CVS Cashier Won't Sell Me Medicine For My Kid

Valerie got some free parenting advice from a CVS cashier. She says that when she took her 1-year-old daughter in to get some Benadryl to sooth her rash, the cashier refused to sell it to her because it says on the bottle that the product is for kids 4 and older. Valerie says she’d already gotten the approval from the pediatrician.

She writes:

I went to CVS to buy Benadryl my 1yr old was scratching her face, turning red, getting little bumps on her face and I picked up the children’s Benadryl and the cashier would not sell it to me and she saw how my baby face looked, she said do you see this under 4 do not take and refused to sell it to me even though her pediatrician said it was OK.

I had to drive 10 min to another CVS to get it and watch my daughter closely to make sure her throat did not swell but her lip became swollen on one side and one eye was a little swollen . I got the Benadryl at the other CVS no problem. The next day I called the CVS and spoke to the supervisor and she apologized and took my name and number and said she was going to talk to the manager over her about the cashier, here it is two weeks later no phone call.

I am so mad I wish I could sue them for her refusing to sell me medication for my child because of her own personal thoughts.That was a very serious situation. Did she really think I would just give my daughter medication without consulting her pedi? What should I do?

If I were Valerie I would have told the clerk that my daughter looked young for her age and thanked her for the compliment. What would you have said?

Comments

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  1. Straspey says:

    Hmmm…

    Could that possible be construed as giving medical advice without a license ?

    I betcha some lawyers might think so.

    • dbeahn says:

      Meh. If the cashier HAD sold it, and something bad happened to the kid as a result, this customer would now be demanding to know why it was sold when the box CLEARLY SAID “only for kids over 4″.

      “Did she really think I would just give my daughter medication without consulting her pedi?”

      Yeah, cause we don’t see stories about parents doing exactly that *every day*.

      As you noted, thankfully, there are always lawyers ready to sue no matter which way it goes.

      • BlkSwanPres says:

        What stories?

      • Straspey says:

        Actually, I live close to a CVS here in NY City and use their pharmacy to fill all my prescriptions.

        On more than one occasion, I have sought out the advice of the pharmacists concerning the proper usage, possible side effects and reactions to both my prescription meds, as well as some OTC item.

        The pharmacists are trained and certified – and can offer proper advice about which medications would work best for specific needs.

        IMHO, the CVS cashier should have told the OP to consult with the pharmacist and double check to see if perhaps there might be a children’s version of the medication in question.

        MY CVS is like two separate stores…

        Upstairs – The pharmacy with smart, attentive, professional and polite staff.

        Downstairs – Slow-moving cashiers who are not really all that invested in their work.

        And yes – I’m fully aware of the salary differential between a drug store clerk and a college-educated, licensed, certified and professionally-trained pharmacist.

        Still…

        • AlxFherMana says:

          The OP mentioned that it was indeed the children’s Benadryl she was trying to buy.

          • Straspey says:

            You’re absolutely right…I overlooked that important point.

            But now – doesn’t that make the story seem even a bit more bizarre ?

    • skylar.sutton says:

      Absolutely not. She didn’t make any claims indicating that this was medical advice.

      It’s people like you and the OP that have caused our court system to bottleneck.

      No store has an obligation to sell any consumer a product. Any store may turn away a sale for any reason (yes – i know there are a few U.S. Treasury Dept. rules about this… so it’s not “any” reason, but close enough).

      Would you throw a temper tantrum like this is Crazy Joe’s Mattress and Fishstick Emporium turned you away because they don’t sell to people in yellow hats? Nope.

      • Straspey says:

        Refusing to serve me because of my yellow hat might be absurd, annoying, or even insulting – but in the end that ultimately becomes a “no harm, no foul” situation because nobody’s health, safety or well-being is being potentially placed in jeopardy.

        I’m not in favor of lawsuits and I was really being more sarcastic about that point.

        However, while I might not throw a tantrum at Crazy Joe’s – I would be more than likely to question the cashier’s competence to decide which medication is safe for my child – *especially* after having received advice from my pediatrician.

      • Pelonis says:

        No it’s people like you who deny people medication despite having doctors orders who are in the wrong.

        You and people like you create the bottleneck, not someone following doctors orders.

        God, your reply just pushed my buttons. Geeze, comparing a yellow hat to needed medication?

      • Gulliver says:

        Lets take your argument point by point

        1.”No store has an obligation to sell any consumer a product. Any store may turn away a sale for any reason” Ok try not selling to blacks, hispanics, women jews, catholics. As a PUBLIC store you do not have the right to discriminate.
        2. “It’s people like you and the OP that have caused our court system to bottleneck.” Actually, the courts are backed up because a pharmacist believes they have the RIGHT to tell this woman what is best for her daughter. She came in with a legal prescription. Measure it and sell it. THAT is the pharmacists job. When the pharmacist has MD after their name, they can prescribe medicine, until then, you are just a drug seller.
        3.” She didn’t make any claims indicating that this was medical advice.”. Here is what the article said, “cashier refused to sell it to her because it says on the bottle that the product is for kids 4 and older.” So she is making a MEDICAL decision based on printing on a bottle versus the person who actually SAW the child.

        Finally, based on your stupidity, a pharmacist or any employee (this was a cashier by the way) could refuse to sell condoms (catholics), alcohol (muslims and baptists), or any medication (christian scientists).
        If you can not handle those rules, then you need to get out of the profession.

        • Phexerian says:

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          • dantsea says:

            “A pharmacist has the right by law in just about any state to refuse to fill/sell any prescription for any reason they see fit.”

            Not for much longer, and you can directly thank me and the efforts of my colleagues for making sure of that. We’re going to strip that “right” away from you and make it very expensive and inconvenient to do anything more than comply or retire. As for the rest of your tirade, that noise you hear is the sound of every MD in the world laughing their ass off.

