insurance company had nothing to do with it and had no idea what the DR pharmacy staff members were talking about. His answer to this was, "Well, uh…I don't know."

I have never been to a pharmacy as incompetent as this one. I will never, EVER go back there again. Everyone there – pharmacists and staff members – are completely useless, and I'm tired of wasting my time on the phone, calling my doctor or my insurance company, trying to figure out what Duane Reade pharmacy did wrong this time. If it was just the one incident, I wouldn't be so disgusted, but this same pharmacy has misplaced my prescriptions so many times, that this was just the last straw.

I've been frustrated by the incompetence of this pharmacy for a long time. In fact, the only reason I still went there (up until this incident) is that I take Suboxone, and they are the only pharmacy I know of in the neighborhood that carries it. It is a tightly controlled substance and not all pharmacies are licensed to carry it.

But even with the Suboxone, they're totally unreliable. Whenever I need to fill my Suboxone prescription, I actually have to call them ahead of time and ask if they have it in stock, because literally half the time they don't. This is a very serious medication that a person will get very, very sick without, very, very quickly. Withdrawal symptoms kick in within 36 hours. A person on Suboxone truly NEEDS it, every day. If you're going to be out of it half the time, then you should at least know when you're going to get it in stock, and what other local pharmacy I can get it from if I can't wait.

But of course, whenever I ask, "When will you have Suboxone in stock again?" and "What other pharmacy can I get it from in the neighborhood?" the answer is always, "Uh...I don't know." That seems to be their answer for everything.

I am never coming back to this pharmacy. I don't even care anymore that they are the only pharmacy in the neighborhood that carries Suboxone (or occasionally carries it, anyway). From now on I'm filling my Suboxone prescription at another pharmacy across town. Having to go across town for my medication is actually less of a hassle than dealing with the useless people at Duane Reade Pharmacy #366.

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Anonymous
#1173320

i had the same story with duane read 94th broadway afew times !!!i don't know why they are playing with people life !such bad staff !!

Anonymous
#387292

Does Duane Reade/Walgreens over-bill insurance companies?? As of January 1st, 2012, Duane Reade won't accept the big name insurance providers like HIP, Emblem Health and Blue Cross. Something is fishy here.

Anonymous
#385288

What on God's green earth makes you think an employee at one business should know what a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT business has in stock? Why is it so difficult for you to understand that you need to call several days in advance for your drug addiction medication?

Suboxone is EXPENSIVE and not used by enough patients to justify keeping it in stock at most pharmacies. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure you don't run out of medications, NOT the pharmacy's. Also, all pharmacies can carry it, but not all doctors can prescribe it.

It is also YOUR insurance that denied your prescriptions. I'd bet my next paycheck that the rep you spoke to put in an override on the mail order required. It is very common for insurance companies to require mail order after so many retail fills of a maintenance med. It is also common for them to lift that requirement when the patient calls. There is NOTHING the pharmacy can do about that, no matter what letters you say you have. It is 100% up to the insurance company to make sure they have everything right on their end.

If you have issues with your doctor improperly calling in prescriptions, then always get a paper prescription and take it to the pharmacy yourself. Common sense.

You have no idea how pharmacy actually works, sorry.

Anonymous
to j New York City, New York, United States #636471

"What on God's green earth makes you think an employee at one business should know what a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT business has in stock?"

A "completely different business?" Ha. Try another branch of the same business. What on God's green earth makes YOU think that the Duane Reade pharmacy on 88th Street should have NO CLUE what other Duane Reade pharmacies carry Suboxone?

What makes you think that a pharmacy should have NO CLUE when they will have a medication in stock again?

"Why is it so difficult for you to understand that you need to call several days in advance for your drug addiction medication?"

Several days in advance? Ha. Try a few weeks in advance. Try an "I have no idea when or if we'll have your Suboxone in stock again."

What makes you think a pharmacy should have NO clue when they'll have your med in stock again? What makes you think a customer should wait WEEKS for their medication to be in stock?

I have never had that problem at any small business pharmacy. There are two small pharmacies I go to for Suboxone now (both far out of my way). They almost always have it in stock, and if they don't, they sure as *** know when it WILL be in stock. And I NEVER have to wait more than 1 to 3 days.

"Suboxone is EXPENSIVE and not used by enough patients to justify keeping it in stock at most pharmacies."

Yes. That is why your doctor will give you a list of pharmacies in Manhattan that DO keep...

"It is YOUR responsibility to make sure you don't run out of medications, NOT the pharmacy's."

Um, no, actually. It is the pharmacy's job to keep track of what meds they have in stock, which need to be ordered, which HAVE been ordered, and when they'll arrive.

