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Report: #1478886

Complaint Review: Safeway Pharmacy - Oakland California

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  • Reported By: AG — Oakland California United States
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  • Safeway Pharmacy 6310 College Avenue Oakland, California United States

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I came to the pharamacy with a valid prescription from a licensed doctor. I had previously filled the same prescription at the pharmacy using a coupon. They have accepted the GoodRX coupon vendor numerous times before.

The pharmacist informed my that due to a policy to "dissuade customers use of controlled substances," she could not accept the coupon. In other words, if I paid 800% more, then their was no dissuation, but if I couldn't afford that then, they couldn't help me.

This is absurd. There is no law preventing a pharmacy from accepting a coupon for a controlled substance, and a pharmacist should not be able to levy a customer's mode of payment against them to "dissuade" them from from paying a lower price for a medication a doctor has prescribed, with no other response than it's our policy.

What if a medication is vitally important to one's health? Where they could have accepted the coupon (of a type they do indeed accept), they've now seemingly created a seeming medical liability based on discriminatory pricing practices.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/16/2019 12:42 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#3 Author of original report

Discrimintory practice

AUTHOR: AG - (United States)

POSTED: Monday, June 03, 2019

If the medication is addictive, then the pharmacy's presumption is that the customer with a coupon is clearly at a higher risk for drug addiction than a wealthy customer who can pay out of pocket. 

Wealth, in fact, actually just makes it easier to hide addiction.

In other words, the issue I'm pointing out is not the addictive nature of a drug, it is that a customer, whose addiction status is unknown, is being prejudged by a pharmacist based purely on their method of payment alone.

A pharmacist does not know what my doctor knows.

My doctor's opinion is signed on the RX script and therefore should be granted. He has in effect said, provide this substance to my patient, and the pharmacist has responded to him that his proffessional medical opinion is not valid, simply because the customer is paying with a coupon, and therefore, more likely to be an addict, even though, there's absolutely zero data about myself to conclusively support this.

Note this was the second time, I tried to fill the prescription. The first time the coupon was readily accepted without issue.

The essence of this, and where I imagine a massive lawsuit will come about is that pharmacists are interfering with a doctor's direct order and doing so without informing him, based on no law whatsoever. This would seem to be pretty clearly pharmaceutical malpractice, especially if the lack of medication leads to negative outcomes.

Imagine, an elderly person on a fixed income who has no history of addiction. Has paid his taxes and been a model citizen all his life. Now he's in pain and his insurance won't cover a drug. The coupon is what stands between him and a cruel and unusual outcome in terms of pain. Does a pharmacist passing judgment on this person and sentencing them to pain because of their economic coupon-status seem just?

Imagine, you're in a hospital, and your doctor orders a drug for you. The pharmacist arrives and is about to administer the drug, when he realizes the patient is using a coupon. He then leaves the room and lets the patient suffer or even die without ever notifying the doctor. This in effect, is precisely what the pharmacist is doing.



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#2 Consumer Comment

Controlled Subtances

AUTHOR: Robert - (United States)

POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2019

Based on what you have posted you are trying to get a "Schedule" Drug, which has very strict restrictions in order to even obtain it. Now, you are correct that there is no law that states a company can't take a coupon for a "Schedule" Drug. But there is also no law that says they must or that if they don't it is discrimination.

In fact there are a few major retailers who have implemented policies to no longer accept coupons for these type of drugs.  As the desire of the medical community as a whole moves to reducing the use of these drugs, you can expect that more will follow suit.

Because of the type of drug, it usually isn't a simple matter to change the pharmacy.  This is why it is YOUR responsibility to confirm BEFORE the prescription is written if the pharmacy you are sending it to will accept the coupon.

What if a medication is vitally important to one's health?
- But the reality is that we are not talking about something like blood preasure or other medication. We are talking about "pain medication", so this is irrelevent to your situation. Oh and please spare us the "Oh you don't understand" or any other rationalization as to why you MUST have these drugs.  

Don't take this as being unfeeling or not caring.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  I know people who survive and function in society with many debilitating conditons without the use of any sort of "Controlled Substance". I have also seen the other side where people get addicted to these drugs and continue to deny it and deny it...until it is too late.

There are many, many less or the same cost, as trying to survive on these more addictive drugs. You just have to be willing to explore other options.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Use another pharmacy that accepts discount coupons

AUTHOR: FloridaNative - (United States)

POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2019

I am a consumer, just like you.

I am in no way defending pharmacies and their drug prices.

However to say that the pharmacy has a discriminatory policy against coupon users is a bit of a stretch. An individual pharmacy can opt to accept or reject coupons. It's the free market at work.

If I were in your place, and I have been, I would find another pharmacy that accepts the coupon. 

PS - IMO the real issue is the tremendous increase in drug pricing by big pharma. 

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