            • Vivienne says:

              Thank you dantsea! I don’t know who you or your colleagues are, but I am sick of pharmacists – who might know a little something about mixing chemicals together, but who are not qualified to diagnose or treat any illness – thinking that they are qualified medical professionals, able from the other side of the counter, to countermand a physicians order.

              Sure, a person with a Pharm.D is a “doctor” the same way Stephen Hawking is a doctor – but that does NOT make that person a physician… Which is why they should NOT be allowed to refuse to dispense a medication to anyone with an order from a real physician.

              • athensguy says:

                Your pharmacist likely knows far more about the drugs you are taking than your GP, who is only prescribing that particular drug because the pretty young drug rep told him it was the best thing ever.

                Honestly, you have no idea what you are talking about, and you just need to move along to your homeopathist and stay there.

              • Phexerian says:

                We are qualified to point out basic problems which can be solved with over the counter medications. But we do not diagnose to the level an MD or NP does, at least not in this country. In some countries pharmacists can dispense and diagnose some disease states like high cholesterol.

                Yes we are qualified medical professionals. The PharmD on the end of my name, the 8 years of schooling in an intense environment, and PCAT it takes to even get accepted, the average higher than med school GPA it takes to get in, beating out 10 other people for a spot, putting your body through 4 years of stress, and then graduating and taking two different licensing exams makes it so. If you don’t want to believe that, fine. Just don’t come bitching when some moron MD resident writes a script for lisinopril for your pregnant wife.

                No a PharmD is not a doctor in the same respect as a PhD. PhD’s are not professional doctorates. PharmDs are. We have the knowledge base and skills to refuse to fill unsafe prescriptions. FIlling those prescriptions is on OUR license, not your MDs. We do not work for the physicians. Your logic as to why we should not be allowed to refuse scripts is ridiculous and inaccurate.

                Once again, when your MD writes for something that is dangerous to you and you take away the right of your pharmacist to counsel you or refuse the script, don’t come whining or sueing. Remember that you thought you were more of a health care professional than the pharmacist.

                • pdj79 says:

                  Not to derail your tirade because it is quite fascinating….but what the hell does this have to do with the post? This wasn’t a PharmD pharmacist denying someone’s prescription for Adderall to treat boredom….this was a cashier refusing to sell Benadryl. This has absolutely nothing to do with a pharmacists’ rights to refuse filling a prescription. This is a minimum wage-earning drone passing off their personal beliefs as a way to deny the sale of something the doctor (who isn’t getting any kick backs from the McNeil corporation for suggesting this OTC treatment) stated would be just fine. While I appreciate the cashier being cautious regarding the dosage of a medicine that is not meant for a child that young….had this been me, and had I received the go ahead from my pediatrician to administer said OTC drug to my child only to be barred from purchasing the medicine at CVS by some overbearing, self-righteous cashier……I would have went across the street to Walgreens because, in Indiana at least, if there’s a CVS, there’s a Walgreens across the street.

                  Oh, and the cashier would have been in tears as I walked out as well because that’s the type of dad I am when you threaten my child’s health.

            • Phexerian says:

              You are going to have a hard time taking that right away which has been set in place in law in most states. Every pharmacy organization and board of pharmacy is going to fight it. However, since I haven’t heard of anyone trying to do anything of what you are talking about, I’m just going to assume you are blowing smoke out of your ass.

        • jessjj347 says:

          Actually pharmacists typically have more knowledge about medications than an MD. I would hold his/her opinion pretty highly and equally to the pediatrician’s.

        • Selunesmom says:

          Technically, the only thing cashiers are prohibited from selling are alcohol to clearly intoxicated/high individuals and alcohol/tobacco to those underage. At least, in my store. The former is a liability issue ( some one could sue store / cashier for providing them with the means of ) and the latter is a criminal issue.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Great. Sue her for all those damages.

  2. StuffThingsObjects says:

    I would have said “POW!” and punched the punk in the face.

    • Trick says:

      Sure you would have, internet touch guy.

    • evnmorlo says:

      You should really say “POW” a few seconds afterward since your fist moves way faster than the speed of sound.

    • outis says:

      I dunno. If you actually said ‘POW!’ I might have to allow it.
      Probably a good thing I’m not a cop.
      Y’know, unless you only made him strip and bruised him “a bit.”

    • keith4298 says:

      I would have just opened the package, given my kid a dose and asked if they wanted money or not?

      • hattrick says:

        That is a very good solution.

      • Not Given says:

        exactly what I was thinking

      • ryder28910 says:

        No you wouldn’t have. I’d laugh pretty hard as you get carted off in cuffs, though.

        • AnthonyC says:

          How often do you see people open a candy bar or 20 oz soda in the checkout line, then have the cashier scan the wrapper or bottle? Not every day, certainly, but it isn’t exactly rare. If the cashier *had* called the cops over something like that, I doubt there would have been cuffs involved. Imagine the call: “Yeah, so, this woman is trying to pay for OTC medication her daughter needs that her doctor recommended, but I don’t want to sell it to her. It was an emergency, so the mom opened it anyway, and now I won’t accept payment, so could you come arrest her for shoplifting? No, she’s still inside the store. No, I don’t have any medical credentials. No, there is no law restricting the sale of this medication.”

    • Erik Hughes says:

      Right in the kisser?

    • ChoralScholar says:

      “I’ve always wanted to uppercut a punk-ass”

      – Dane Cook

  3. MDSasquatch says:

    I think if I was worried about my kid’s throat swelling shut, I would be heading to the ER, not CVS

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Yeah, if it was that sudden and that severe it sounds like an allergic reaction – sure that is what Benadryl is for… but.

