The Ninth Area, War, at the Pharmacy

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and colleagues calculated that in 2002, 83,570 African Americans died who would not have if Black and white mortality rates were equal. That’s 229 “excess deaths” per day: the equivalent of an airplane loaded with Black passengers being shot out of the sky and killing everyone on board every single day of the year.

I’m asking for war counsel from my readers.

Today, I got a call from a local chain pharmacy that has been filling the prescriptions of a close relative for several years. It was one of their automated calls that I’ve gotten used to receiving which informs the patient that a prescription has been filled and is ready for pick up. I want to make it clear that I am NOT asking for advice on how to remedy or treat the condition of my dear one by either allopathic or more natural remedies. I am, for now, convinced that this medication is necessary to sustain the health of my kin.

Here is the decision I must make: Do I pick up the medication from a pharmacy that has made outlandishly clear their intentional deceit and mistreatment of me and my kin? Or, do I attempt to get the prescription filled elsewhere? The decision is not as easy as it might seem. And, the white people involved with this mess at this pharmacy know that. Creating this dilemma was their intention. I will organize the background of this dilemma into two parts: 1) the truth told to me by these white people, and 2) The Deceit.

THE TRUTHFUL PARTS
Drug A, the one waiting at the pharmacy right now, required an appeal to our insurance.

Filling another prescription, call it drug B, that my relative needs each month, required an appeal to our insurance about three months ago.

This pharmacy couldn’t get Drug B at the beginning of this month from their manufacturer.

Insurance appeals usually take no more than 5 business days if the letter from the prescribing doctor stating its medical necessity and the reason that a less expensive drug could not be used is submitted.

THE DECEIT

—When, standing at the pharmacy window on a Friday afternoon, I asked for the doctor’s letter that had been submitted three months ago to get drug B so that I could take it to another pharmacy that had some of the drug in its shelf stock. I was told by a young white woman that the person who handles the pharmacy’s appeals and who had access to that letter, Tony, was gone for the day. I asked to speak with whoever was in charge at the time. After each request, the young white woman left the window for a few minutes only to return to tell me that neither the appeals specialist, Tony, nor any manager who could help me was working. She said I’d have to come back on Monday to get the information I needed. That was a lie. How do I know? Because, when I was insistent on speaking with whoever was in charge at the time, even if that meant the store manager on duty, I was asked to move to the consultation window. The appeals specialist, Tony, whom I recognized by his name badge, appeared. He announced that he was, indeed, the person who handled my kin’s appeal and, yes, all appeals. He began asking me for identifying information. Remember, this was the person I was told three times was not in the building. And, he’s the person who probably told the young white person to do it. She seemed to enjoy telling me that lie, too. He, then, gave me a copy of a document issued when the appeal was approved. I thanked him but asked for my letter as well. He said I didn’t need it; that the approval number on the document he handed me was all another pharmacy needed to get the prescription covered if they had the drug in stock. He would not give me the letter. There was no shouting, cursing or name-calling. This white man did not even turn red. I then phoned 10-12 other pharmacies and found one that had drug B in stock and was able to get it filled with the document given to me by the uncooperative white man, Tony.

—A week later, I requested that a third drug, let’s call it drug C, be refilled. My kin had been taking drug C for several years and had never required an insurance appeal. When I called to check on the status of drug A, I was told that this drug C, too, now required a special appeal. When I asked what reason the insurance gave, I was told that the the insurance said they did not cover that drug. Incredulous, I asked if the request had mistakenly been submitted as brand name instead of as generic as prescribed. I was assured by three different pharmacy staff, all white persons who were bordering on rude and dismissive, that it had been submitted and rejected as a generic drug. They were lying. How do I know? Because, when I asked the pharmacist who is called “Asian,” who works his butt off by himself late at night, if it is unusual for a drug to need an appeal when it is listed as covered on the insurance formulary, he double-checked and found that someone in the pharmacy had checked the “brand-name” box. He unchecked it and filled the prescription for drug C that night.

—In the same conversation earlier that day with the white folks , I was asking for a status update for the drug in question, drug A— since it had been more than a week since the latest date an answer should have been received on the required appeal. I had submitted the prescription for drug A with the required doctor’s letter but the pharmacy staff person who submits all insurance appeals told me he never got the letter after it was received by another pharmacy staff person. That was a lie. How do I know this? Because, I told Tony that I now question both the competence and honesty of the staff at that pharmacy and that I would be pursuing this matter with the officials in charge of the pharmacy, the store, and the corporation and would present a list of irregularities with dates, times and names. I, then, picked up all of the original written prescriptions for my kin from the late night staff. The outcome was the automated call that the prescription had been filled two days later. This would have been impossible had the doctor’s letter not been submitted to the insurance by the pharmacy.

