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Dos and Donts when asking for Copies/Transfers

·2808 words·14 mins

Usually my rants are about patients, doctors, the system, etc. This one is about other pharmacies and other pharmacists.
We all get copy requests from other pharmacies. For those of you who are playing along at home, when you want your Rx filled at one pharmacy transfered to another pharmacy, there is an unwritten procedure that assures that your Rx gets safely transfered to your pharmacy of choice.
Now as easy as this sounds, there are some real assholes out there who just grind my gears. Let me elaborate.

  • The biggest unwritten rule is that the pharmacy that is getting the copy (the one who is going to fill it) initiates the phone call. That means that if your Rx was filled at Rite-Aid, and you want to get it filled this month at Bob’s Discount Drug, then Bob’s would have to call Rite-Aid.
    • The proper way to ask for a copy is: “Hello, this is NAME from PHARMACY, wondering if I could get a couple copies please.” The incorrect way is: “Hello, this is NAME from PHARMACY, I need these Rx’s transfered over”. Usually when someone is really blunt and demanding, I tell them to go fuck themselves. You are ASKING another pharmacy to give up business so you can fill this Rx. Ask don’t assume or demand.
      • If you are calling another store that you are on good terms with, demand to speak with your pharmacist friend, then say “Gimme a copy you fucker”. Don’t be sad if they hang up on you.
        • If the pharmacist asks you if you wish to have it verbally, or via fax; the correct answer (if the patient isn’t waiting) is via fax. Hard copies beat hand-scribbled copies any day. This is especially true for narcotics. Make sure when you request fax, you follow with “when you get a free moment”. Now if you are calling an independent pharmacy, a “free moment” may be within the next 15 min. If you are calling Walgreens, a “free moment” may be a week from next Tuesday.
          • If you want a copy via phone, have your pharmacist make the call and wait on hold. Nothing pisses me off more than when a dumbass tech calls me for a copy, then has ME wait on hold for THEIR pharmacist. That usually ends up in me hanging up the phone. If I have to take my time out of my day to transfer an Rx to you, then you can take some time out of your day to make the phone call.
            • If you want your copy via fax, then don’t call up in 5 min asking where it is. It’ll get to you when it gets to you. Obviously you were not in a hurry, or else you would of asked for it to be over the phone.
              • If you fax something over, make sure it has the least amount of writing on it. Don’t be like Walgreens and take a computer screenshot that takes 20 min and all of my fax toner to recieve and print out. All I need are words, I could care less how pretty your pharmacy software screen is. In fact, doing so after I specifically tell you not to usually ends up with your fax machine receiving 100 pages of pure black pages overnight.
                • When talking with your patients about transfering your Rx over, inform them that if the other pharmacy has already filled it, they may not want to transfer it over. I get really annoyed when a dipshit patient calls in their refill to me, I fill it, then they want it transfered to some place down the road. I spent the time and money to fill your Rx, so you can get it here. Unless you are in another city or state, if you call in the refill, you’re getting it here. Im not backing out or RTS’ing anything.
                  • “Hi! I need for you to back out something” is asking for trouble. Some tech said this to me this week and I responded with “Well, I need a blow job, a steak dinner, and a back rub” then hung up. You don’t call up pharmacies and demand they back out something. You ask. This also goes true for Prior Auth Numbers for Medicaid. You ask for the prior auth number, not demand it. If the pharmacy says “No”, then you just tell the patient and deal.
                    • Always ask if there are any patient notes before you get the copy. You have no idea how many headaches I have saved by refusing copies from known crackheads. If the transferring pharmacist thanks you and offers to buy you a beer, you just got fucked.
                      I’m sure there are more of these. Feel free to comment and i’ll add them to the list.

Comments #

Comment by funnier rph on 2007-02-14 00:09:19 -0800 #

check out my blog if you think this is funny
love, filet

Comment by Kristina on 2007-02-14 11:52:43 -0800 #

That is so funny about “Copy Etiquette”. There is this one pharmacist who always calls for copies & when the tech answers the phone, refuses to say he’s calling for a copy. Instead he says, “Hi, I need to talk to the pharmacist”. When the tech asks who’s calling, he only repeats that he needs to talk to me. This aggravates the hell out of me, because when I answer he asks me, “How are you?” (this is usually what the Vicodin poppers ask me when they want something) and then I find out it’s someone in my own profession!!! Ughghghghg! Identify yourself, Mr. Meijer Pharmacist!!!

Comment by Kelly on 2007-02-14 14:12:54 -0800 #

WOOOOO!! go Walgreens!! I love it when you bitch about Walgreens..cuz I work there and it sucks hard!

