Sunday, July 20, 2008

Critical Mistake

While I was in Texas, for the first time in years I came down with a bad summer cold the second day I arrived in Texas. The last thing I needed was to be sick when my husband needed me during the sad event as to why we were in Texas.

By my fourth day in Texas, the cold was flaring my MS, but I came prepared in case my MS flared. My neurologist prescribed me a Medrol -Dospak if I start to experience an exacerbation. The steroids kept my exacerbation symptoms in check, but the summer cold was getting worse. So, I called my primary care doctor and explained my symptoms. She prescribed an antibiotic and Bidex for my cough and congestion. I gave the number to the closest pharmacy, which was CVS Pharmacy.

When my husband and I arrived to the pharmacy, the pharmacist tech with a strange look on her face told me, “we had your antibiotic, but we only had one-day supply of your other prescription. To get you started we have given you the one day supply and will have the rest tomorrow.” My reply was, “Okay” because I did not see a problem with that and the way I was feeling I wanted to get started on taking something so, I could feel better.

As my husband and I drove off, he suggests I get started on my medication. Before I take anything I look at what I have, when I open the bottle for Bidex, I was in for a shock. I immediately knew it was not Bidex because Bidex is a white tablet and what I had were capsules. I read the bottle and the bottle said Videx, I thought to myself maybe Bidex comes in a capsule also because the spelling was off by one letter. As I read the medication pamphlet, I was flabbergasted the pharmacy had given me THE WRONG MEDICATION.

We immediately turned the car around and went back to CVS, as we were driving back, I was on the phone to my primary care doctor. She was pissed when I told her what they had given me. Once I made it back into the pharmacy to address their ERROR my doctor had already called them back. I know mistakes can happen, to NOT acknowledge your mistake as your fault is UNACCEPTABLE.

That is exactly what the employees in the pharmacy department at CVS did. First, the pharmacist did not come and talk to me about HIS error because no matter what happens in a pharmacy department the blame falls on the pharmacist. The pharmacist tech that checked me out tried to blame my doctor for their error, she said, “If your doctor’s office had spelled it out this would not have happened”. I looked at her as if she had lost her freaking mind and before I knew it, I went off. I said, “You have some freaking nerves to blame my doctor’s office for your mistake. By me not being a regular customer and the prescription was coming from a doctor in another state. It WAS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to verify if they said Bidex or Videx, especially since the TWO DRUGS HAVE EXTREME DIFFERENT MEDICAL PURPOSES. Had I taken the capsule you given me the circumstances would be DIFFERENT! Hell, now I understand the crazy ass look you gave me when you told me you had only one-day supply, you thought I had HIV!”

I called CVS headquarters the next day to file an official complaint and my doctor did not prescribe me anything after that grave error, she instructed me to take Mucinex and Delsym since I also had some antibiotics. My cold is gone and my cough is getting better now that I have some Tussionex, which is the only thing that rid me of a bad cough.

I personally will NEVER use a CVS Pharmacy agian. If they could be that careless with a prescription called into their store for a first time customer from a different state. I hate to think how careless they are with their regular customers.

ALWAYS check your meds carefully before consuming.


Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with a CVS in Florida. They gave me the wrong prescription and if I had not known what the pill "looked" like, I would have gotten very sick if I had taken it.

I'm glad you gave them a piece of your mind and that you reported it to headquarters. I hope you get a response to your complaint.

Good work!


Diane J Standiford said...

ALWAYS CHECK MEDICINES. A pharmacy we had gone to for YEARS gave my partner a 4x doseage Ml-L, confusing to us, so I insisted she call her Dr. before taking(and I consider myself fairly well in math) HAD she taken just ONE dose--it would have KILLED her! Do you think the pharmacy so much as apologized? NO!! I was raging furious and ready to sue, but my partner's call and our personalities are polar opposites, she still gets her meds there (I DO NOT) but we triple check EVERY drug. Thank goodness you caught your pharmacy's error. GRRRR

~ Charlene S Noto said...

Yep, same thing here. Pharmacy actually gave me someone else's medications. I didn't look at it and took one of the pills. Fortunately, it was not a dangerous med for me...however, the other person who got mine would have been taking an anti-depressant which could have been very dangerous. Wasn't a CVS but a Safeway pharmacy. Now, I look. Kudos on your contacting CVS headquarters!

Blinders Off said...


I did get a call back from CVS in reference to my complaint. They agreed that the employees handled the situation WRONG and they will address it with them to keep this type of mistake from happening again.

IMO, the pharmacist at that store should be removed because of his lackadaisical attitude when the mistake was brought to his attention.

Blinders Off said...


With all the meds, I have taken over the years, med I take now, and having a low tolerance to meds, I make it a point to check my meds.

It is also good to read the reactions you can have from meds. Severe side effects can develop after being on the meds for a while without incident. Severe side effects do not happen right away with me they usually happen weeks or months later. I have been fortunate so far when I had a severe reaction to meds.

Blinders Off said...


I am sure after an incident like that you check your meds carefully. We will never know if the other person had taken one of your pills. Can you imagine how often giving someone the wrong medication happens?

mdmhvonpa said...

Don't blame the entire CVS chain ... but then again, we use wallgreens. People wonder why I don't like to take much in the line of drugs; it takes just one story like this to bring them up to speed.

Lazy Julie said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you and I think it's great that you stood up to the pharmacy and are spreading the word.
Lazy Julie