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BC Prescription Held Hostage

September 15, 2010

Noting that it had been about a year (and that my BC prescription was running out) I called my doctor last month to schedule my yearly exam.  They didn’t have any availability for physicals until October, so I marked my calendar and went off on vacation for nearly  2 weeks..

This week I realized I needed a refill before my appointment, and since I’d been able to do this in the past, I assumed that it would be no problem.  I called the doctor’s office Monday morning, and they said to have the pharmacy call/fax.  I called the pharmacy, who later called me back to say they couldn’t refill it because “your doctor needs to see you.”

Frustrated, I called my doctors office, and spoke to a receptionist who decided to try to “squeeze me in” a little bit sooner.  But I need my prescription in two days!  I don’t really even have time to come in in the next day or two!  She searched the schedule for awhile and I interrupted.  “I’m planning on coming in for my annual physical.  I scheduled it weeks ago.  But is it possible to get a refill, even just for 2 months, so I can continue my prescription in the mean time?”  She finally was on the same page as me, and agreed to leave a note for the doctor.  I have to follow up today to make sure everything goes through.  I do NOT want to stop/start BC necessarily – the hormones drove me nuts the first time I switched!

I’m really irritated about this.  My yearly appointment really has nothing to do with checking how my BC is going – it’s just good practice to go in every year.  Yet I felt like they were holding my BC prescription hostage in order to ensure that I came in.  It annoys me even more since I was already PLANNING on coming in, they were the ones who had limited availability!

You can get the morning after pill over the counter without a prescription (or so I hear!), yet they make it so difficult for me to get 2 months of birth control which I’ve used for 2 years, without an appointment?  Ridiculous!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 7:16 am

    I don’t think they can do that. Maybe it’s just my place, but anytime there was a situation like that, they either gave me samples or called in what I asked for to the pharmacy. Hopefully there was just a miscommunication and it’s not their standard practice.

    • September 15, 2010 7:18 am

      I had done that before too with previous doctors. However, from what i could tell, it was definitely the standard practice. I called twice to make sure they were refilling it, and they only gave me 2 months more!

  2. Megan permalink
    September 15, 2010 7:25 am

    It is pretty common practice because a lot of women would just skip the annual and take the birth control and run. So doctors will hold the prescription hostage. While you may be responsible, and go in every year, lots of people don’t and the doctor can’t just prescribe medication without seeing you, it’s pretty irresponsible. I’ve had to do explain it the same way you did and they’ll renew it, but only for the limited time.

  3. September 15, 2010 7:25 am

    Been there! Anytime I have to do ANYTHING with the gyno and my BC prescription, I know it’s going to be hell.

    I had one gyno who would give me free sample packs or Ortho TriCyclen Lo, and when the office changed that policy, I wasn’t notified until it was the last minute. I had to scramble to get in to see the doc (They are ALWAYS backed up!) to get a prescription.

    Then I had the almost exact same experience as you last year when the office couldn’t get me in to see the doc before my prescription ran out. Lots of back and forth on the phone before that was solved.

    Isn’t it ridiculous anyway that they make you come in for a yearly exam just to get a year’s birth control prescription? I guess it isn’t over the counter because of different dosages and the at-risk groups that shouldn’t be using it (smokers and women over 35). Still. It sucks.

  4. September 15, 2010 7:30 am

    Now i’m panicking b/c I’m realizing that I’ll need a refill soon. I just switched Dr.’s and made an appointment but b/c I’m a new patient, they can’t see me until Oct 28!

    Kicking myself for overlooking that not so minor detail

  5. Bonnie permalink
    September 15, 2010 9:59 am

    SP, had the exact same thing happen last year and I will NOT be returning to that gyno. I understand why they might hold it hostate for new or at-risk patients, but I’d been going there for around 7 or 8 years and have NO problems or issues. Too many doctor fish in the sea, I say!

  6. September 15, 2010 10:07 am

    That would drive me crazzy!!

  7. September 15, 2010 11:25 am

    You don’t even need an annual exam. I was told by multiple doctors that standards were being relaxed, and every 2 years is accepted now. But anyway, it shouldn’t be a big deal for them to give you a month or 2 of prescription! How obnoxious. 😦

    • September 15, 2010 11:28 am

      And I meant that as in, they shouldn’t be trying to hold you hostage yearly, b/c an annual exam is not required – if it was pushing 2 years, I would get it. But once a year, there shouldn’t be ANY problem re: refilling your bc over the phone.

