Don't Miss Your Nonexistent Prescription Refill Reminder From Target!

If you choose to use auto-refill for your prescriptions at a chain pharmacy, be very, very careful if you move, or if you just happen to get one refill at a different store than usual. G. learned the hard way that Target, at least, will refill your prescription, fail to call you, and if you don’t happen to pick up your refill within two weeks: too bad for you; you’ve lost that refill!

I got a one-year prescription of birth control in April 2010 and decided to make a Target in California my pharmacy. When I went to pick up my first 3-month batch, they asked me if I wanted to sign up for auto-refill. I thought sure, why not, that way I don’t have to wait for 20 minutes while they get it ready.

The pharmacist didn’t mention anything about giving me a phone call when my prescription was available for pick-up, so I just showed up after three months for my next batch without receiving any phone call. She couldn’t find my prescription at first, saying it wouldn’t be ready for another three months. I said that can’t be possible because I’m on auto-refill, so it should be ready by now. She eventually found it sitting in their massive wall of prescription bags and all was fine again.

When it was time to get my third 3-month batch, I was in the process of moving across the country and once again did not receive any phone call concerning an auto-refill. I was in Georgia at the time and called a Target store to see if they could transfer my prescription. I went in and picked it up without issue.

Now I’m in Virginia with my move complete and it’s time for my last 3-month batch. I called the store here to see if they could transfer my prescription, and after five minutes of the pharmacist being rude and unhelpful — like not even asking for my name and looking up the wrong person with my birthday — she tells me I don’t have any refills left. I think back and wonder if the Target in California or Georgia auto-refilled my prescription without calling me and used up one of my refills.

I ask the pharmacist if she can check one of the other stores and see that I haven’t been in to pick up my fourth prescription. She says she can’t help me because I should’ve received phone calls when they were ready and went in within 14 days to pick it up. She explains if I don’t pick up the prescriptions in that time, it goes back on the shelf and I’m just out of a refill. That’s ridiculous — what’s the point of having auto-refill if it’s not there when I need it?

So I was basically cheated out of three months of my prescription because of Target’s ludicrous auto-refill system. I called my doctor in California and she said she can fax them another year of my prescription, but had she not done that, I’d be out of birth control and would have to start the cycle all over again.

Needless to say, I’m canceling auto-refill. I also want to switch pharmacies because Target is so unhelpful when it comes to solving customer issues.

Do all pharmacies have a 14-day pick-up time? Is there a particular pharmacy that’s good about keeping up with customer refills?

I’d be skeptical of G’s story if I hadn’t had a similar experience with Target a few years ago. I’ve since banished auto-refill from my life and never looked back. That’s a personal choice, but if you’re moving more than a few towns over, make sure that your refills won’t be waiting for you, lost and forlorn, in the wrong state.