Have you ever witnessed this situation?

  1. 3
    I went to the pharmacy to pick up a new prescription. When my name was called the pharmacist came out, opened the medication package, announced what it was for, held it up in front of everyone, and proceeded to give me detailed instructions on how to take it. I was so shocked, I couldn't say anything. I just stood there nodding. The pharmacist was still talking, everyone was standing around looking and I finally said, "Thanks, but I can read the instructions." He said, "Okay, if you have any questions, give us a call." I grabbed my prescription and left. Now I am so mad that I didn't stand up to him and tell him that he can't do that. He did the same thing to the person before me but I was on the phone and not paying much attention but I was thinking that she probably had questions about the medication, but the pharmacy is a small community pharmacy and there is no private area for counseling and I could hear everything he was telling her. He did not announce what kind of med it was but I could practically figure it out.

    I believe that this all happened because I went to a free clinic for my annual exam because I am currently uninsured. The pharmacy is next to the free clinic and they told me they could call the script in there and I could just go next door to get it, so I agreed. I think that this pharmacist assumes that he is dealing with a certain kind of customer because most of his business is sent from the free clinic. I feel like his intentions were good for trying to educate people on their medications but he should first ask them if they have any questions regarding the prescription (not just whip the med out and start rambling about how to take it) and he should find a private area to counsel people on their meds. You can not do that in front of people.

    A few months ago I was watching that show on ABC, What Would You Do? hosted by John Quinones. They did this same exact scenario. I remember thinking, what professional would ever do such a thing? Now I see.

    Has anyone ever witnessed anything like this? What would you have done? I'm feeling like a wimp because I did nothing.
    sharpeimom, lindarn, and Joe V like this.

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  2. 64 Comments...

  3. 4
    Not so bad...huh? What about the psychiatrist...yes this cretin passed med school....that I witnessed badgering the child of an agitated Huntington's patient for information about "what the heck is wrong with your mother and why is she shaking so much?" In front of the mother!!! Finally the idiot left and asked me where the cafeteria was on his way out as I was tending to the patient in the next bed...wow! Makes me wonder how certain people...your example included...get as far as they do. Are we really surrounded by that many idiots?!
    Faeriewand, sharpeimom, lindarn, and 1 other like this.
  4. 11
    I'm not getting what the big deal is. Does he really have time to take you to a private room to discuss your meds? Couldn't you have interrupted him if it bothered you that much?

    Also, if I'm giving a resident a new med, I might tell them what it is and what it's for out in front of everybody. I don't have time to wheel them to their room or something. Yes, that would be "best" practice but I have many many other pts to pass meds to. In the real world there just isn't time.

    Now, if I were giving someone some Viagra or ciallis, I might not broadcast it for all to hear. But what exactly are you worried about if the lady behind you in line knows you're taking metformin or an ABX or something? If you're privacy is that important, maybe you shouldn't buy your meds in a public supermarket with a dozen people lined up right behind you.
    Last edit by BrandonLPN on Sep 12, '12
    zephyr9, nursenotamaid, pomegranate, and 8 others like this.
  5. 11
    I would be very upset. To me that seems like a violation of your personal health information/HIPAA. Usually when I go to the pharmacy, the pharmacist shows me the med without saying what it is, and asks if I want any counseling about it, if I say no, then that's the end of that. The one time I had a question, there was a separate window away from the main area so there was some privacy.

    It doesn't matter what the med is for. The pharmacist may not think it's a big deal that I'm taking whatever it is that I'm taking but that isn't his or her decision to make.

    I was in line at the pharmacy once, and the pharm tech came out and asked the young women he was helping if she was pregnant.

    She was standing with a young man who may or may not have been a boyfriend, and with whom she may or may not have wanted to share that information; and I'm sure she didn't want everyone in line at the pharmacy to hear about it either.

    I was stunned that he did that. And if it had been me I would like to think I would have complained but I think I would have been so mortified I would have just skulked away as fast as possible.

    I think you have every right to complain. I am angry on your behalf.
  6. 5
    Personally I wouldn't care if it were an antibiotic or something like that. I wouldn't want the whole world I know I was picking up diflucan though. I can see why you'd be upset, but I'm thinking the pharmacist isn't even aware he's making people uncomfortable. Could be he's just become desensitized to it. If you go back there I'd just say something like " I know you probably mean no harm but I'd prefer the patrons behind me not know what medications I'm taking".

    "No day but today"
    itsmejuli, MelEpiRN, zephyr9, and 2 others like this.
  7. 10
    I think that is a pretty blatant violation of HIPAA. If doctor offices can't even keep a sign in sheet out where people check in, how can a pharmacist be excused from announcing medications in a public manner? Frankly it does not matter what the prescription is for. Health information is private by law. Period.
  8. 12
    Quote from BrandonLPN
    I'm not getting what the big deal is. Does he really have time to take you to a private room to discuss your meds? Couldn't you have interrupted him if it bothered you that much?
    What's wrong with it? It's a blatant HIPAA violation. And it's not up to the pharmacist to decide which drugs are to embarrassing for a full-room broadcast and which are not. What the pharmacist did is not OK even if you have one of the small number of "cool" diseases.

    Quote from YouwishiwasyourCNA
    but I'm thinking the pharmacist isn't even aware he's making people uncomfortable. Could be he's just become desensitized to it.
    He'd better become aware. He's violating federal law and risks large fines or worse.

    HIPAA Violations and Enforcement (AMA)
    Last edit by Wet Noodle on Sep 12, '12
    unicoRNurse, tewdles, timmedico, and 9 others like this.
  9. 9
    While we all agree that the pharmacy was out of order, the next step would seem to inform the pharm about the situation as described. Had I been OP, I would have made a calm phone call to the pharm after I got home. I'd express my concerns about expecting better privacy and that I would expect improved confidentiality for future transactions for all clients.

    Squeaky wheels...
    tewdles, zephyr9, Orange Tree, and 6 others like this.
  10. 11
    I have a benign but annoying issue for which I take medication. I also have some other issues that require daily medications. I did not choose this life, I'd much rather spend the money on books or music. When picking up the Rx for the benign issue, I made a comment about how annoying it was to need it. I was frustrated with the cost, and just making a comment. The pharmacist stated, loudly, in front of 4 other customers, "Well, you wouldn't have <benign but annoying issue> if you didn't take so many medications. THAT'S why it's happening, you are on too many medications!" I was appalled and embarrassed and furious and I wanted to cry. No, A$$h*!@, that is NOT why, benign-but-annoying-issue is familial, and my mother, who rarely even takes Tylenol, has it even worse than me. And I didn't sit down with a PDR and a dart to randomly pick drugs to be on because I needed some way to spend my money. Sometimes my life sucks because of my health, and having it minimized (you are causing your problems because you choose to take "too many" medications). I walked out as quickly as I could with tears in my eyes and without saying a word. And I have been absolutely furious with myself ever since. I should have filed a complaint. I should have cursed that little twit out in front of everyone, and then gotten a manager to witness while I did it all again. It was rude, presumptive, and WRONG.

    I didn't do many of the things I should have done, but I did transfer all my RX to another pharmacy later that week. I wish it hurt their bottom line (I spend thousands every year on meds), but it was a chain, so I doubt they noticed. I don't blame you for being angry. It doesn't matter if the prescription is for Vitamin D or Diflucan or an HIV cocktail, he had no business doing it, and you have every right to be angry.
  11. 5
    No worse then the "privacy" in an ER where you are explaining meds to a pt.
    Kidrn911, lindarn, sherdk, and 2 others like this.


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