Comment by Streaker on 2007-02-14 17:44:27 -0800 #

As an intern, nothing pisses me off more than when another intern calls for a copy and doesn’t know what to ask for. If you are one of these FUCKTARDS, you need to review aka; ask your preceptor what you need to know and write that crap down. I’ve worked retail for nearly 7 years as a tech and know what goes into a copy, your dumbass should too. Hell, walgreens has it all written out on blanks for you, USE THEM!!!! Also please get OUR refill number, it makes it a whole lot easier to look up the meds, I hate wasting my time searching a profile when Abu the intern just got the med name, and now can’t pronounce it. “Is it Albuterol or Atenolol you want moron????”

Comment by RXSUCKS on 2007-02-15 11:41:54 -0800 #

You could start a new section called “Ask the Angry Rph Etiquette Questions”
ie. Dear Angry Rph;
I had another Rph tell me he was too busy to give me a copy and asked if I could call back in an hour. Should I have told him to fuck himself and hung up, or should I have called back later?
Thanks for your feedback-Puzzeled in PA

Comment by Heather on 2007-02-16 00:03:59 -0800 #

It helps if the patient has the rx bottles, knows the pharmacies phone number and knows the medication they want transfered. Theres nothing i hate more than…
customer- “can you transfer my prescriptions from rite aid?”
me- “sure do you have the bottles with you”
customer- “no”
me- “Which Rite-Aid?”
customer- “The one in Long Beach” (there are like 10 Rite-Aids in Long Beach)
me- “Do you have their phone number?”
customer- “no, don’t you have a computer can’t you look this up”
(i dont see why they think that seeing as how we are another chain store in another city, i use the same method you would use, 411)
me- “do you know what street that it’s on?”
customer- “i think it’s on Cherry” (turns out that’s the cross street)
me- “What medications do you need transfered?”
customer- “all of them”
me- “which ones do you need? do you know what they are for?”
customer- “some inhalers and some white pills and the pink round pills, the eye drops with the yellow lid”
It’s like sure, i have all day to hunt for this pharmacy’s phone number and then waste the other pharmacists time with having them go through every prescription even though theres probaly no refills and/or expired. I would have known this before hand if you would just BRING ME THE BOTTLES.

Comment by Surgeon in my Dreams on 2007-02-16 12:14:29 -0800 #

Gosh. I’m stunned. You’ll never have a problem with ulcers, hunh?
I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago, and it has more cursing that I heard in 3 years of junior high school, but I sure have enjoyed it. Actually have just finished all the archives!!
If you could only learn to speak your mind.

Comment by rxloren on 2007-02-16 16:03:57 -0800 #

In the State I’m in, if asked for a transfer, it is LAW that you give up the script. So I guess it doesn’t matter how they ask or demand it. If you tell them to go fuck… you could be visited by the State Disciplinary Committee. I like to keep those guys away from MY pharmacy. 🙂

Comment by Aerik on 2007-02-16 16:28:55 -0800 #

Hey I know this is off topic, but in 30 minutes, via I’m going to listen to a live internet radio interview with a host and 3 guests, one of which is a total fuckwit who thinks vaccinations are a pharmaceutical scam to bilk people of money.
” Brandon Burton, Roger Schlafly and Ingri Cassel square off to discuss whether or not we should even have vaccinations. Brandon is currently working for the US Gov performing vaccination trails. Roger Schlafly is a mathematician and patent agent living in Santa Cruz California. His interest in vaccination arose with his two daughters, and he concluded that his youngest daughter need not be vaccinated. While Ingri is the spokesperson for Vaccine Liberation at: and 100% against vaccinations or pharmaceutical remedies of any kind.”
This is right in your perview. The host of this show is at and I think you’d be a good person to rebuke Ingri.

Comment by Patrick on 2007-02-16 20:54:28 -0800 #

Another thing not to do when getting a copy from another pharmacy, it ask them to give you the person information, and insurance info.

