Shoppers Drug Mart — pharmacy carelessness regarding prescription refills, wrong client medical information released
On Thursday August 8 I called shoppers drug mart (Cedarcroft location) to request a refill for my prescriptions which was urgent because I was going out of town that weekend and didn't have enough medication to last me until I got back. I called them exactly at 9am when they opened and gave them the new fax number for my doctor and confirmed that they would send the request immediately. I had informed my doctor of this urgent request. I went to work and called the pharmacy back on my lunch break. They told me they had sent out the fax request but the doctor hadn't signed off on it yet. I called my doctors office and they told me he was busy but he would get to it soon (before the end of the day 5pm). I called the pharmacy back at 5pm when I was leaving the office to confirm my medication was ready because I needed to get it on my way home. The woman I spoke to on the phone was a different person than the one I spoke to in the morning and at lunch. She told me she only saw that a request had been sent out but that nothing was signed off by my doctor so she could not dispense my medication. I was extremely frustrated at this point because I had made it extremely clear that it was necessary for me to get my medications that evening. My doctor is very reliable and I did not doubt that he had signed off on the request. I had also received email confirmation from his office that they had sent the fax back to the pharmacy so it should have been processed. The pharmacist did not do anything extra to look into the file or the request and she did not consult her colleagues who may have had more information on the issue at that time. I was extremely upset worried that I would not have my medication on time (I cannot stop this medication without proper supervision) and i had work the next day and would not get another opportunity to get my medication before i left town. Fuming, i got on the subway and went home, emailed my doctor once again to ask what happened on the way. He emailed me back saying when they had sent the fax back, he didn't know what the issue was. About 3 or 4 hours later I got another email from my doctor saying he had called the pharmacy himself to ask what happened and he notified me that the pharmacy had been trying to reach me. This was strange because I had my phone on me all evening and I had not received any calls from the pharmacy (every other call I had ever made to the pharmacy had been made using my cellphone). When I did call the pharmacy back, the same woman I had spoken to around 5pm answered. She was very flustered and spoke very nervously and quickly, she apologized for the issue and said that she had read the screen wrong and the script had been filled and was ready for me. She kept repeating the same story over and over without letting me get a word in at all. She said she looked at my file on the screen and only looked at the last "action" on it which was a request sent out from the pharmacy to my doctor for a *second* refill, not the most important one which was the first refill (for me to get more meds because I was out) and that the doctor had signed off on it way before 5pm and it had been sitting there waiting for me. At this point it was about 10pm and it was too late for me to go back out. I was extremely frustrated and angry, asked her how this oversight could have happened and how dangerous it was that these mistakes happened because someone in a more dire situation than I could have had serious problems if they didn't get their medication on time. I explained that it was absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable that the patient is expected to take care of all of these internal communications which Shoppers Drug Mart offers to do for the patient out of convenience, and then they are not capable of even accomplishing that properly. It caused a lot of anxiety for me which I did everything I could to avoid by already having done all that work to communicate and message between the pharmacy and my doctor so many times that day. After explaining my anger the pharmacist apologized many times and said I could get the medication any time. She also asked me for my updated contact information as apparently she had been calling my old home number and not my cellphone. This was extremely peculiar considering I have not lived at "home" (my parents house) in years and have almost exclusively only ever contacted them using my cellphone number for years which has not changed. I told her no, I was not going to give the rest of my information and it was too late and I would have to send someone else to get the medication for me the following day. I told them I would not be going back to SDM for my medication needs ever again. I confirmed what information or documentation the person picking up for me would need or be asked for, and hung up.
The following day when I received my medication from my boyfriend who had gone to get it for me, I opened the medication package to make sure it was the right thing because I was skeptical of more problems happening. When I opened the package the medication was correct but upon reading the paper with the medication explanations on it I did not recognize any of the information. The first thing I noticed was that it said the medication was a pain reliever. That seemed strange to me because i was not on pain medications, i was on antidepressants. I kept reading and did not recognize any of the other information such as needs for that medication or side effects. I read the top of the paper to clarify the name of the drug and it was definitely not my medication. The bottle was correct but the paper was not. I then realized the paper of the drug explanation was not for me, it did not even have my name on it. It had a different patient's name and medical information. At this point I was absolutely shocked and horrified because I realized someone else probably had my own information and that made me extremely upset and uncomfortable considering this is supposed to be private and confidential information and now I was to understand a complete stranger had my medical information and I had theirs.
This is absolutely beyond unacceptable and wrong. A pharmacy is an extremely important part of health care and confidentiality and assurance of proper information, coordination, and communication is essential and by this incident SDM had not only violated my trust and breached patient confidentiality protocols but also caused me immense anxiety and frustration over someone's carelessness and lack of attention to my file, something that was not even "hidden" or hard to find but they simply did not do their due diligence in looking at my information properly and immediately assumed that I had miscommunicated with my doctor or that my doctor had not signed off on the request.
The patient medical information form is NOT in relation to my file, my name is not even on that piece of documentation and the medication for which it explains is not any medication that I am currently or have ever taken. This is a huge and extremely serious violation of client confidentiality and security as now I am concerned that someone out there has my medical information which I never gave permission to be released obviously.
I am looking for a formal apology and recognition from the owner of this pharmacy, I would like to see proper documentation of what will be done to address this issue and some offer from Shoppers Drug Mart to console me for my troubles and for the complete disregard for client and patient wellbeing. I will be removing myself from the shoppers drug mart pharmacy system and switching to a better and more reliable medical provider and I will be adamantly advising people to NOT go to shoppers drug mart or use their pharmacy because of this and many similar incidents in the past. I expect this issue to be addressed in a timely manner and to receive some monetary, credit, or alternative compensation for this immense violation of trust and confidentiality that could have very easily put me at risk of worsening my medical condition.
Shoppers drug mart and the owner of this pharmacy should be ashamed of themselves and if I do not receive notice of acknowledgment or any response I will certainly be escalating my concerns and reaching out to the press to expose this issue to as great of an audience as possible, along with whatever legal repercussions I am able to pursue.
Updated by Nima9998, Aug 29, 2019
I HAVE NOTIFIED TECH SUPPORT OF THIS BOARD TO GET THIS POST IMMEDIATELY REMOVED. I did not realize this was an immediately public board I deeply deeply apologize I have been trying to remove the data and post all night and have been trying desperately to remove this immediately. Please I beg of you to not promote this post further. I am doing everything I can to get this immediately removed I am so embarrassed and deeply ashamed I severely misunderstood that this was an internal review board. I am doing everything I can to get this deleted immediately. Please do not further promote or share this post.
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