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10 Steps to Choosing the Pharmacy That's Right for You

February 12, 2013

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4. The Pharmacy Staff Advocates on Your Behalf

If medications are not covered by your insurance company, the pharmacist and/or technician must offer solutions for you. Here are a few examples of how your pharmacist can advocate on your behalf:

  • If a medication is not covered by your insurance company, the pharmacist will contact your physician to discuss the situation and switch the medication to something similar if indicated. For example, your doctor prescribes Lipitor (atorvastatin) for your high cholesterol and it is not covered by your insurance plan. The pharmacist will then contact your doctor to discuss this and your doctor may change your cholesterol medication to Crestor (rosuvastatin) or another drug that would be appropriate for you and is covered by your insurance
  • If your doctor wants you to have a medication that is not covered by your insurance company, the pharmacist will work to obtain a prior authorization for the medication from your insurance company
  • If your insurance company denies a medication your doctor has prescribed, BUT you must have it as it is medically necessary, then your pharmacist will work with you to obtain the medication from the patient assistance program from the drug manufacturer
  • If your ADAP coverage or any other insurance has expired, your pharmacist works with you to get your insurance reinstated. Your pharmacist also assists you in accessing resources and ways to get you access to your medications
  • Pharmacist and staff are able to refer you to community resources that can assist you with other issues that you may be having, e.g. legal aid, support groups, housing, food, transportation.


5. The Pharmacy Must Always Have Your Medication in Stock

You must never run out of your medication. Adherence to your HIV medication regimen is critical in maintaining your health, and not allowing opportunities for drug resistance to arise. If the pharmacy does not have your medications in stock then they are promoting your non-adherence. If the pharmacist is not an HIV expert, then you may not get all your medications filled at the same time, the pharmacist does not know how to counsel you on your regimen, and you may start taking only half the regimen, resulting in drug failure and resistance.

6. You Must Always Receive a Consultation on New Prescriptions or Prescription Changes -- It's the Law

Taking HIV medications is a big commitment on your part. You have to take them every single day and not miss any doses. The consultation from the pharmacist is critical so that you understand exactly what to expect -- and when you are done, feel comfortable taking your meds. The pharmacist will review your medications and make sure you fully understand what each one is for, how to take it, when to take it, side effects, drug interactions and anything else you can expect. Remember to ask the pharmacist any questions that you have as relates to your medications. Remember, there is NO such thing as a stupid question. The pharmacists should always be available to answer your questions.

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This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
HIV Medications: When to Start and What to Take -- A Guide From
More on Choosing and Working With HIV Specialists


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