      • Link_Shinigami says:

        She called her pedi, her pedi said what to do, guess what, she sought medical attention and was most likely given explicit instructions for how to handle it if the medication didn’t work.

        Read the article and realize a pediatrician probably knows best considering the specialized in early childhood care. ER’s are jammed up to high hell. Guess what, she’d of went there, sat for 5 hours and got told the same thing.

        • ShruggingGalt says:

          Funny thing is, it’s that the American Academy of Pediatricians that wants to prohibit the sale the meds like that for parents to use on their kids.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      You really like to set fire to your bank account, don’t you? If her throat hasn’t closed up and the pediatrician suggest Benadryl then Benadryl is the right course of action.

      When I was a child Benadryl was prescription only. My pediatrician wrote a prescription to all his patients to keep it as a just in case drug.

      My child’s pediatrician isn’t that on board with all the new labeling requirements and we have a dosage chart for medications that goes well below the ages on bottles (where it says see pediatrician).

      Granted Benadryl was changed recently, It used to have dosage information down to 2, and then they changed the guidelines. I think they said something about it not being proven effective. Could have fooled me.

      • remf3 says:

        The change didn’t have to do so much with effectiveness as it was to overdosing by parents. For all of those medications for children under 4, the dosing for the under 4 set is something to the extant of Xmg/kg split over 24 hours. If I recall correctly, Benadryl is something like 2.5mg/kg for the WHOLE 24 hours, you split the doses up for every 6 hours. These instructions would probably lead to more confusion (esp in the US where metric is verbotten) and the standard “one teaspoon every 6 hours” was causing overdose in lighter weight toddlers. Hence the “see your pediatrician” CYA stuff.

        • FredKlein says:

          Or, you know, they could just say “no more than 1/2 teaspoon every 6 hours”, and voila! no more overdoses.

          • Caldonia says:

            The problem with “teaspoons” is that people go to the silverware drawer and get a teaspoon, fill it what looks like maybe halfway, and give that to their kid. I don’t like living in a society where people are that stupid, but we all do, and information is withheld because of it.

        • Firethorn says:

          Like ‘X teaspoons per Y pounds every six hours’ is all that more complicated than mg per kg? Heck, it should be easier, seeing as how milligrams is a unit of weight, not volume.

          US Kitchens normally have teaspoons down to the 1/8th tsp, which would be ~.75 ml, going by the conversions.

    • jm_mom24 says:

      The pediatrician told me to go buy her some benadryl as long as her throat didnt look like it was swelling and thats what they give kids in the ER anyway!

  4. LuckyLady says:

    That’s when you ask to see the cashier’s license to practice medicine. What a maroon. I hope the OP follows this up again. This is a dangerous practice.

    • Bohemian says:

      I get all my medical advice from CVS cashiers!

    • Michaela says:

      It isn’t like the woman ran into the store with written permission from the doctor though. If so, such a notice was never mentioned in this article. Instead the story probably went something like this:

      Mother: Oh my, oh my! I need some meds for my baby!

      Cashier: Um…given that Benadryl is used to make meth, and thus I have to hear your reason for wanting it, I have unfortunately heard that you wish to do something dangerous that could kill your baby. So no, ma’am, I will not give you meds.

      Mother: How dare you! The doctor says it is cool!

      Cashier: I need a note.

      Mother: I don’t have a note. I called the doctor and he/she thought this would work, and would thus save me a trip to his/her office.

      Cashier: Sorry. No note, no meds.

      Mother: You are stupid! You are stupid! And don’t forget, you are stupid!

      NEXT STORE

      Cashier: Hi! How can I help you!

      Mother: Hi! I need some Benadryl.

      Cashier: Why?

      Mother: I have a sick kid (no age disclosed).

      Cashier: Here.

      Mother: Thanks.

      P.S.: Don’t be a moron! Maroon is a color!

  5. Emerald4me says:

    Next time lie. “This is for my 10 year old at home.” Those azzholes don’t need to know who is taking the medicine. You cleared this with the doctor already.

    • Maous says:

      And the baby with a rash and slowly swelling face would not seems suspicious at all.

      • craptastico says:

        suspicious? she’s not being interrogated, she’s buying benadryl. it was absurd for the cashier to even question who the medicine’s for

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      I used to work retail, and I REALLY don’t understand

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Oy.

      I used to work retail, and I REALLY don’t understand where all these employees who care are coming from. They’re not good at caring, but wow, they care. About the dumbest things in the world.

    • jessjj347 says:

      That’s what I was wondering about…I assume there must have been some sort of conversation between the OP and cashier before the refusal of sale. Perhaps it started off well and then escalated quickly..

  6. humphrmi says:

    I once encountered a pharmacist (not CVS) who didn’t want to fill a doctor’s prescription for my child because, she said, the medication was too strong for children. She finally called our kids pediatrician, argued with him on the phone for about 10 minutes, and then finally filled it.

    I’m all for several levels checking to make sure that a bad reaction or overdose doesn’t happen, but the pharmacist arguing with the doctor was a bit much. Oh and of course all the bad side affects that the pharmacist warned us would happen to my son didn’t – because, of course, she knew nothing about him and the doctor knew everything in his health history from the day he was born.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i’m just amazed your pharmacist managed to get the doctor on the phone.

      • Rachacha says:

        Some Drs are actually really good and really care about their patients. Our pediatrician has been wonderful. When both of our kids were first born, they were Jaundiced. Every day for the first few days after the kids were born, he would call us at home and ask how the kids were, and if he sensed a change, would call and arrange to have blood tests lined up. He somehow managed to convince the nurses at the hospital to take us in as soon as we arrived and get us back out ti minimize our wait and minimize our time in the hospital with a newborn. One day, he wanted a test done, but he could not get us in at the hospital, so he was going to go into the office on a sunday with one of his staff just to do the test that he wanted to do. He always returns our phone calls if we have a question, and takes the time necessary to answer any questions that we may have.

