Duane Reade Pharmacy is Totally Incompetent
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.