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

February 12, 2013

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7. Additional Services

Complimentary delivery and/or mail order and special packaging are offered by ALL HIV specialty pharmacies. Most of the pharmacies also automatically refill your prescriptions each month, which helps you with adherence just in case you forget to call the pharmacy for a refill.

8. Confidentiality and HIPAA

Are you comfortable with the privacy policies of your pharmacy and comfortable that your confidentiality will not be breached? Remember the pharmacy cannot disclose any of your health information to an employer, spouse, child, family member or anyone who comes into the pharmacy or calls the pharmacy without you expressly giving the pharmacy written permission with the names of those who can pick up your medications, receive your medications on delivery, or ask anything else about your medications.

Here are two examples of how your confidentiality could be breached (these actually happened):

  • You and your wife are getting divorced. You are going through a difficult custody battle and she is unaware of your HIV status. She is at the pharmacy picking up her prescription and the pharmacy clerk says to her "Your husband's prescriptions are also ready, would you like to pick them up as well?" With that your wife says "Sure," picks them up and leaves. Your prescriptions are for your HIV meds and she gets home and looks up what the medication is for ... Do you get the picture? The consequences for the HIV-positive person were catastrophic
  • A pharmacy technician went home and discussed an HIV client around the dinner table. The HIV client's son and technician's son were friends. The technician's son went to school the next day and told the HIV client's son, "Your dad has AIDS." The HIV client had not disclosed his status to his son and this was how the little boy found out.

9. You Can Switch Pharmacies WHENEVER You Choose

It is your right to go wherever you choose for your pharmacy services. You may switch pharmacies as many times as you want to, until YOU feel completely comfortable. It is against the law for the pharmacy to offer you gifts or bribe you to either stay with their pharmacy, or move to their pharmacy, and it is unethical to make you feel bad or make you feel guilty about leaving and moving to another pharmacy. Again, REMEMBER THAT IT'S YOUR RIGHT!!!!!!

10. Your Specialty Pharmacy Is Part of the Community and Supports the Community

It is extremely important that the HIV specialty pharmacy that you choose is a member of the community and/or is very involved and committed to the HIV community. The pharmacy must support local events and activities in the community and at local AIDS service organizations. Here are a few examples:

  • The pharmacy participates in local AIDS Walk
  • The pharmacist speaks at local support groups
  • The pharmacy provides support at fundraisers for local organizations
  • The pharmacist is a community activist and sits on the board of directors of local organizations
  • The pharmacist and/or staff members are part of the community, either living with HIV or LGBT

The compassion and commitment of the pharmacy is exhibited in their involvement and work in the community.

Michelle J. Sherman, R.Ph., A.A.H.I.V.P., is a nationally recognized HIV specialist pharmacist practicing in Orange County, Calif.

Read Michelle's blog, Ask Your Online HIV Pharmacist.

Get e-mail notifications every time Michelle's blog is updated.

Copyright © 2013 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
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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

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Anonymous (Pittsburgh) Sun., Mar. 3, 2013 at 10:33 pm UTC
Good information but just a note that some of us are no longer given options in choosing our pharmacy. As of this year, my employer's health plan will not cover any meds taken for more than 60 days, unless you get them through the one and only mail order service they offer, which is not a specalty pharmacy. It seems to be the new trend.
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Anonymous (miami fl) Wed., Feb. 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm UTC
this article scare me too much, enough worries already I don't need this, I purchase from my neighborhood walgreens,no problems so far of what is discribed in this article
Reply to this comment
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Michelle (Dana Point, CA) Wed., Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm UTC
it sounds like you're at the right pharmacy and getting great care, no need to stress about it

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