    • SunnyLea says:

      And how would you have felt if the pharmacist had it right and you child suffered some sort of permanent damage?

      And that isn’t some sort of exaggeration. I worked in the pharmacy industry for almost a decade that that has *happened.* Death, paralysis, brain damage…

      Pharmacists, by training, know more about medications that medical doctors. Pharmacist isn’t some “not good enough to be a ‘real’ doctor” profession, it is a professional, PhD granting career that takes just as long as other types of medical training. It is your pharmacists job to know more about medicines and correct dosages than your doctor.

    • borgia says:

      While it doesn’t apply to the above story since it was a cashier, in your case, the pharmacists are usually better informed about the side affects and required strengths than the doctors. That is their sole job and training while it is secondary in a doctors. With that in mind I have also been told (by both doctors and pharmacists) that pharmacists who work at CVS and Walgreens tend to have less experience and lower pay than those that work at grocery stores and targets.

    • Megalomania says:

      A pharmacist has a degree and is supposed to know about this stuff. The cashier however is probably the opposite side of the spectrum in terms of knowledge.

    • Ce J says:

      This pharmacist was doing her job. Doctors have been known to write scripts for improper dosages. You should be grateful that she was questioning the dose. She was looking out for your child.

      • humphrmi says:

        If you read my post, you’d see that I have no problem with a pharmacist questioning the dosage. It’s her arguing with the doctor that I had a problem with.

        • Phexerian says:

          As a pharmacist, we also have doctorate degrees. We are trained in a lot of medication therapy and have clinical judgement to know what is safe, borderline, or blatantly unsafe. The physician and pharmacist had a disagreement clinically on the medication. Yes they may have argued, that happens sometimes, but it sounds like the physician convinced the pharmacist that it was ok to fill the script.

          Sounds like your pharmacist was doing their job and paying attention. Don’t leave that pharmacy. Don’t let that argument affect between the pharmacist and physician affect your relationship with that pharmacy.

        • chemicalx9 says:

          I agree wholeheartedly with the posts above. I have argued numerous times. You better bet that we are just as liable for errors and omissions. If the pharmacist filled the med and the doc was wrong 99% of the public would be naming the pharmacist as a co-defendant.

        • stlbud says:

          The pharmacist may have been considering her malpractice insurance was already as high as she could stand.

          I’m on the side of the pharmacist. She did her job, checked with the doc, and got it straight. I know people who work behind the counter at a pharmacy. There are so many times when the system fails. It’s nice to know it’s working when the pharmacist double checks.

      • Geekmom says:

        It was a cashier, not the pharmacist. CVS cashiers have about as much medical training as my 10 yr old. She was buying over the counter medication, that means she went up to the regular check out, not the pharmacy.

    • joe23521 says:

      Instead of ripping on her, I think you should feel fortunate to have a pharmacist that responsible and passionate.

    • phonic says:

      I’m not a kid, but as an adult I’m allergic to most prescription pain killers. My doctor prescribed me one and not realizing some of the ingredients in it where the ones I am allergic to. It was the pharmacist who realized it when she was filling the prescription. If I took it, my throat would have swelled up and closed and I would have been in the ER. If you go to the same pharmacist all the time they have a record of the drugs you have taken and you allergies something which your doctor may or may not have.

      • humphrmi says:

        Wow, I’m amazed at how many people read my complaint about a pharmacist arguing with my doctor, and think that I’m complaining about a pharmacist questioning dosage or interactions. Wasn’t the part where I said “I’m all for several levels checking to make sure that a bad reaction or overdose doesn’t happen, but the pharmacist arguing with the doctor was a bit much” clear enough? Did I need to boldface it or surround it with flames or something? Or is it just a bad day for literacy on Consumerist?

    • BytheSea says:

      Doctors often make mistakes, pharmacists know more about drugs than doctors. You should thank your pharmacist for caring not to make your son one of the many who die from doctor’s illegible or mistakenly written prescriptions every year.

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    That poorly-written letter was painful to read. I doubt CVS would sell me pain relief medication, though. The cashier probably wouldn’t believe that I was in pain.

  8. daemonaquila says:

    This is utterly unacceptable. The cashier should be fired. I hope Valerie follows up with management and even takes legal action unless the pharmacy vows that no cashier will be allowed to refuse to sell a legal product. It’s the mother’s business, nobody else’s. Interfering – especially as a non-medical person – with a doctor’s judgment call and a parent’s decision is way out of bounds.

    It’s time for a law that makes it illegal for anyone to refuse to sell legal medication, especially pharmacists and pharmacy aids who refuse to sell birth control or abortifacients due to their religious beliefs. Medical decisions are nobody’s business but the patient’s and his/her doctor.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Except you can’t just say “this medication is legal, you have to sell it to me” – certain substances are limited because of how they are used to make illegal drugs. That’s a debate for another time, but I just wanted to point out that there are already regulations in place that prevent anyone from selling any medication just because it’s legal.

      • augiet65 says:

        Your point does not make sense. The drug you are talking about, Pseudoephedrine, is legal to buy but only in small quantities. If I was buying one box of of Pseudoephedrine, which is legal, and was refused because it can be used to make drugs then I would be pissed. I am buying a legal drug in the legal amounts. Benedryl is legal to buy and has no purchase limits that I am aware of. The cashier had no right to refuse to sell her Benedryl.