So, now, the dilemma. How in the world did the pharmacy fill a prescription that they no longer have in their possession? And, since they processed an appeal with the insurance for the drug this month, if I now take a copy of the letter to another pharmacy to start the appeals process again, the insurance is likely to say that they already paid for it over at this pharmacy staffed with people playing life-or-death chicken with me over my loved one’s needed medications. Yet, how can I even trust that this pharmacy didn’t put something harmful in the bottle that is waiting? We have enough of a supply of the drug A in alternate liquid form to last another two weeks.

What would you do?

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8 Responses to “The Ninth Area, War, at the Pharmacy”

  1. Thank you Minnie, Emissary, and LBM. I’m heading to the alternate pharmacy right now. Words are inadequate to express my appreciation.

  2. I’m with MinnieB on this one. Change pharmacy and “wear the mask” UNTIL you get the needed medication then show your butt if necessary. The anti-humans are perceiving “the pie” getting smaller and thus are becoming increasingly vicious. I agree when you said previously that we shouldn’t allow them to be comfortable with their racism – at the same time, we will have to be increasingly crafty with them as well.

    This sharing is a good thing. We should all start sharing such experiences and seeking or offering constructive advice as how to make them as uncomfortable as they make us.

  3. EmissaryOfWar Says:

    Cree believe it or not I was thinking that as I was typing my response. I know nothing goes correctly when we try to deal with these vampires in their system, but I sent it anyway. My real thoughts were an eye for an eye, but there is not enough of us that are ready for that yet because that process combined with the meticulous thought of people like yourself and others will get results.

  4. “Question, wouldn’t the lab need to inspect each and every capsule?”

    Sister Cree,
    To the trained eye, and professional pharmacist, checking the meds would be a short task. I would expect the lab to check each and every capsule for safety and accuracy.
    Minne

  5. Yes, sir, I did note the date and time of every one of those transactions and those on the phone can be confirmed with phone records. I will go ahead, as you advise and ask a different pharmacy, one staffed with a s many black people as possible who are listening when I make the request to check each and every pill.

    Ya know, Emissary, white folks gave me a master’s in Law and Public Policy and I’ve had to to A LOT of work with lawyers, judges, government agency officials and corporation officials. I’ve used my knowledge of law and my knowledge of counter-racist code to try to correct mistreatment of black people for about 8 years now. I have seen over and over again how white people—including judges and the lawyers black people hire—all collude to further mistreat black people and deny compensation for anymistreatment. There is always a part of teh process that is up to the discretion of some white person who does not have to prove or justify their action. And, i have NEVER seen that discretion used justly. So, I’ve decided that the best way to get what I want is almost never from follwoing through on a law suit but rather to get some white person to fear being punished for causing a white person above them more work in then practice of WS. Letting other black people know, one way or another, what has been done is what cause the extra work to perpetrate deceit.

  6. EmissaryOfWar Says:

    Cree, you tend to be very thorough and detailed oriented. Did you time stamp the shenanigans as they were happening, as to prove the purposely illogical process they put you thru in filling a prescription for definite life and death purposes? I ask because recalling the Sandy Darrity interview when he said that so called Black dont follow thru legally enough. Having the other pharmacy check every pill will/should coincide with any possible legal ramifications because it is a reasonable request and that is the purpose of a pharmacy.

  7. CREE-EIGHT Says:

    Thank you so much Ninnie B. VERY constructive advice. I will do all of those things. I have already transferred the prescriptions. Question, wouldn’t the lab need to inspect each and every capsule? Thank you again and very very sincerely for taking the time to advise me on this critical matter.

  8. “how can I even trust that this pharmacy didn’t put something harmful in the bottle that is waiting? We have enough of a supply of the drug A in alternate liquid form to last another two weeks.

    What would you do?”

    I would get the needed prescription, and take it to an independent pharmacy, or university lab for analysis. My reasoning and request for the analysis is that there was some “mix-up” and you need to be sure the correct meds are in the accurate containers.

    The next move I would make is to transfer all prescriptions to another pharmacy. Request letters from your loved one’s doctor (hard copies) for your caretaker files, in the event you will be traveling. Take your list of meds, and needed letters to another pharmacy.

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