In Which I Explain Why Express Scripts Sucks

When I had my hysterectomy, my oncologist and I discussed whether or not I should go on hormone replacement therapy. We decided that it would be beneficial and I’ve been taking Premarin pills since two days after my surgery. It’s not a cheap prescription and there are no generics available for it, so when Scott and I realized we could get it cheaper through Express Scripts’ mail order pharmacy, we thought it was a no-brainer.

Then we actually started trying to use Express Scripts, and it turns out the no-brainer part is true, but the no-brainer is we’re going back to CVS.

At CVS, my prescription is $70 for a two-month supply of Premarin tablets. When I looked it up at Express Scripts, it said it was $70 for a three-month supply. Great! I entered in my prescription and sat back to wait. The next thing I knew, weeks later, they had shipped my prescription as a three-month supply of Premarin cream at a cost of $140. I called to let them know about the error and see what we could do about it. They told me they called Dr. Firm Handshake for “clarification” because “tablets are an unusual form for this medication” and that he approved the change.

Really? Tablets are an unusual form? Funny that CVS never thought so, but whatever. What can we do about this?

“Well, you can use up the supply of medication and submit a new prescription in two months.”

Uh… no. This is not the correct medication, this is not what my doctor prescribed, and I’m not spending the next three months squirting cream up my lady parts every day. (I didn’t say that last bit out loud.)

Eventually it got escalated up to a supervisor, Steve, who said that, as a courtesy, they would credit me 50% of the price of the cream so that it was the same price as the tablets. That’s not acceptable, I told Steve, because I’m not paying $70 for medication I wasn’t prescribed and won’t use. I got his contact information and said I would call back after calling my doctor.

Dr. Firm Handshake’s PA confirmed that he signed off on their clarification. I don’t know why he approved the change. I do know that he didn’t mean to make the change and I suspect they take advantage of busy doctors in this way to foist more expensive prescriptions on people. While some fault lies with Dr. Firm Handshake, they should never have tried to change my prescription in the first place, and even if they did, they should have contacted me as well as the doctor. I would have set things right before the prescription was ever filled. Instead they opted for trying to gouge me.

The doctor’s office called in the correct prescription and it’s now sitting in the Express Scripts pharmacy, unfilled. They refuse to fill it until we pay the $140 for the incorrect medication. Scott has several calls in to Steve, the supervisor, who hasn’t seen fit to return any of them yet. Now Scott is escalating it to his HR department. I have no idea if they can actually do anything, but at least the whole mess will be logged with them for when they’re considering benefits in the future.

In the meantime, I’m going back to CVS. There are several refills already available for me there and they never gave me this hassle. I’m thinking about sending back the incorrect medication with a cat turd. Not really, but with a very sternly worded letter, at least. I don’t care about the extra cost by not using Express Scripts. I’ll never trust them or use them again, and I plan to spread the word as far and wide as I can, starting with Scott’s HR department this afternoon.


10 Responses

  1. Totally thought this was going to be a programming post. Express scripts was going to be a MS thing I’d never heard of. Was totally down with reading why it sucked.

  2. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. With Bill’s new job, they use CVS. I remember using Express Scripts in the past… having to get the 90 day supply. Now we can do that inside a CVS pharmacy and that makes life so much easier. I’m sorry you had to deal with that!

    • I would much prefer to deal with CVS. What I’d really prefer is an independent pharmacy, but those are few and far between these days.

  3. I thought I was the only one ever to have a extremely low opinion of Express Scripts. For one thing EXPRESS ought to be changed to TURTLE. They screw up and the customer pays!! They refuse to take back medications that are wrong. Express Scripts Sucks is a gentle critique of a company that has no desire for customer satisfaction.

  4. express scripts is the worst pharmacy out there. We had Merck-Medco and never had a problem and then express scripts took it over and the nightmares continue. our employer had EP the year before we had Merck and we were so
    glad to be rid of them and then they merge this year. You can’t even talk to a pharmacist. Your call goes straight to India or some other foreign country and all they do is relay. UGH!

  5. By the way Kim, Premarin is made from pregnant horse urine. That is just one reason why it is named pre-mar-in.
    pregnant mare. There are bio-identical hormones available that are more suited to the human body. Look it up.

  6. I’m aware of where it comes from, thanks. 🙂 I prefer to keep my medical decisions between myself and my doctors, but thank you for your thoughts.