Walgreens Fills High Blood Pressure Prescription With Generic Allergy Pills

Tina claims that last December she had her prescription filled at a Dallas Walgreens store, and was surprised to see that the pills had changed. She “thought they must have changed to a generic” and took them anyway—but when she next refilled the prescription, “the pills were back to what I’d taken for years. It ended up taking Walgreens six weeks to get the pill identified.”

We travel full time, so to get our prescription meds we have used Walgreens, because they transfer prescriptions to any of their stores. In Dec of last year I had a prescription filled (for high blood pressure) at a Walgreens store in Dallas…I noticed that the pills looked different, but thought they must have changed to a generic. When I finished that 90 day supply, I got a refill at a Walgreens in Florida. Now the pills were back to what I’d taken for years…an oval green pill. I had 2 left in the old bottle, white round pills…not what that bottle label said they were suppose to be. Acckk! So now I had taken 3 months of the wrong mystery medicine.

I checked the PDR, no matches…I went to the local Walgreens and they couldn’t identify it. Nor could the Poison Control Center. The local Walgreens gave me a phone number for Walgreens Corporate office, which led to another phone number and another, climbing the corporate ladder, finally speaking to the CEOs office (but not the CEO). I couldn’t get anybody to understand that this was serious…that the pills needed to be identified, that it was important to know what I had taken, who else might have gotten the wrong med, how had this happened and more importantly what was being done to assure this wasn’t still happening.

I tried to explain that if this had been a case of product tampering it would have presented like this…a pill not matching the description on the label. That in a case of product tampering people could have died waiting for their corporation to respond.

It ended up taking Walgreens six weeks to get the pill identified. It was a generic allergy pill that was a Wall Mart brand. There was no explanation of how it got in a Walgreens bottle. No explanation about any of this. And no assurances that they have improved any part of their system.

I wanted Walgreens to tell me what had happened… and what they were doing in the future to deal with this sort of mistake. People faced with this situation should immediately be given access to a person or department who will take this seriously. They should not have to wait SIX WEEKS to have a medication identified. And it should not have taken so much persistent effort on my part. Walgreens should have recognized this as an immediate problem, and responded quickly… with concern for my safety and others. They did not and have not done that.

(Photo: Exothermic)


Edit Your Comment

  1. I hate to be the person who blames the person, but if the pills DIDN’T match what was on the bottle, or they suddenly changed, why didn’t you ask the Pharmacist, and also, why did you take them? It’s not like this is rocket science. If you are THAT concerned with your well-being, then ask the professional. I check every one of my prescriptions. If something changes, I ask. It’s what I pay for.

  2. esd2020 says:

    CVS once gave me someone else’s drugs (same first name, same first few letters of the last name). Luckily I read the bottle first, went back and threw a fit.

    The pharmacist and the guy I assume was the manager both did not seem to grasp how serious it was that I almost took someone else’s heart medication (!) (“Oh, uh, sorry. We’ll go find your medication”)

    Now I wish I made a bigger deal over it. Instead I just stormed out and swore never to come back.

    CVS stands for Customers Very Sorry.

  3. Balisong says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: No kidding :| If your pills are suddenly different, do not take them until you can get them verified as the correct prescription. Tina’s lucky they were just allergy pills…

  4. I’m sorry, but I have to comment again after reading the post again. What is with this righteous indignation? Besides holding your little hand, what else could Walgreens have done? They give you both a pamphlet and a bottle which has a description of the pill. They provide you with trained people who will answer your question, albeit sometimes grudgingly. Do you want them to treat you like a 4 year old and describe how to swallow the pill? Do you want them to give you a shape and color test, so they know you are competent enough to understand shapes and shades? Did you sign the box that said you didn’t want to speak to the Pharma, or that you understood all of the directions? B/c if you did, and you didn’t, and you took the mysterious pills, then you are a moron. Plain and simple. If your life is on the line, care a little more.