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          They’d refuse to sell it to you if you lacked proper identification or refused to hand it over (they keep a database).

          • RAEdwards says:

            I’d agree with you if you needed an ID to buy Benadryl. You don’t need one however. Benadryl is made from Dyphenhydramine. That is not an ingredient in Meth. Psudophedrine is however. Benadryl Cold and Sinus has both in them and is why you need ID to buy it. Childrens Benadryl only has Dyphenhydramine in it (just in a smaller and grape flavored amount)

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        FYI- My daughter has been on children’s benadryl since before she was one. It has a nice side effect of sleep that helps her syndrome. It’s perfectly safe, and I keep some on hand for all of my children age 1-9. If a cashier refused to sell it to me, I would be furious and would of called the manager right then and there on my cell phone and raised holy hell. What I discuss with my pediatrician regarding benadryl or any OTC medication is none of that cashiers concern, and to be honest, not even the pharmacist. It’s not a prescription, and until a parent or otherwise suggests that they plan on doing harm with the drug, the cashier should of smiled, made change, and said have a nice day. There is no recourse for the cashier if she sells something to a full grown adult and that adult doesn’t administer correctly, even if the box says do not use under 4 years of age- and most drugs don’t say that. It usually says CONSULT a pediatrician.

        If we want to be technical, I have infants tylenol drops left over and they even say under 2 years old, CONSULT a physician. Even though i’m sure everyone on here would agree how safe infant tylenol drops are. If your 6 month old got a fever and the Dr. said pick up those infant drops, and the cashier says “Oh no, you can’t give her that, it says under 2 don’t use” or other BS- wouldn’t you be upset, too?

  9. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Penaten – this stuff is amazing! I didn’t know you could get it online, but I used it for everything when I was younger, scratches, grass rash. It’s great :)

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=penaten&x=0&y=0

  10. Murph1908 says:

    Not to say I agree with the actions of CVS and the cashier…but…

    I can easily imagine a story on this site where a customer sued CVS because they sold her Benadryl for her 1 year old, when the package clearly states it’s not to be used by children under 4.

    “She should have not let me buy it! It was obvious I was buying it for a 1 year old!”

    Personal responsiblity lapses being blamed on big pocket companies has led to today’s story.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      middle ground? pharmacist makes the info clear, parent states she’s consulted a pediatrician, like it says on the label, signs a release and everyone goes on their way?

    • Azuaron says:

      Doubtful. This sounds like a rogue cashier more than CVS policy.

    • greggen says:

      That is asinine. The clerk should not have sold me the soda in cans because they should have forseen that I would put it in a sock and use it as a weapon?
      The clerk has no business limiting the sale of non-controlled substances.
      The clerk should be fired.

      • Murph1908 says:

        I agree completely.

        What I am saying is that the reverse story is a likely one you’d hear about a lawsuit.

    • ospreyguy says:

      So if my kid isn’t with me, I have to bring a birth cert to show they are over 4?

    • Anonymously says:

      +1 for great truth

    • d0x360 says:

      You cant sue a store because you bought medicine and gave it to someone younger than what the directions say. Now if the directions had no age warnings then you could sue whoever made the medication but you cant sue the damn store who sold it.

      • kobresia says:

        You can sue for just about anything. “Winning” is where the challenge comes in.

        But yes, a store can be held liable if they have reason to believe you’re going to misuse a product, but they sell it to you anyway.

        I have to wonder why this woman told the lowly clerk anything. I almost never tell clerks what I plan to do with anything I’m purchasing. I’d rather not distract them from correctly ringing-up my order with inane smalltalk about the crap I’m buying.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      No one’s going to win a lawsuit because the cashier let them buy something. A cashier is not a pharmacist.

  11. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I would have asked for a manager or another cashier.

    • Ilovegnomes says:

      I want to say me too.. But at some point you just have to do what the person in this story did and try another store. If I saw my kid swelling up even worse, I may have made a dash for another store too.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        fortunately where i live CVS and walgreens are always on adjacent or opposite corners. it’s like a little territorial war. they can actually watch you cross the street to the competition

  12. Matzoball says:

    I would have opened the product and used it and then asked to pay for it.

  13. flip says:

    “I am so mad I wish I could sue them for her refusing to sell me medication for my child because of her own personal thoughts”

    Personal thoughts? It says it on the label! If you were so concerned you would of gotten a doctors prescription to get the benedryl.

    If anything, the Cashier is guilty of READING a label which you fail at.
    Whats next, your going to give your kid vicodine, when he /she starts teething?

    • Ilovegnomes says:

      Uh, you must not have interacted with a kid or pediatrician lately to have stated that. The mom was not medicating her own child based on her opinion of the situation. She was medicating based on what her pediatrician told her to do. And because it is an over the counter medication, pediatricians (in my experience as well) do NOT give prescriptions for it. Instead, based on the age/weight of your child, make a recommended dosage suggestion (which is not what is listed on the box and usually a lot less than what is recommended for a 4 year old).

      • magus_melchior says:

        Note to self: always ask for a note anyway, in case of anal cashiers who don’t understand the phrase “unless directed by a physician”.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Is it ironic that you accuse the OP of failing to read when you’ve clearly failed to read the whole article?

    • Rose says:

      Who writes a scrip for an OTC medication? Why would you do that? On the off-chance that a cashier might refuse to sell it to you? Whatever. That’s just silly.

  14. megan9039 says:

    Between this and the asthma story, I think I will be skipping CVS in the future. I guess I can’t buy candy for the kids either because it will make them fat?!

  15. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    Stores reserve the right to refuse any sale. It sounds like Valerie’s only option is to speak with her wallet and shop elsewhere from now on.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      People reserve the right to complain publicly about those stores. What’s the problem?

