Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dear Santa: Please Bring Enbrel

It's been a while since we've had a pharmacy fail adventure around here! But we had another - just in time for Christmas!

My insurance requires me to order my Enbrel from a specialty pharmacy. This means that once a month I get on the phone with the pharmacy, answer two dozen questions (I have no idea why they ask me every single month instead of, you know, keeping it in a file or something), and arrange for an overnight shipment of Enbrel. I get four pens at a time.

Last Monday, I took my last dose of Enbrel and immediately called the pharmacy for a refill. They said I had no more refills and that they would need to get authorization from my doctor and call me back. Now, here's the part that is my mistake - I should have called to nag them the very next day, but with all the holiday preparations it totally slipped my mind. They didn't call back until Thursday. Still, they assured me my Enbrel would arrive on Friday.

It didn't arrive. Obviously. 

I was quite worried. I really didn't want to miss a dose and feel crummy (i.e. crummier) on Christmas. So I called the pharmacy. They were closed for the weekend. Finally I found a customer service number that was open and called them. They said the package would arrive on Monday. That worried me too, because at that point the Enbrel would have been out of the fridge for five days. Would the Enbrel be ok? They didn't know. They gave me a UPS tracking number and told me to call the pharmacy on Monday.

I entered the tracking number on the UPS website. "Your package is on its way." Not very specific. I called UPS. "Due to the high number of calls we are currently receiving, we cannot take your call right now." They hung up. I understand that UPS was very busy with holiday packages - but this is my medicine! It's very important! Do you really mean I can't talk to a human about it?!? 

In the end, was completely unable to get any useful information from anyone. I had to settle for crossing my fingers that the Enbrel would (1) actually arrive on Monday and (2) still be safe to take so I wouldn't miss a dose. And, like a small Christmas miracle, it actually did arrive - ice packs still frozen. I finally spoke to the pharmacy and they assured me that UPS kept the package in a refrigerator over the weekend. 

So I was able to take my dose of Enbrel and have a very lovely first Christmas with OZL!! A happy ending!! I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas too!!


Stephanie Kay said...

I despise specialty pharmacies. I've had this happen to me on more than one occasion. Which is why I call when I've used syringe #3 and still have one in the box. I also lie and tell them I just used my last one so that I always have 1 on hand because I don't trust them and FedEX.

Melissa said...

So glad that you got your Enbrel in time!

I'm lucky that I can get my Humira from any pharmacy that I want to.

Anonymous said...

Like you, my Humira comes by UPS through a speciality pharmacy. UPS has always been good about making sure it was stored if they had a delivery delay. Glad to hear you finally received your medication. I have also been late with a dose so it is not that big of a deal. I hope your symptoms are minimal these days and I hope that your Christmas was great. -Lana

russells said...

GEE, just got a letter from my insurance company about having to now use a SPeciality Pharmacy for Enbrel! You just scared the crap out of me. I would like any suggestions as to make this any easier, right now I have 4 injections so I am good for a month. I see my rheumy on Jan 2nd. It was transferred to CVS speciality pharmacy any experience with them?

~Mariah~ said...

RUSSELLS: Sadly this bad experience I just had WAS with CVS Specialty Pharmacy. My insurance has been making me use them and I really don't like them. Do you have to use CVS? Because I used to be able to use Wallgreens and they were much better - those shipments came automatically on the same day every month, I didn't even have to call and never had a problem. So if you can switch to Wallgreens that might be an improvement.

If you're stuck with CVS then I think STEPHANIE had a good point - probably best to call for the refill after you take injection #3 so you have like 2 weeks to get the next package instead of 1. GOOD LUCK!!