    I will concede they appear to have taken their time to get back to you, but what could they really do? You contacted your poision control center. I’m hoping you went to see your doctor to confirm you were ok. Walgreens isn’t a Dr. They can’t treat you. All they can do is investigate. And they did. I also find it hard to believe that with two intact specimines, poison control and walgreens could not identify what the drugs were. Aren’t all drugs made to be identifiable?

    I’m sorry, I’m just steamed at this. Flame away at me.

  5. cockeyed says:

    I gotta agree with Git Em. Why take pills that looked completely different than you were used to?
    I’ve used Walgreens for a very long time, I grew up with chronic asthma, then developed Ulcerative Colitis. I’m 27. Only once in my customer history has a pill mixup happened at Walgreens. I agree it’s a horrendous mistake, but my mother called the pharmicist immediately to ask what was up with the pills. (I was a teenager at the time.) I think this is more a situation of “don’t take strange pills.” If she had just called the pharmacy it would have been corrected immediately.

  6. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Please, please please contact your local medical board or your local pharmacy board or both. Whichever is in charge of pharmacists.

    People have died because of negligence like this.

    Specifically, people have died because of negligence at Walgreens. A search on Google shows tons of cases.

    The fact that Walgreens is blowing you off means they don’t get it or don’t care.

    I’m so glad you are play, but the next person may not be.

  7. @Balisong: That she took for 89 days!!!! It’s more than luck. A high blood pressure sufferer taking a med which will raise your heart rate + bp, while off their normal meds. Surprised their heart didn’t explode like a balloon. Did any symptoms appear? Did that raise a red flag? If my ADHD meds all of a sudden change appearance, and I stop getting my “kick”, I’m gonna call Shenanigans, and investigate. Of course, it does help my meds are a class 2 controlled substance, so there’s NO WAY I’m letting my Pharma pocket them for him/herself. I need me speed.

  8. @marsneedsrabbits: You are right. Walgreens should put safeguards in place. Like warnings on the bottles of what your pills look like. And also on a pamphlet they hand you. They should also make you sign something showing that you understand the instructions. Even better, perhaps you should license people who dispense these things. They could even go to a medical school of some kind. OHHH, even better, make them available to be talked to face to face if you have any concerns.

    Wait, what am I saying. That stuff could only happen in the land of make-believe. No evil corporation would take steps like that.

  9. @cockeye: I’m sorry about your illness. I’m glad that your Mother had the sense to investigate the matter before giving you the pills. Can I ask who questioned it first, or did you both at the same time?

  10. MissTic says:

    I’m not one to blame the consumer, but I would have at least questioned the change in pills before finishing an ENTIRE 90 DAY SUPPLY! At minimum, a call to the prescribing doctor’s office or I would have dropped into my local pharmacy (this OP says she travels and uses Walgreens all over) to ask them to confirm I had the right meds.

    I truly feel sorry for the OP. She could have died. But this is precisely why you make sure your meds are dispensed as precribed. Trust, but verify in all cases.

  11. bohemian says:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to blame the consumer on this one. People are used to being able to trust their pharmacy. But that has gone the way of full service anything these days. She’s just lucky it was only allergy pills and got off lucky. I bet she checks and double checks every pill she gets from now on.

    You should always check the pill against the paperwork or description printed on the bottle. If they don’t match call and find out what the deal is. Most competent pharmacists will inform you about a med change, such as your pills are now white instead of yellow. I also don’t have much trust after catching more than a few near miss errors, ironically all at Walgreens.

    The problem is that pharmacies are under such pressure to churn out prescriptions as fast as possible to turn a profit. It is assembly line and errors happen.

    I think more medications should come in dose packs or sealed bottles with 30 pills inside. This would cut down on mistakes and medication swapping.

  12. marsneedsrabbits says:


    play = okay. Sheesh.

    Seriously, though. Please do not just let this stop at you.