  16. eagle5166 says:

    you could perhaps file a complaint with your respective state board of pharmacy

  17. BongoBilly says:

    I tried flagging a comment for being spam but your captcha rejected me 3 x. It is not a good system.

    • scoccaro says:

      Captcha hates me too.

    • B says:

      Maybe you’re really a robot. Have you taken a Voigt-Kampff test lately?

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      I swear every time I misread it the first time, it will NOT accept the correct CAPTCHA until I close that popup window and click “Flag for review” again.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I’m curious if it was ‘spam’ or just a statement you disagree with? To me, spam, means advertising in an inappropriate place. I have not seen any ads so far but I’ll keep the look out.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        I haven’t seen advertising but I have seen the same comment show up multiple times and with time stamps that are far apart. (In a different thread though, the one about pancake batter and furniture spray containers being similar)

        I suppose that could still be the comment system being flakey but 30min between duplicate posts makes it look like it is something else.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      It’s problematic. I’ve had to try it several times to flag a comment too.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Only three? Wow, I’ve gotten up to eleven. No joke.

  18. emrichar says:

    The best solution to this situation is simple: never shop at CVS again. Pharmacies are like gas stations these days; there’s one on every other corner. If you don’t like how CVS has treated you, find another one and don’t patronize CVS anymore.

    • diagoro says:

      Or simply drive five minutes to the other CVS……..end of story and no drama!

    • Sudonum says:

      where I live there it seems like there is always a Walgreens right across the street from the CVS. They opened a new CVS in a rural section of the county, not more than a week later they broke ground on a new Wallgreens. I don’t think there’s enough people in that part of town to support one, let alone two full service pharmacies.

  19. devad says:

    This is the type of thing that makes me really sad. No, Im not talking about the CVS’ reaction to the patient, I’m talking about the general populations reaction to when a pharmacist disagrees with a prescription…

    Do you realize that pharmacists have MORE knowledge about drugs and their effects on the body than general M.D.’s.

    Do you realize that on a DAILY basis every major pharmacy (like cvs/walgreens) receives numerous prescriptions that are the wrong dosage and can hurt or sometimes kill you (or your child for that matter).

    The general public has no respect for pharmacists and what they do. Their job is to monitor every prescription that goes out for the correct dosage/adverse effects with other drugs your taking etc. They do this for literally hundreds of prescriptions each day!

    Imagine having to go into work everyday to make sure that your drugs are the correct ones and at the correct dosage all the while being yelled at by you because you think your pharmacist is incompetent ( despite their extensive DOCTORATE level training in pharmaceuticals that your general MD does NOT go through during their schooling).

    It’s amazing how little recognition that your retail pharmacist receives and how much pressure is on them to review HUNDREDS of prescriptions per DAY to make sure that your damn drugs arent going to kill you. I would love for pharmacists to be able to take a break for one day and all prescriptions be filled directly from the doctor and just see the hundreds of people contrywide that would have adverse reactions and the dozens of people that would die. Maybe then you might appreciate them a little bit more…..but then again, you’d probably find a way to yell at them in that circumstance too….

    • psm321 says:

      Because pharmacist = cashier? And because disagreeing/recommending against = refusing to sell?

      • athensguy says:

        I don’t see anywhere that the cashier was not a pharmacist. Just because someone looks young doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the cashier instead of the doctor.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          But that doesn’t mean we should assume that the cashier was also the pharmacist. I’ve never been handed the medication by the pharmacist at the CVS where I live now ( I don’t go there anymore ).

  20. curmudgeon says:

    I’m going to go to the liquor store and get a few bottles of vodka. Even though I’m under aged, my doctor says I should drink a quart a day. You can see I need it. To calm the shakes I’ve got.
    Most everyone here seems to believe that any time a customer says something, a clerk should believe them, even though what is purchased could harm someone. What if the Benadryl caused an adverse effect on the baby? I’ll bet most of these posters would be shouting SUE! SUE! SUE! The clerk should have known better!

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Bad analogy. There is no law against selling Benadryl to a minor.

    • ChoralScholar says:

      It’s not a clerk’s place to determine what you’re going to do with whatever you buy. They’re also not liable for what you do with it.

      If I buy a gallon of anti-freeze, then put it my dog’s water dish, is that cashier liable? Of course not.

  21. OwenP says:

    i decided to self diagnose my child and decided the childrins formula was prolly 2 week because obviously her face was red and she was astma so how does this so-called “farmacyst” get off telling me i don’t know enough to dose my child. i take 10 or 15 benadrill all the time and it don’t harm me, how is 1 pill going to hurt my child who weighs 1/120th of me at 3 pounds?

    • Bill610 says:

      Okay, reading comprehension assist for you and the poster above you:
      First, she was purchasing the children’s Benadryl. Second, she was acting under a doctor’s advice. Third, the person who gave her trouble was a clerk, not a pharmacist.

      I’m thinking you couldn’t have gotten more of this wrong if you’d read a completely different article.

  22. Nessiah says:

    I’m just wondering, but let’s say it cost $4.78. Is it illegal to put $5 on the counter and just walk away? If it is illegal, would it really be prosecutable in this situation?

  23. Manny says:

    I would have put the money on the counter and opened the package right in front of the cashier and applied it.

  24. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I wonder if the cashier were a Jahova Witness if they could refuse to sell any meds to you. Similar to the Baptist pharmacists refusing to sell RU486 or the ones refusing to give me my tasteful nude prints in a Costco photo center.

    • arcticJKL says:

      That would be a store policy call. If the store defers to employees religious beliefs then you would probably have to ask for a different cashier. Which is what I would have asked for in this case.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        Actually, in the case of RU486 I thought the Surgeon General required pharmacists to fill the orders or have the pharmacy lose its license.

