Rx Scams: Are pharmacies refusing to give you back your hard copy prescription?
PART I - On the wholly arbitrary nature of drug prices in the USA.
Same medicine, same number of pills, same generic. At the CVS-Equivalent Pharmacy: $138.00. At "HealthWarehouse.Com" (US online pharmacy): $28.94. Because Markets?!
PART II - On a possible scam being pulled by Pharmacies wherein they take ownership of an original prescription with refills to grab onto the rent stream of the refills and prevent you from shopping elsewhere.
Lady needs prescription. Has to pay $100 to primary care doc at local walk in clinic to get it (scam number one but that's "another" department of our American fu***ed up anti-health system).
Lady then heads over to the CVS-equivalent in the area to fill the RX (which has a few refills on it). Lady knows that through online pharmacy price for the RX will be significantly lower than CVS-equivalent, so tells pharmacist that she wants the RX filled but then wants the RX original paper returned to her so she can process refills through cheaper online pharmacy.
Pharmacist claims can't give back the original RX. "If you move somewhere else, have the pharmacy there call us." Lady: "No, I just want my prescription back so I can get the refills anywhere I want without having to go through the rigamarole of having "them call you" etc." Pharmacist: "It's the law - RX becomes property of Pharmacy." Lady: "Ok, so if I fill the RX now here, then you will transfer it to my United States (not Canadian or Mexican) online pharmacy?" Pharmacist: "No - we don't transfer to online pharmacies." Huhh??
Lady: "Since you scan everything into EMR, can't you just use the scanned copy for your records?" Pharmacist: "No. We have to keep hard copies for 15 years. [Huuu??]" Lady: "Can you tell me what law or regulation allows you to keep the prescription and not return it to me for future refills." Pharmacist - getting tense and nervous now: "No ... er .... " Lady: "Well, is it federal law or state law?" Pharmacist [now so tense her eyes are squinting]: "Er ... probably federal and state." Lady: "So you're giving me this clear "rule" and you don't even know who made it? Didn't any part of your training as a pharmacist give you that information?" Pharmacist [looking at her computer hoping Lady will just fade]: "No." Then she gives the Lady the price for the prescription -- $138 (with local discount!) Lady laughs out loud, says "No thank you, have a nice day," and waltzes outta there. Gets to a computer and finds that the price of the same exact RX at the online pharmacy (the American oh-so-legit one) is ... $28.94.
The RX is not a controlled substance or anything. Plus, wasn't "EMR" (Electronic Medical Records) -- "because technology and freedom"!! -- supposed to benefit "everyone" precisely in situations like this? Pharmacy gets to just store PDFs and not have to store a gazillion boxes of original RXs, etc.?
Lady is betting this is some scam where pharmacies grab a rent stream and hold on to it. Research to be completed on the subject soon. Answer probably lies with local Pharmacy Board.
Readers: any similar experiences or intel on the legality of pharmacies refusing to give you back your hard copy prescription if it has refills on it that you might want to (because market and educated consumers) get the refills elsewhere?