  13. nikalseyn says:

    I used to fill my ‘scripts at Meijer pharmacy and a while before I switched them over to a family-owned place they started actually showing you the pills in each bottle. I suspect because of all the errors they were making—they gave me the wrong pills; the wrong amount, eg., 30 instead of 90 pills; and even forgot to fill two out of the three I dropped off. I finally got fed up with their pharmacy and the long lines at checkout and went elsewhere. But, the bottom line is that it is up to the consumer to pay attention. Too many people just “assume” all is well—to their chagrin sometimes. Stop whining.

  14. racerchk says:

    Wow that is like the story where the pregnant woman went in for pre natal vitamins and ended up getting heavy duty cancer medication and ended up losing her baby. I don’t know if it was walgreens though.

  15. @bohemian: I would say yes, but I like the idea of someone handling my pills, and not trusting a machine somewhere to say that the right pills are in here. Also, some pills can’t be broken/chipped, so a Pharma can discard those and give you the correct amount w/o you having to go back and break open another bottle to get two pills out.

    As for trust, I trust the bank w/ my money. It doesn’t mean I don’t count my withdrawls twice before I leave the bank.

  16. satoru says:

    I’m not sure which chain does this or if its just across the board, but usually doesn’t the attached fact sheet of the drug you’re taking have a fairly good description of what it looks like? Mine’s always had a outline of the pill’s size, as well as text describing the color and any other distinguishing features.

    Mistakes can happen at the pharmacy. There’s no denying that. But it’s still your responsibility to ensure what you’re getting at least matches up to what they say it is.

  17. azntg says:

    In my opinion, this is part patient’s and part Walgreens’ responsibility.

    Like other said, the patient should’ve at least questioned the change in pills immediately and avoid ingesting it until a satisfactory response was head.

    As of Walgreens, if a particular pill is in short supply, give the patient a limited supply and ask for them to come back when the remainder is available. Or worse comes to worse, send the patient to a nearby Walgreens if supply is unavailable outright.

    I’d think Walgreens at least owes the lady the difference between the amount charged for the generic pills to the amount they’d charge for brand name pills.

  18. Pink Puppet says:

    There is a certain level of trust ingrained in people about what their pharmacist does, and I’m not surprised she didn’t ask. I’ve had regular medicines in the past that have changed appearance and ask each time, and it was just standard “Oh, it’s generic, no worries.” I could see where someone would just assume at that point.

  19. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @Git Em SteveDave wrote:
    You are right. Walgreens should put safeguards in place. Like warnings on the bottles of what your pills look like. And also on a pamphlet they hand you. They should also make you sign something showing that you understand the instructions. Even better, perhaps you should license people who dispense these things. They could even go to a medical school of some kind. OHHH, even better, make them available to be talked to face to face if you have any concerns.

    Wait, what am I saying. That stuff could only happen in the land of make-believe. No evil corporation would take steps like that.

    I’m sure you are being sarcastic, but you do understand that it is the pharmacy workers themselves who often circumvent the safety rules so that they can hire fewer people and fill more prescriptions. And you do know that some of the workers behind the counter are not pharmacists, right? Some are high school students.

    You do know that, right?

    Target is the only pharmacy I have seen that puts a description of the pill on the bottle and opens the bottle at the point of sale to check yet again that you and the pharmacy agree that the pills you are getting are the pills you were prescribed.

    In fact, Walgreens is notorious for using non-professionals behind the counter. 20/20 did a report on it and found that Walgreens has a very high error rate.

    Watch this: [abcnews.go.com]

    Watch the people in white jackets, whom people assume are pharmacists, circumvent the rules in place when they tell people that what they are signing is to prove who picked the item up, and not what it actually is, a safety sheet.

  20. Shadowman615 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: Take a breath. We don’t really need to see 80 posts in a row by the same person. I agree that she should have done more if she felt there was something amiss. But this does not diminish Walgreen’s liability in this case. Whether or not Walgreen’s is expected to “hold her hand,” they certainly are expected to fill a prescription with the correct pills.

