How Do I Choose My Pharmacist And Pharmacy?

Do all pharmacists and/or pharmacies provide the same services?

All pharmacies are required to meet minimum standards. Most, however, offer services and conveniences beyond the minimum requirements. When choosing a pharmacist and/or pharmacy, you should evaluate your needs and make a selection to meet those needs.

Once you choose a pharmacy, it is strongly recommended that you use this pharmacy for all of your prescriptions needs. This allows you to receive the greatest benefit from the "screening" for drug interactions, etc., by your pharmacist since this one pharmacy has all of your prescription drug records.

What are some things to consider when choosing a pharmacist and/or pharmacy?

Some suggested questions to ask when choosing a pharmacist and/or pharmacy include:

  • Does the pharmacist take time to answer your questions in a manner that you understand?
  • Is the pharmacy open during hours that fit your schedule? Is the location convenient to your home or to work?
  • Does the pharmacy deliver? If so, are there restrictions or additional charges?
  • If there is an emergency, does the pharmacy provide after-hours service or a special emergency telephone number?
  • Are charge accounts available?
  • Does the pharmacy handle the drugs you expect to be taking?
Will prescriptions cost more if a pharmacist and/or pharmacy provides additional services and conveniences?

Maybe. There may be a higher cost for additional services or conveniences such as delivery, charge accounts, and emergency service. Real value, however, comes not only from the price of your prescriptions, but from having your specific needs met at a fair price.

What additional things should I consider when using a mail service or Internet pharmacy?

Communicating with your mail service or Internet pharmacy accurately and clearly is vital. It is recommended that you send a written letter with every order sent to the pharmacy, which clearly states your personal preferences concerning your prescriptions. An example might be whether you want brand name drugs or generic drugs on your prescriptions.

It is also very helpful to become thoroughly familiar with your insurance benefits as they concern your prescriptions. For example, some prescription benefits plans will only pay for the dispensing of a certain days supply of your medication. If your physician issues a prescription for a larger supply of medication, the pharmacy will have to decrease your quantity dispensed or your insurance company will not pay for the medication.

Obviously, since your physician is issuing the prescriptions, it is important to advise your physician concerning any prescription restrictions under your prescription benefits plan.

Will every pharmacy accept my prescription drug card?

No. A pharmacy must sign a contract to provide services for each prescription benefit plan. The owner of the pharmacy must review each contract and decide which insurance plans the pharmacy will accept. If the pharmacy does not accept your prescription card, the pharmacy probably does not have a signed contract with your health insurance provider. In some cases, pharmacy owners may take steps to add your prescription benefit plan if asked to do so.

Is a list of pharmacies located on the Internet?

Yes, the Texas State Board of Pharmacy has an interactive listing of all pharmacies and pharmacists on its website.