Limiting Medication, But Not Really

Once again, CVS Caremark wasted my time. On 1/27/12 they sent me a copy of a letter they sent my patient saying they only provided a limited supply of tramadol to my patient because it’s subject to plan quantity limits. The directions I wrote said that she could take up to 8 pills per day. I only wrote for 60 pills, though, so I didn’t understand why the letter.

It took me about 10 minutes, but a customer representative said I could have ordered 240 pills at a time and it should have gone through. He didn’t know why the letter went out. I pointed out that besides the fact that his company wasted paper and postage mailing out the letters, it probably caused my patient to be concerned, and it wasted my time. He apologized and said the coverage should not be a problem. I said that surely this wasn’t the only mistaken letter they’ve sent out and said he should pass this on to his supervisor.

Mistakes happen, but the answer should not be, as Gilda Radner said, “Never mind!” Instead organizations should apologize and try to figure out why it happened, and what can be done to prevent it from happening in the future. When a pharmacy benefit manager, such as CVS Caremark, does otherwise, the message is they don’t care if they waste doctor’s time.

Author: Daniel Ginsberg, MD, FACP

I'm an internal medicine physician and have avidly applied computers to medicine since 1986, when I wrote my first medically oriented computer programs. So yes, that means I'm at least 35-years-old!

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