    They screwed it up. They were negligent. Her actions afterwards don’t change that.

  21. DrGirlfriend says:

    I think that, given that human beings are imperfect, even a pharmacy will mess up sometimes. It sucks and it shouldn’t happen, but it sometimes does. However, Walgreens should not have taken 6 weeks to find out what the pills they dispensed were – that’s unacceptable.

    But! I will make a quick foray into “blame the consumer” territory to say the following:

    Tina. What were you thinking, taking pills that clearly did not look like your past pills, and even didn’t match the bottle description? And taking them for 90 days without even once checking into the discrepancy? The pill description on the bottle is there for this very reason. Sure, Wawlgreens messed up and they should have researched this faster – but that doesn’t absolve you of all responsibility.

    I think she might have gotten a little less flack if in the letter she had acknowledged that she messed up, herself, in not showing a bit more common sense.

  22. katylostherart says:

    if i’ve ever taken a prescription that’s changed i’ve always had a pharmacist tell me that they’ve changed before i even check out.

    but why wouldn’t you look?

  23. @Shadowman615: Sorry, stories like this always irk me so b/c there are so many safeties in place to catch mistakes that a person makes. But when people ignore those, then scream that they were wronged, they seem to say “I have no responsibility for my own actions, it was that persons fault!” If Walgreens had put the pill in her mouth, and rubbed her neck so she would swallow, then yes, they would be wrong. But Tina seems to be able to travel on her own, so I think it falls square in her lap that she took the wrong pills. Not that she was given the wrong pills, but took them.

  24. Nighthawke says:

    There have been cases like this in the past. A couple from Walmart’s pharmacy, and a Eckert dispenser. One case had a fatality, the other two were settled out of court for undisclosed costs.

  25. synergy says:

    I always check the pill versus the description given on the side of the label. You bet if they didn’t match I would’ve marched right back and asked wtf? They can’t change to a generic without telling you.

  26. synergy says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: I get my prescriptions at Walgreens and every bottle has a label that describes the pill shape, pill color, and what is written on each side of the pill.

  27. jesuismoi says:

    You all are blaming the victim again.

    The fact is that generic sourcing changes all the time. I’ve had a generic drug change shape and color -4- times over the past three years. It’s always the same drug, but it has changed.

    It is not OUR job to run the pharmacy!

    Additionally, do you really expect every stressed out single mom with two puking kids to check the pills on the internet to make sure they were the right ones? Many stores do NOT put the pill description on the bottle.

    Also, People in my parent’s generation were raised to respect anyone in a white lab coat. My parents would NEVER question that the pill was the right one. Ever.

  28. @jesuismoi: The OP stated that the description was ON the bottle, and the pill didn’t match, so she took them for 3 months anyway. If you grab a gallon of outdated milk off the shelf at the supermarket, take it home, open it, smell something strange, check the date and see it’s 2 months old, pour it out and it polps out of the jug and drink it, is it the kid who stocked it’s fault that you get sick?

    Do I expect a mother to check the pills she gives her child? Yes!!!! You don’t have to go to the internet though. Every place that has a pharmacy has a pharmacist. And yes, while not EVERYONE who works behind the counter is a pharmacist, just like not everyone at a hospital is a Dr, if you ask to speak with them while you’re picking it up, they will speak to you. If the same mother above gave her kid spoiled milk, is she not at fault?

  29. whatdoyoucare says:

    What in the world is going on with that walgreens? I can’t believe no one else is concerned that a walMART brand allergy pill was being dispensed by a walGREENS. Maybe it is a conspiracy… walmarts are taking over walgreens in order to achieve complete and utter pharmaceutical world domination and no one has even noticed.