  8. September 15, 2010 1:58 pm

    I agree, that is super annoying. Every year my prescription runs out because there are only 4 weeks worth in each packet, and 12 packets in a prescription. 12 x 4 is 48 weeks, but most insurance companies will only cover your appointment once every 52 weeks, so EVERY year I have to call and ask for an emergency refill. Why can’t they just change the standard prescription to 13 or 14 packets worth?

  9. September 15, 2010 6:48 pm

    My doc holds all prescriptions hostage unless I make an appointment. I asked about it once and she said that they don’t get paid for calling in a refill, they only get paid if you come in for an appointment.
    It’s aggravating. . .

    • September 15, 2010 8:34 pm

      I know they don’t get paid for calling in my prescription, and I figured that is why they hold it hostage. But why SHOULD they get paid if all i really need is BC? The yearly exam should be a totally separate thing!

  10. September 15, 2010 7:16 pm

    The same thing happened to me. I went to a walk-in clinic to get my prescription because I still don’t have a family doctor (which is another annoying story all together). I didn’t want an exam and didn’t really need one according to their website – if you have two normal in a row you can go every other year. And suddenly the doctor was all “no it’s four normal ones in a row” and saying I needed an exam. Ugh. I finally convinced him I was good to go and to give the prescription. He made some comment about not waiting to the last minute last year and making sure I made an appointment for my exam with plenty of time – which bugged me because I went to the clinic way in advance this year! And then a week later I got a call to confirm an appointment for a pap that I hadn’t made. UGH. Get your cold metal duck lips away from me.

    There’s no connection in my mind between BC and my exam – you can give me a prescription for BC without the exam. It shouldn’t even be a prescription drug anymore. (Oddly enough there was an article about that in our local paper the same day! Lol.)

    • September 15, 2010 8:36 pm

      Agree! Especially with your last paragraph – the yearly (or however often!) exam should be my choice, as should be whether or not I want BC. They are not connected!

  11. September 15, 2010 7:20 pm

    I’ve had that happen! My doctors have ALWAYS given me an extra 1-2 months though, as long as I have made an appointment within that time frame. And they’re always super willing to dole out free samples as well. My doctor on the east coast would always call me up and tell me that she’d gotten in a bunch of samples in of my brand and that she was going to leave them at reception for me… without my even requesting them!

    However, before I got a doctor out here, and ran out of my prescription, I made the trek to planned parenthood. It cost me about 60 bucks, but I was in and out within a half hour with a 3 month prescription. Easy. Way too expensive to do very often, but it was really nice that the option existed.

    And I have my doctor write my prescription for 14 months instead of 12… just so I always have a little extra leeway if I can’t make an appointment in exactly a year. And she’s more than happy to do so.

  12. Sara permalink
    September 16, 2010 11:48 am

    What kills me about it is that yearly exams really are not necessary for people who have no history of abnormal test results, and are not sexually active with more than one person. I recently got off birth control and I’m totally skipping my yearly PAP because I’ve been with the same guy for 6 years, have NEVER had anything abnormal happen down there, and I really don’t feel like getting my vag prodded! lol. Now that I’m not on BC, they have nothing to hold over my head and I feel freeeeee! haha. But yea, your situation happened to me before also. I had to go in and basically demand some free samples because it was their own fault they couldn’t see me in time!

  13. Rosei permalink
    September 17, 2010 9:26 pm

    Oh My Gosh this is so something that drives me nuts! I think it is ridiculous for women to basically be required to get a full on pelvic exam EVERY freakin year you want to stay on brith control. I get before you go on and maybe every few years but every single year if you are perfectly healthy and all normal tests!!! WTF!! They intentionally make birth control difficult for women to get! I don’t know what or how this can be changed but it really is ridiculous. Men don’t get tested for STDs to buy condoms so why do I have to be assaulted just because I don’t want an unplanned pregancy! Sorry to rant but I SO understand your frustration!! Don’t get me started on how hard this is on people without insurance!

  14. Tdupont permalink
    February 22, 2012 4:49 pm

    It’s the law, anything over a year old cannot be “prescribed” without a Doctors visit/exam first.

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