As a pharmacy technician you will often need to help patients refill their medications. Quite often a patient will call in with the request or they will simply come to the pharmacy counter. If the patient presents with the medication container, which contains the Rx number, then this process is much easier because all of the prescription information has already been entered into the patient’s profile. It is your responsibility to verify that the patient does, indeed, have refills available and forward the request to the pharmacist for review and approval.
Here are a few situations to make note of:
- Early refills: Most pharmacies and insurance plans will allow the patient to refill up to a week prior to the next refill date. If the patient tries to refill too early, then it will be rejected by the insurance company. It’s important for you to understand this so that you can communicate to the patient why refills are not available.
- Controlled substances: Schedule II medications can never be refilled without a new prescription. One exception, however, is in an emergency situation when a pharmacist must make that determination. Prescriptions for schedule II medications must be filled within seven days of the date issued and must be handwritten or typed. They cannot be faxed or called in except under special circumstances. Schedule III-IV prescriptions are good for six months from the date issued and may have up to five refills within a six-month period.
- Non-controlled medications: These have no limitations on refills as long as the prescription has not expired (365 days old). However, the healthcare provider can choose to limit how many refills will be allowed before the patient needs to be seen again.
Understanding these rules and being able to access and read the patient profile will help you to serve the customers in a more timely, and hopefully more kind and considerate manner.