        In my case, I printed a lot of photos for a relative leaving for China the next day plus some for my own portfolio. (mine were nudes) There was a phone call telling me they’d printed the photos but wouldn’t allow me to pick them up because (the tall young black man) felt it went against his morals to print pornography and Costco doesn’t force employees to do things they strongly object to. “So, they’re printed, but you can’t pick up… ever.” My wife took the call because it was on her account. She was embarrassed and didn’t want to ever go to this Costco again, even though it was half mile away vs. 10 miles away for the next one. I called back and asked if we can at least get the photos for China. The guy said no. A small child might glance over and see a naked breast as we sort through the photos or something and we can’t have that. I called again and got the manager this time and she (a middle aged Iranian woman) said we can pick them up after Costco closes. I was surprised that the general public was being allowed to see my personal photos. We went to pick them up; in the mean time the manager went through them to make sure we weren’t breaking any porno laws. Turns out she really likes my work and raved about them to my wife, who was horribly embarrassed the entire time. My wife was furious with me for putting her through that. Even though the manager gave me her card and said to call her and she would process my orders herself, I never went back. My wife would kill me. The surprising thing to me was the stereotypes were completely reversed.

  25. golddog says:

    If the OP is mad about Benadryl, wait til she runs in to a pharmacist who won’t fill her birth control (or something even more significant) b/c of their religious beliefs…

  26. MysticYoYo says:

    That’s the reason why I don’t shop at Walgreens anymore. At the Walgreens near my house the pharmacist wouldn’t sell the the morning after pill to a female customer, “because of her religious beliefs”. That was it for me. I wrote Walgreens’ headquarters a letter and told them not to expect any more business from me and that I would be pulling my prescriptions from their store. I did, and it’s a PIA to get them filled at Wal-mart’s pharmacy instead, but I don’t regret my decision.

    • CalicoGal says:

      That’s sickening. If the pharmacist has such an issue, he needs to find another line of work.

      And it is doubly sickening that if Walgreen’s fires him for NOT DOING THE JOB HE IS PAID FOR they are accused of religious discrimination.

      Utterly preposterous.

    • golddog says:

      Exactly. How far do you allow them to take it? Christian Scientists technically don’t even believe an aspirin is OK so a Christian Scientist shouldn’t be a pharmacist. Hindus probably shouldn’t work at Burger King. Those are extreme but medicine is a science not a religion…in for a penny, in for a pound. Don’t like it, go to ITT Tech and get a new career. It’s just birth control now, tomorrow it’ll be gene based meds and marijuana.

    • Phexerian says:

      I agree. I sickens me as a pharmacist that some of us do that. That pharmacist was basically pushing their religious beliefs onto another person. Unethical and unprofessional IMHO.

  27. CalicoGal says:

    “she saw how my baby face looked”

    Apparently, this OP is well-preserved.

  28. chaelyc says:

    The OP did the right thing by letting the irritation with the clerk go & heading to another store so she could help her daughter ASAP but I (being stubborn and less rational than that) probably would have demanded to speak to the manager at the first CVS while I was there. That definitely sounds like someone untrained giving medical advice & I’m pretty sure that’s not legal.

  29. Jabulo says:

    Since when did the cashier get a medical degree? Does she think she knows more than the parent and pediatrician? Do your damn job and ring up the medicine!! No one asked you for your advice or non-expertise..

  30. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I’ve had advice given to me, not from CVS employees, but Walgreens employees on certain things. It’s one of the reasons I don’t shop at Walgreens anymore (aside from the fact that they were screwing around with my meds and the pharmacist didn’t seem to care).

  31. BeastMD1 says:

    The rel stupid thing is that as far as I know, benadryl has never been proven effective as a topical drug. The pharmacist i used to work with always used to say “it like rubbing a tylenol on your head for headache relief”…

    • webweazel says:

      Errr, what? Benadryl is in pill or liquid form to be taken by mouth. I have never heard of rubbing it on the skin.
      Or are you *that* guy who eats Vicks Vapo-Rub for his sore throat?

  32. JayPhat says:

    Cashier needs fired. Period(says the CVS manager)

  33. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    I would have opened the bottle right then and there and administered the medicine, then I would have paid for it and leave never to return.

  34. SelfishMom says:

    I was in a similar situation when I was pregnant and trying to get a flu shot. The receptionist at the doctor’s office wouldn’t let me keep my appointment and gave me a lecture about not just wildly getting shots when pregnant. I’ve never come so close to hitting a stranger in my life. She wouldn’t even let me speak to the doctor. I went right home, changed doctors with my insurance company, and wrote them a letter/official complaint explaining why.

  35. arcticJKL says:

    I think the cashier tried to advert a tragedy, as was the mother. I think a simple conversation along the lines of,
    “Mam, you understand this is for children 4 and older. (reads label)”
    “Yes, I know, I already talked to my doctor about it, its fine.”
    “Oh, ok then, just making sure, hate to have anything bad happen”
    “Yes, of course, thank you for your concern.”

  36. remf3 says:

    I’m okay with her refusing to sell the benadryl on one condition: she is across the board with all of her nanny-state enforcement. If she could show me that she doesn’t sell cigarettes to people with children, doesn’t sell alcohol to people with a drinking problem or doesn’t sell condoms to people that shouldn’t be having sex anyway, then I’m fine with it.

    Otherwise, I would’ve asked for her to call the pharmacist up to the counter and have him/her explain it to her that you have a precise dosing schedule from your pediatrician. Or better yet, buy it back at the pharmacy counter where there are actual people who know about medication. I remember hearing two clerks at a so-called pharmacy like CVS talking about how they don’t give their children Tylenol because they don’t want them to build up a tolerance to it. The only source of pharmacological knowledge in these places is with the guy with the “PharmD.” behind his name. Or the one who can look the crap up in the PDR.