  30. IFoundIt says:

    I am the OP and maybe I didn’t explain fully…my problem is with the corporate response to a mystery med. I completely understand my part of the responsibility here…I didn’t check when the pills looked different…and I should have. But then when I did try to find out what they were they were not in the PDR, not identifiable by the Walgreens pharmacy or by Poison Control. That’s when things got scary…and to finally find out that the drug shouldn’t have even been in a Walgreeens Pharmacy at all…well, that’s where they have some answering to do.
    It then became their job to identify the med…and they should be able to do that quickly.
    Even if I had noticed the first day and never taken the mystery pills they still have the responsibility to know what they are dispensing.

  31. MissTic says:

    @whatdoyoucare: I didn’t notice that when I read the article. If it is true, then this is scarier than originally thought! I assumed (and misread) the “generic pill” as “walgreens generic pill”. I hope it was a typo because the alternative is scary. Some Walgreens employee is slipping people Wal Mart brand allergy pills? From where? Their pocket? Scary.

  32. Heresy Of Truth says:

    There is a lot of blame the victim happening here. Pills change colors, and shapes a lot. Generic substitutions happen. Different manufacturers make different versions.

    I worked as a floor nurse, in a medicare unit, on and off since ’98. You do get a feel for what the pills should look like, in their bubble packs, but they do change. (Explaining that to a paranoid alzheimer’s patient sucks!)

    The gal in the article really shoudln’t have had to fear getting the wrong medication. I am given to understand there are a bazillion safe guards against this. I find it disturbing that it’s not even a medication that Walgreens carries, but is something carried by Walmart. If it was a narc, I would have suspected diversion from an employee.

    I hate the blame the victim thing, and in this instance, there really is no reason to.

  33. am84 says:

    My elderly (90+) grandma takes so many medications. If something like this had happened to her, I doubt she would have noticed the error. Scary to think what could happen.

  34. @am84: I’m hoping she either checks her own meds, or has a trusted person who checks her meds. If she does, the chance of this happening are slim.

  35. @IFoundIt: Here’s what I have trouble understanding. If this pill is a Wal-Mart pill, then they must make a lot of it. I looked through my medicine cabinet, and all of the pills were identifiable in some way. I really worry about Poison Control, and how inept they are to not be able to identify a common drug pill, especially when presented with a sample of it. Screw Walgreens, talk to your representative into investigating the Poison Control. Millions of peoples lives depend on this inept organization, and there should really be an investigation. If someone gets poisoned, they have to wait 6 weeks for Poison Control to figure out what it is?

  36. irid3sc3nt says:

    Another Walgreens story! I’m so glad that I switched from that pharmacy a year ago :)

    And, please, no “I have ten million screaming kids with me so I can’t do anything” comments. It’s called family planning/birth control/babysitter or waiting until the S.O. is home from work to watch the kids.
    Just because you have kids with you doesn’t excuse you from being an ignorant and, oftentimes, rude person.

  37. IFoundIt says:

    Well, yeah…I was surprised about that too…but Poison Control were contacted in Florida and in Texas and they had no idea what it was. The story I got was that there are so many generics that they don’t all get reported. And even when they do they don’t have photos. The “mystery med” had some specific markings (a “G” and “L 10”). One of the drug data bases that Walgreens uses took that information and identified it as a particular drug…but when that actual pill was looked at it did have a “G” and the “L 10” BUT it also had several other numbers that my mystery med didn’t have. So then I wanted to see photos of any more guesses…without a matching picture there was no way to know if they matched. No photos were available…Walgreens ended up sending it to a lab for analysis. I would have been happy with a photo match…but there were none available.
    And yes, it was a Walmart tablet. No idea how it got behind a Walgreen pharmacy counter.

  38. Caduceus says:

    There is an internet resource that is readily available that tracks every pill/color/inscription which should take only minutes to fill out to find what tablet was incorrectly given. So, the pharmacist on duty who filled the prescription and the pharmacist on-duty when you returned the prescription should be able to determine this without much difficulty. 6 weeks is absurd.

  39. Ailu says:

    @IFoundIt: Geesh. I feel bad about the beating you are getting here. Fact is, you should be able to trust your pharmacy. Please ignore the nasty comments by the lynchphiles who are going broke leading idle lives trolling this board in search of victims to harass, k?

