At least that's what one medical assistant wanted us to do today.
Two weeks ago, the office called in a prescription for the wrong dose of Metoprolol. The patient was supposed to get 50 mg, but the office called in 100 mg. By the time the patient realized the mistake, he had already picked up the medication and started taking it.
Today a medical assistant called up and informed us of the mix up. She told us that it was supposed to be for 50 mg. Then she stated that the patient will be returning the 100 mg tablets and exchanging them for the correct ones.
I quickly corrected her by saying, "we won't be exchanging the prescription. It's against federal law to take back medication once it has left the pharmacy. It's been 2 weeks. The patient will have to pay another copay."
"You won't take it back?" she exasperatedly asked. "Other pharmacies have taken medication back before. You're going to force her to pay another copy?"
Now, I was a little pissed off. "Is that how it works?" I said. "You guys make the mistake, and we end up footing the bill for it? YOUR error prevents US from getting paid? Does that make sense?"
She paused for a couple seconds before saying, "well, I'm not going to argue with you." Then she hung up.
If this was an isolated incident, it would be one thing. However, it's something that happens quite often. The people working in doctors' offices seem to forget that we actually have to buy the drugs before we can sell them to people. Therefore, when they tell the patient that the pharmacy will simply do an exchange to make up for their mistake, they forget that the pharmacy ends up being the loser.
The only time I pull this exchange bullshit is if the error is clearly ours. If we make the mistake, well, that's our fault, and we'll do what we have to in order to correct it. If the doctor's office makes the mistake, and the patient ends up having to pay a second copay because of it, I'll often tell the patient to go ask the office for a refund of their wasted money. The pharmacy already gives away so much. There's no way I'm wasting more money when we had nothing to do with the error.