  37. ellemdee says:

    At that point, I would have just opened the package, gave the medication to my baby, and said “Are you going to take my money for the medicine now or not?”. It’s none of their business what a customer is buying an OTC med for (large quantities of pseodophedrine excluded from that statement for legal reasons) and allergic reactions can quickly progress, so even a few minutes could have made a difference to the child.

    Also, doctors OK Benadryl for 1 year olds all the time to help keep them calm while flying. Believe it or not, the parents of a screaming baby aren’t real thrilled about it either and they often give Bendryly to help their kids sleep through a flight.

    Being alert and warning the parent that it’s recommended for 4 and up is one thing, but not allowing the purchase of an OTC medication is quite another. I buy Benadryl pills for my dog all the time and it’s certainly not labelled for canine use. Sometimes I even bring it up to the cashier that’s it’s for my dog to make conversation as they’re ringing me up. Should I worry about them asking for a note from her vet now?

  38. arachne says:

    I just bought two packages of benadryl for my dogs. It really helps this time of year with their itchies. The casher at Wal-mart didn’t care what I was going to do with it.

    And I would beg that some of the commenters would read up on proximate cause before saying a clerk would be liable for selling a legal medication that caused a bad reaction. Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. is the case to read. You in the US, it’s your law, learn it and use it right.

  39. george69 says:

    canada does not allow kids under 6 to use over the counter cough medicine. I asked the pharmacist whats good for a kids cough. I said 5 and she took me to the packs of halls, said kids under 6 are not allowed cough medicine.

    I said so whats best for six year olds, she shows me the cough syrup. I pick one up and she looked at me like i was a child abuser.

  40. simplekismet says:

    The pharmacist may ask, “Did your doctor recommend this? We don’t recommend its use in children under 4.” PAST THAT, you sell it. Doctors recommend stuff all the time that is outside the range of “normal”. (This is what pharmacists are taught in school! If she were trying to decide on her own what to buy, give another recommendation, but if the doctor told her to buy it, let her have it.)

    When the patient said the pediatrician told her to do it, I would have offered her a dosing syringe so that she could measure the dose more accurately, and made sure she knew how to dose it.

    (Yes, I work in a pharmacy.)

  41. golddog says:

    I don’t understand what the big deal is…when I waited tables I went through at least a pack of Benadryl a day on children under four. Pop a couple in to that first soda, quietest (and best tipped) section in the restaurant. Never noticed any adverse reactions…

  42. sopmodm14 says:

    i’d like to ask to see the cashier’s MD license to overrule the mother’s pediatrician

  43. ToddMU03 says:

    Sue? Really?

  44. nallanos says:

    right to refuse service….

  45. EcPercy says:

    Um…. How about going to another store??

  46. colione112 says:

    There’s a reason the cashier makes 7 bucks an hour and the doctor makes 6 figures a year. Tell the cashier to go to medical school, then tell you what your child can and can’t take.

  47. drburk says:

    I’m shocked and appalled! the next closest CVS is 10 minutes away, isn’t there a Walgreen’s across the street and 2 grocery stores within a block?

  48. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I would have opened it up in the ailse and administered it right then and there. screw laws, this is a life and death situation for the child.

  49. Ben says:

    Of course pharmacists would know more about drugs than doctors! After all, every time I buy and take drugs, I always return for a follow-up with the pharmacist to discuss how the drugs worked and what the side effects were!

  50. soren121 says:

    Wow, CVS is really f*cking up this week.

  51. Andyf says:

    easy solution: drop the $4 on the counter, and walk out. you’re not stealing, and she has no right (legally or otherwise) to refuse accepting your payment for the product, so legally you’re not stealing it.

  52. gnarsky says:

    I just had a horrible experience at my local CVS.

    I selected a handful of items I needed and proceeded to the checkout. Nobody was up there but myself and one other customer, however, soon after that a line formed behind me.

    3 cashiers on 3 registers to take care of under 6 people. That’s fine, after years of working retail I can appreciate wanting to expedite a line.

    I get rung up and swipe my debit card at the same time that I realize I hadn’t used my CVS card. I’m not necessarily blaming the cashier for this, just stating that I realized I hadn’t used it. So, I ask her simply and politely BEFORE I verify any charge on the card or have even provided my PIN if any of the items on my bill were subject to a discount based on the CVS card. I had also wanted cash back.

    I guess she was pushing buttons to force the transaction through faster, because I did not have the opportunity to sign for anything, provide a PIN for anything or opt to get cash back.

    now all of a sudden, without discussing it with me, she starts slamming my items back out on the counter and initiates an item-by-item return. For this purchase that I have not even verified. I shop there often, I know how many screens you have to go through before the transaction is approved.

    so here we are:

    1) cashier rails my card through inappropriately (illegally?)
    2) initiates a return based on a simple question without giving me any choice in the matter
    3) acts all ridiculous slamming my items down

    so we ring everything up again, and lo and behold, even with my CVS card being swiped, the total is exactly the same as where we started. My original question was never answered, but the total I am given here in the end was my answer. None of this was necessary, there were no items effected by swiping the CVS card or not.

    Of course once I’m rung up this final time there’s not enough money in my account to actually make the purchase.

    I got a (shrug) and a superficial barrage of “I’m sorry.”

    my point in the end being, I feel kind of violated by how my card was handled by this cashier.

  53. magus_melchior says:

    Top related post: Feds make CVS pay $77.6 million for not monitoring sale of meth ingredients.

    I’m not exactly sure why the lowest head on the totem pole would care about CVS’ profits, but…