  40. misslisa says:

    Hey, I think we’re missing an important point: After going 3 months without BP meds, she didn’t die, and her BP didn’t go soaring thru the roof. Therefore she is cured of high blood pressure and never needs to take meds again! Hooray! Anything we can do to wean ourselves from big pharma is a step in the right direction!!

  41. IFoundIt says:

    Well, thank you for that…but I did mess up. I understand that. But Walgreens was so awful in their corporate non-caring…not just about me and my health, but not seeing that this could affect lots of people.
    I guess I expected them to have a planned immediate response to situations like this…and they SO don’t.
    Most (smart) businesses have some sort of crisis planning…and a Pharmacy company really should. But no.

  42. IFoundIt says:

    Ah, Misslisa…lemonade outta lemons! But since the BP medication I take is very low dose I wasn’t in danger of my heart bursting. ;-) But if somebody else had this happen it could have been very serious…and there is no way to know that it didn’t happen to somebody else.
    Walgreens never asked me for the receipt or the bottle, which might have told them who made the mistake. That might have helped them find and other people affected by this. For all I know that same medication is still being given out today. They just didn’t/ don’t care.

  43. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    This happens a lot at Walgreen’s.
    Usually it’s because of the system they use for very popular drugs.
    Walgreen’s has these drug dispensers in which an entire bottle of 250-500 pills or capsules are poured into the dispenser. The dispenser has a dial that gives out the correct number that’s dialed into it.
    The problem occurs when the wrong drug is poured into the dispenser.
    The other reason is when a tech picks up the bottle next to the correct one.

    That happened to me at Target, I saw it when I got home & immediately checked online to determine what it was. It was Atavan, not what I was prescribed.

    And I can assure you, I would never return Cialis, Levitra or Viagra if given by mistake!

  44. IFoundIt says:

    Well that’s interesting…but scary because that sure makes me think others got the wrong stuff too. And it still doesn’t explain why they had a Walmart generic drug going in a Walgreens prescription bottle.
    I understand human mistakes…mine and a pharmacists. But the rest of this stuff wasn’t a mistake, it was non-caring negligence.

    Pretty sure that I would have noticed if I’d gotten Viagra for 90 days!

  45. dangermike says:

    My father is a retired pharmacist. While great efforts are always taken to ensure that no mistakes are made, ultimately, there is a small chance of error. I think a lot of pharmacy customer readily admit that they have no background in the medicines being administered and that doctors and pharmacists DO, they implicitly trust every action taken on their behalves. That is dangerous. Even if you know nothing about the medicine being administered, it is important to know what the names of you medications are, what the pills look like, and basically as many of the little details as you possibly can. Especially in the past 15-20 years, the pharmacy insustry has shifted from mostly pharmacists with a few technicians to many technicians and often only one pharmacist. Even though we have sophisticated computer systems to doublecheck prescription and their identities and interactions, there is the human factor, and this human factor hasbeen pushed from 150-200 scripts per pharm per day on busy days to often 300-400 per pharm on a typical day. While it certainly is a priority to assure that prescriptions are filled properly and that potential interactions are caught, it unsafe to assume that they will be. If something doesn’t seem right, ask about it. Don’t wait. Get it clarified.

  46. @Caduceus: True. It’s called Google. I entered in the in following search, [www.google.com] , and the third link down [www.pharmer.org] , identified what appears to be the same pill above, a claritin generic.

  47. @Greasy Thumb Guzik: I had a dream the same thing happened, and I was debating weither I wanted to turn the Viagra in for my Amphetamines. Amphetamines won.

  48. IFoundIt says:

    @GitEmSteveDave…I did find that site during the search…but no photos. And I didn’t ever find a site that had photos. But you can find lots of pills with “G” “L” or “10” on them, but like I said above there are also pills that have those markings and more.
    There should be a central data base of not only current medications, but older ones too. And apparently there is no such thing…or at least Walgreens doesn’t know about it…and neither do I.
    That’s what’s scary.

