Monday, November 22, 2010

An open letter to CVS Caremark RE: Forced Mail Order Prescriptions

To: CVS Caremark

To Whom it may concern:

Your's is the most ridiculous drug plan I have ever heard of.  It is inconvenient, selfish, greedy, and dangerous to your subscriber's health.

First the back story.  I was diagnosed with Thyroiditis over 10 years ago.  Since that time I have been on daily thyroid replacement hormone both generic and under the brand name Synthroid. Over the past 10 years I have had numerous insurance companies and prescription drug plans - 4 in the past year and a half alone. CVS Caremark is, hands down, the worst.

7 days ago I called in a refill to Walgreens like I do every month. A few hours later I received a call saying something was wrong and they were working with the insurance company to resolve the issue. They stated they would call when the issue had been resolved. (Please note Walgreens: A follow up call saying I needed to step in would have been appreciated.)  Seven days already with no thyroid medication is enough for the thyroid levels to start dropping and to feel the symptoms.  So I drove to the pharmacy and the pharmacist called your company and learned there was no "override".  So I called.

I spoke with a nice lady named Vicki who, you'll be happy to learn, kindly defended your ridiculous policies and tried to be sympathetic to my situation. However, all the nice manners in the world cannot change the fact that your selfish and greedy policies have put my health in danger. Through Vicki I learned that since my drug is for a chronic condition I MUST either use a CVS pharmacy OR get my drugs mail ordered from the CVS mail order program. There is no CVS pharmacy within 50 miles or more. There is no prevision or exception made for this. I am simply forced to use mail order.

To set up a mail order prescription it takes approximately 10 days to receive your drugs. But they use the US Postal service, which doesn't run on holidays and Thanksgiving is next week so we're looking at closer to 12 days. Add the 7 days I've already waited. That would put me 19 Days without my medication. 19 DAYS!!

Vicki was very sympathetic. She offered me a One time override. That means that ONE TIME in MY LIFETIME  I am able to go to my local pharmacy and pick up my drugs at my usual copay. ONCE IN MY LIFE.  It's my one get out of jail free card, as it were.  The other options were to pay for my drugs out of pocket, which I'm sure is what CVS Caremark is hoping I would do, that way they get my premium AND get out of paying for the drugs. Meanwhile, I pay twice for the same medication. GREEDY.

I'm sure that CVS Caremark will say, "But Mrs. Gillespie, we sent you a letter." Yes. They did. They sent ONE letter cleverly disguised as an EOB in the mail. Not high on my priority list with the stack of other mail and bills coming in. I sat it aside to think about later unopened. Was there a phone call? No. A Text? Nope. An e-mail? Nada. Not one offer to help me set up a mail order plan before it was too late. Gee. Thanks for the note.

Additionally, Vicki told me that my one time override was for an entire family of drugs. Meaning that even though this prescription was for synthroid and next time my doctor might prescribe Levithroid I've already used my pass for that type of drug. Are all antibiotics the same family of drugs? How about Cancer drugs? Are they all the same too?

Vicki also told me that my doctor would have to write me 90 day scripts to be refilled monthly (by CVS mail order of course). When I explained that my doctor would not likely write for 90 days, especially not this month when I have an appointment with a specialist NEXT month, she said that I could just pay full price out of pocket for my drugs at my local pharmacy until I got my new dosage. She acted like this was no big deal.

To wrap this up,  Economic times are tough. I am fortunate enough to receive insurance through my husband's employer.  Insurance we pay for out of his pay check.  We are NOT getting what we pay for. Your company's policies are Selfish, Greedy and put their customers health at risk. The idea that I can't get medication in my hometown because YOU have elected not to open a store here is ABSURD.   I am an extremely dissatisfied customer and would urge anyone considering CVS Caremark as an prescription drug plan to look elsewhere for someone who actually cares about their customers.  What irony that "Care" is in your name. Obviously, you do not care about your customers' health.

Amy Gillespie

1 comment:

  1. They shouldn't have allowed a "drug insurance" company and a drugstore chain to merge. This creates an obvious conflict of interest and potential monopoly. This is from an article earlier this year when CVS Caremark and Walgreens had a dispute: "Ever since CVS Caremark was created through a $27 billion merger in 2007, rival pharmacies had worried the company would steer business to its own drugstores and mail-order prescription business." Apparently in Florida, state employees are being forced by CVS to use mail order. A quick google shows lots of complaints. Nevertheless, many of us have no choice about using this company. It's the company for all KS state employees.


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