Comment by vicodinfairy on 2007-02-17 07:00:50 -0800 #

Ok, first, not all Walgreens are dickhead timewasters, k? 🙂 Though if you ask me to fax something it will take a while as I am shortstaffed and filling ~500/day. I’m TRYING dude! My pet peeve are the RPhs over at our local Osco/CVS who have no clue how to run the buyout software system and therefore take 15 minutes to transfer an Rx for Atenolol. I HATE that. I’m SWAMPED you jackass, just tell me the last date of fill!!! I don’t want this patient!! I have too much to do already!! The pharmacist that needs prompting drives me wild…”and the quantity? and the sig? and the original date?? last fill?? doctor’s name??” Sweet mother of god! How did you get this job???
I love to give copies to people. Love it. Go away. I freely tell the receiving pharmacist anything they want to know…drug addict, psycho bitch, medicaid freeloader, nice but wacky, you name it. I laugh and do a little dance when people I hate transfer out. I’ll give you that transfer in 30 seconds flat. I’ve got a system! Unfortunately, they all come back. They tell me they hate me, that I’m a bitch, we take too long, etc. then they transfer all 52 of their Rxs out…only to come back in a month. “You guys are so much faster than at pharmacy X, the pharmacist there is a real bitch.”
So am I, motherf**ker, so am I.
Actually, I’m supercoolnice at work. The old ladies love me and the little old men flirt with me…only narc addicts call me a bitch to my face these days. I’m cool with that.
Oh, and the “You need to call tiny pharmacy X and transfer my Rxs to them” infuriates me. I always tell the patient “I’m sorry, if they want these scripts they need to call me, that’s how this is done.” When they say ” The guy there said to have you call him” I say “Nope, if he wants my business he’ll call me.” They always do…thank goodness.
Rant over.

Comment by jim on 2007-02-18 08:52:01 -0800 #

We feel your pain.How about a story about medicare not paying independents?

Comment by Chris on 2007-02-27 18:08:38 -0800 #

Haha, you’re channeling me I think.. I love this site. (Just found it.)
I manage a pharmacy near St. Louis, MO.. you rant about EVERYTHING we rant about all day long!

Comment by BlueTech on 2007-03-28 23:01:26 -0700 #

I can relate to the complaints about walgreens faxes…I work at walgreens, and I have to admit our fax system is more fucked up than Hitler.

Comment by rx jo rx on 2007-04-03 00:46:15 -0700 #

Aah, copies. Just recently I called some “FUCKTARD” at Walgreen’s, politely asking for a copy. After being on hold for 20 minutes, I was promptly transferred to the photo department. Yes, I’m really calling from another pharmacy to ask about your crappy copy machine. Worst part is, I called back and he tried to transfer me again.

Comment by M on 2009-09-22 10:24:19 -0700 #

Yea I work at walgreens pharmacy and do admit, everyone there is overworked and understaffed. I believe the corporate office figures out how many hours we are alloted and then remove 40 hours (1 shift) per week and we work with it. IF you go overtime your now fired – no exceptions. Which is stupid because they make us count out our drawers at the end of our shift which the manager recounts which takes about 10 – 15 mins!! Anyways, the reason you got transferred to photo is b/c the walgreens system rings the phone at every work station and if your put on hold we only get 1 minute to answer if we dont the overflow system rings and the phone is transferred to photos/office/cosmetics/front registers…faxes are screwed up too…i dont even wanna get into that.
Another thing I feel that pharmacists are the most disrespected health care professional, i see it all the time from both management and customers. Just last week a customer came 10 mins before we closed wanted his C2 filled NOW. Unfortunately, we were busy and he was getting pissed that he had to wait in line in front of other people. When it was his turn I apologized to him and directed him to the 24 hours store a few miles down the road. He started cursing me and the pharmacist while she was counseling and said it only takes 1 minute to fill this!! The old handicapped lady the pharmacist was counseling wanted help to find the right constipation medication so the pharmacist had to go out an help her and the guys calls us lazy asses and tells the pharmacist to make the me counsel the pt (im only a tech) and have her fill the c2 now!!!! It got to the pt where the pharmacist is being yelled at by this big guy and hes questioning her and telling her that she has to do it for him now and he knows her job better than she does!! All this 5 mins be4 we closed.

Comment by cardsfanbj on 2010-10-22 08:02:23 -0700 #

I once got a patient who tried calling in a refill with a number for a different pharmacy, on the phone for five minutes, then angry at me because it took so long…

Comment by I_hatemyjob on 2011-12-17 11:09:24 -0800 #

Well, first of all I want to say is that retail pharmacy practice is a small world, we all may have chance to see one another in certain occasion. What U want to say is to treat your colleagues well. The following habits should be prohibited,

  1. When you or your partner know the phone is for copy, TRYING TO PUT PHONE ON HOLD AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.
  3. None of us really like to give business away, but try not to pretend you are busy when you actually work alone.
  4. SPEAKING AT A SPEED THAT THE OTHER SIDE CAN ACTUALLY FOLLOW YOU. We are all busy but speaking to fast may just d;ow down the whole process.
  5. Look at this way, patients can pick up medication at any pharmacy therefore the prescription is not your property. Then you will be happier when you give a copy to the other pharmacy