  49. scoosdad says:

    @Caduceus: That’s a good resource, and I used something similar to that recently when my vet sent me home with a refill that didn’t look like the pills my dog has been taking for a few years.

    Turns out that instead of giving me 250 mg strength, they gave me 500’s. It wasn’t a life or death mistake because it was an antibiotic. They usually cut them up into quarters for me, but for some reason this time they must have been in a hurry and didn’t do that, which was a good thing since once they were cut up I wouldn’t have known the difference (it was a different shape to the pill but color and relative size was the same). Due to this error, they now have three different people on staff check the refills before they’re given to the client.

    I dearly love my vets and they’ve done extraordinary things for my animals, but from that point on when I order a refill, I specifically ask them to not cut up the pills for me, and I’ll do it at home myself.

    CVS, on the other hand, has given me the wrong medication more times than I care to count, or sent me home with less than the number of pills I and my insurance company paid for.

  50. bonzombiekitty says:

    Not really trying to blame the consumer here, but I do agree that you always need to take some precautions to protect yourself. You should know what your medication should be, and if you’ve been taking a prescription for some time and the pills looked like X and now they look like Y, then that should alert you to a problem.

    Mistakes happen. It’s not necessarily negligence or maliciousness. The mistakes shouldn’t happen but they sometimes just happen no matter how careful you are. You shouldn’t be blindly trusting someone, no matter if it’s a doctor, pharmacist, mechanic, or whatever.

    Sometimes there’s just giant red flags that should tell you there’s something not right.

  51. Iskandr says:

    With the exception of my Advair(because it is quite impossible to screw that up IMO) I check all my prescriptions now. Even before leaving the doctor’s office I make sure what things look like and what family of pharmaceuticals they are a part of due to a severe allergy to anti-leukotrienes, such as singulair. (Go figure I’m allergic to an allergy medication!)

    It is unfortunate the pharmacies mess up, but patients need to take things into their own hands more often. My regular doctor is quite happy that I am more than willing to enlighten myself and understand what the medications I’m taking actually do. I think if more doctors weren’t afraid of their patients having a bit of knowledge on their ailment things might go a little smoother and patients would be a little more inclined to make sure pharmacies get it right.

  52. nerdette314159 says:

    I’ve been using walgreen’s for years – and they’ve always attached a big sheet of paper that not only has the description/side effects/etc listed on it – it also has a shape of what the pill looks like, the description of the color, dosage (mg).
    It hasn’t just been one specific walgreen’s either, so I’m not sure why this walgreen’s didn’t do the printout.

    Walgreen’s should’ve been able to identify that substance ASAP, but the OP shouldn’t have taken an odd substance for 90 days. If it was a ‘generic’ version of whatever substance, it would’ve said so on the bottle “xyz…generic for abc”, and all over the attached sheet.


  53. Youthier says:

    I think people are getting a little crazy placing all the blame on Walgreens or the OP. Yes, back in the day, you could trust anyone in the white lab coat behind the counter. Of course, there were about 15 prescription options back then. Now… I can think of 4 brands of ED medication off the top of my head and I’m a 25 year old woman.

    Walgreens sucks for not caring but MOST COMPANIES DON’T CARE! They just don’t. You have to take responsibility for yourself and your loved ones who may not be capable of caring for themselves. Sure, you can count on the pharmacy or the doctor to do it and if they’re wrong, you can potentially get a nice lawsuit payout but since the human life is irreplaceable, check the damn pills! It is so very worth it. /voice of experience

  54. scarletvirtue says:

    @MantisDragon: I’m the same way. While I have the Advair, along with two other meds that I get in their original packaging – I do check any other meds, to make sure that I’m not getting something besides what I was prescribed! So far, so good – although I do get kind of edgy when it comes to that sort of thing.