Apparently you think it's perfectly acceptable for a person to wait weeks for their monthly scrip, but actually, it's not.

It's not unreasonable to expect to be able to pick up a scrip no more than a few days after dropping it off. It should not take weeks. And it sure as *** should not take "we don't know how long."

"If you have issues with your doctor improperly calling in prescriptions, then always get a paper prescription and take it to the pharmacy yourself. Common sense."

My doctor doesn't improperly call in scrips. They (both the previous and current doc) have on countless occasions called in scrips, and then Duane Reade LOSES them. She calls them in, and when I go to pick it up, they say, "Nobody called it in."

That's not a doctor calling stuff in improperly, that's an incompetent pharmacy that can't keep track of phone scrips.

Did it ever occur to you that I don't have time to make an appt and go to the doctor for EVERY single scrip? Do you realize I am on about 6 different medications? Or that sometimes I can't make an appt (or the doc can't), so the doc has to call in a week's worth of meds to tide me over?

It is not unreasonable to expect a pharmacy to keep track of phone scrips. It's their effing JOB. Doctors call in scrips for patients all the time. If the pharmacy can't keep track, then they shouldn't be in business.

It is absolutely insane to excuse them from losing scrips just because they are phone scrips. It's very hard to take you seriously when you mouth off with BS like that: "A pharmacy is not responsible for scrips that are phoned in." OMG. I may never stop laughing.

"It is also YOUR insurance that denied your prescriptions. I'd bet my next paycheck that the rep you spoke to put in an override on the mail order required."

Oh, I'm sorry, were you on the phone with me when I spoke to the insurance company? No? Great. Then STFU, because you have no clue what you're mouthing off about.

"It is very common for insurance companies to require mail order after so many retail fills of a maintenance med."

Um, yeah. I know that, and have dealt with mail order before. This was not the issue. The med was not required to be mail order. The insurance people had no clue why the pharmacy would have thought that.

And they abso-f***ing-lutely do NOT "lift that requirement" if the patient calls. I've tried that. They've refused to allow it, every time.

One time, I went DAYS without a medication because Medco's own rep made a mistake. She told me I didn't have to do mail order for this med, that I could pick it up at a retail pharmacy. When I go to pick it up, lo and behold, insurance won't cover it. I call Medco back and they say, "Oh, that rep made a mistake. Sorry. You DO have to do mail order."

Meanwhile, mail order takes 2 weeks. If the rep had given me the correct info 2 weeks ago, when I originally called, then I would've had time to do the mail order. At this point, I'm out of meds, it's too late for mail order, the whole situation is THEIR fault, and they STILL won't let me pick it up at a retail pharm!

Just TRY and get Medco to override policy and let you pick up a mail order med at a retail pharm. And pigs might fly.

"You have no idea how pharmacy actually works, sorry."

Actually, YOU have no idea how a competent pharmacy works. Sorry.

I now go only to small, independent pharmacies (NOT chains like Duane Reade, Walgreens, or CVS) and I have not had one problem since. Not ONE.

The difference is that the people who work at the big chain pharmacies literally do not give a f***. It's not their money that's lost when unhappy customers stop going there. They don't care and they don't try, because they have no incentive to care or try.

The people who work at small indie pharmacies care, because they know that their livelihood depends on their customer's satisfaction.

You're probably one of those fake pharmacists employed at a big chain pharmacy, and your feelings were hurt by this complaint. Either that, or you work in Duane Reade's marketing department, and are paid to troll these customer complaint sites, and make it look as if all the complaints are the customer's or the doctor's fault. I would bet MY next paycheck on this.

Bottom line, people: NEVER go to big chain pharmacies. Stick to small, independently owned ones. The difference between them is astounding. I have had nothing but great service from the small indie pharms.

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Anonymous
to j New York City, New York, United States #636482

Sorry, I just cannot get over this comment:

"If you have issues with your doctor improperly calling in prescriptions, then always get a paper prescription and take it to the pharmacy yourself. Common sense."

It is just so telling, how you immediately assume it's the doctor's fault, when you have absolutely no clue whether this is true.

Right. Two different doctors have improperly called in scrips over a dozen times. Common sense alert: even if the scrips were called in improperly, there should at least be a RECORD of what was called in.

And if the doctor spoke directly to the pharmacist (or even left a message with a callback number), then the mistake should be easy enough to straighten out.

Or are you suggesting it's perfectly acceptable for the pharmacy to throw out a scrip -- and then pretend they never heard of it -- just because it was called in improperly?

So, what you say makes absolutely no sense at all. It just further proves my suspicions: you're not a real poster, you're a troll from the Duane Reade marketing dept, trying to undermine all the legitimate complaints against your company.

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