  55. @IFoundIt: Again, forget Walgreens. The fact that Poison Control doesn’t have access to the internet is the real problem here. Why do we let an organization that has so many people’s lives in their hand be so inept, and not care about the public they serve. They take all of these donations and tax payers money, and they don’t care about people. I mean, if I as a lay person can find this, why can’t poison control when they have a “professional” database on their hands.

  56. @IFoundIt: BTW, did it look like this: [www.pharmer.org]

  57. IFoundIt says:

    Yes…that’s it. Why couldn’t anybody else find this? I mean any of the Pharmacists, Poison Control Centers or anybody at Walgreens? Late in the 6 weeks wait my daughter found Pharmer.org…but we didn’t notice the drug image section.
    I thank you, because this is a great resource. But sheesh, why wasn’t that known to any of these experts?
    My point all along is that the folks at Walgreens should have immediately been able to direct me to one person or dept. that had access to this sort of information. They should have this information quickly available for any customer regardless the situation.

  58. @IFoundIt: Again, why are we trouncing on Walgreens when the failure is this supposed health service known as poison control. I entered just 5 things into google here [www.google.com] , and found it right away. They ask for donations, claim to be experts, claim to be supported by hospitals, and the supposed Dr.’s who volunteer there probably got their degree off some cereal box. This “service” needs to be shut down. They make claims like this:

    24-hour telephone guidance for poisoning emergencies is provided, free of charge, by Certified Specialists in Poison Information, with back-up by board-certified physician toxicologists. The Specialist continues to follow each case, with frequent calls back, until all symptoms have resolved and parents and patients are reassured.

    And they can’t even identify a pill I could in searching for two minutes. I think we all need to get together and shut these FRAUDS down. Just b/c I don’t read the bottle, take the wrong meds for 3 months w/no questions asked, don’t ask a single person for assistance, and “seem” alive, doesn’t mean I have to wait a month and a half to find out what I took. They’ll probably say they have “real poisoning cases” to deal w/, but we all know what that means. It’s just a way for some greedy not-for-profit group to shirk their responsibility. Phone calls/requests should be handled by order received, not on some arbitrary triage system where people dying are given top priority. I know, I know, the whiny liberals out there will go “But people may die if you shut it down!” True, but b/c they didn’t identify this pill, how can we trust them?

    That being said, I just have one more question. If you got your prescription filled last December(12/1/07,first day in December), took it for three months(last dose on 3/1/08), then you’ve had to wait 6 weeks for an answer(4/14/08), how can you write this story in March? Shouldn’t you STILL be waiting for your answer today? Seems your dates don’t add up. Unless this happened in 2006, which if so, why’d you wait almost a year to bring this up on consumerist?

  59. IFoundIt says:

    You are right…again. I started this process with Walgreens thinking I had taken a 30 day supply, then noticed it was a 90 day script…it was filled in Oct of ’07.
    I hesitate to admit this since you will see this as another reason to call me a moron. But let me say that taking a medication that looked different was a one time decision, not a new decision made 90 times. It wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve ever made, but as other posters have said, meds do change and I made an assumption. I get it. That was stupid. But I keep trying to come back to my point. This really isn’t about what I did or did not take…the problem is that Walgreens should be able to identify any drug that they dispense. If I had never taken the medication I still would have wanted to know what wrong med they had given me.

    And I bring this up now because the final communication I’ve had from Walgreens was a letter saying that they would NOT explain how this happened, or what they will do in the future to identify mystery medications.

    As to Poison Control…I was shocked they were no more help than they were. And especially since (as you’ve shown) the information was out there. I don’t think shutting them down is the answer, but really…where are folks suppose to go for this sort of information?
    As much as we rely on the internet for so much, in a situation like this it would be better to have an accountable source…like Poison Control.
    However, let’s not forget that Poison Control isn’t resposible for the wrong drug (from the wrong store) being dispensed. This really is Walgreens issue.