Pharmacy Is Out of Your Medication – Here’s What To Do!

Posted December 21, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Have you gone through the trouble of going to the doctors, getting a prescription, and then going to the pharmacy only to find out they are out of your medication? Many assume that a pharmacy is guaranteed to have your medication in stock, but this is not always the case.

We hear this a lot, so we’ve put together a list of what to do and an alternative way of getting your meds!

But first, here’s the quick round-up list, then we’ll get into more details.

Pharmacy is out of your medication? Here’s what to do:

  • Check when the medication will be available, and if you can wait till then. 
  • Get medications from another pharmacy if your insurance allows it.
  • See if the pharmacist can help fill it from a nearby pharmacy.
  • Ask the doctor to prescribe alternative medications. 
  • Consider pharmaceutical compounding.
  • Considering enrolling with a patient assistance program.

The Pharmacist will Inform You When They are out of Medications

Pharmacy Is Out of Your Medication

It’s rare for a pharmacy to run out of medications, but it’s an occurrence you certainly can experience at some point. Pharmacies’ run out of medications for numerous reasons. Many of them are factors often beyond the pharmacy’s control.

For example, a pharmacy may run out of a certain drug if the manufacturer decides to discontinue that drug’s production in preparation for releasing a new one or if the drug has been withdrawn pending further testing.

However, when your pharmacy is out of your medication, your pharmacist will most likely inform you of it.

At this point, the pharmacist will provide you with the following information and options:

  • An approximation of how soon the medications will be available and how soon they can give it to you
  • The option of mailing the medications to you when they are available 
  • Inform you of the date they will call you for a follow-up.

Before knowing what you can do when your pharmacy is out of your medications, first, understand that the pharmacy may be able to help you cope with this medication shortage to an extent.

So, let’s take a look at what a pharmacy can do for patients when they are out of medications.

Pharmacy is Out of Your Medication – What the Pharmacy Can Do

If the pharmacy is out of a medication that you need to start immediately or can’t go a day or two without, they will try to make other arrangements as best as possible. This includes:

  • Calling nearby pharmacies – They can check if other pharmacies have a supply of your medications to fill it for you. So, if your pharmacy says they are out of medications, ask them if they can help you fill it from another pharmacy nearby. This may be possible as long as these pharmacies are connected to a network.
  • Suggest an alternative drug – This, of course, needs attention to detail and great care and should be taken after discussing it with your doctor. In this situation, your pharmacist can call your doctor, explain the situation, and ask for recommendations or suggest an available alternative to the doctor. 

And if these don’t seem to work, then there are more things you can do on your behalf to handle this situation.

Pharmacy is Out of Your Medication – What You Can Do

The first thing you can do when your pharmacist says they are out of medication is to tackle the above list of what the pharmacy may be able to do to remedy the situation.

If none of those are possible, check if you can manage with the available medications you have at home. Assess if you can continue a day or two without medications, depending on your health condition, and consult your doctor if needed.

If you cannot wait, then take the time to call or visit your doctor and seek further advice.

If the pharmacy is out of your medication, ask your doctor if you can go without medications until the specified period the pharmacy said the medications would arrive. Or, ask your doctor if they can prescribe alternative medications.

If your doctor gives the go-ahead to wait a few days without medications, then you can request that your pharmacy mails you the medications when they arrive or arrange to call back. 

Getting Medications Mailed

When your pharmacy is out of your medication, and you need them to send it to you, you may need to register for mail service if you haven’t already done so.

This will require you to complete an order form and provide relevant details such as an address, contact number, and so on.

Some local drug stores even have apps that help with mailing medications. This gives you the ability to choose your location, be it your home, office, traveling, or even a temporary address.

These apps also help you track the delivery of your medication. 

Getting Medications from Other Pharmacies

If your current pharmacy is out of your medication, then you can try to go to a different pharmacy. For example, if the CVS pharmacy you consistently go to doesn’t have a stock of your medicine, you can try going to a Walgreens pharmacy. However, your insurance plan may affect your ability to do this.

Pharmacy Is Out of Your Medication

It is important to note, regardless of what pharmacy you go to, a prescription is still needed.

Some pharmacies and drug stores offer the convenience of sending images of the prescription to other pharmacies in accordance with certain guidelines. The other pharmacy may be able to then provide the medication.

The problem with an insurance plan is that you have to get medications only from the pharmacies connected to the insurance provider.

And, if you’re going to get medications from another pharmacy other than the one connected to your insurance, it can only be through out of pocket cost, which makes your insurance plan redundant on this occasion.

You can get more details on how to transfer your prescription to another pharmacy.

For Chronic Health Conditions

As an additional note, if you take medications for a chronic health condition, find out if your medication is available as a 3 month supply instead of a 1 month supply.

You can also request that your doctor prescribes a 3 month supply of long term medications.

This is a small tip that can help keep you from running into problems at the pharmacy.

Pharmaceutical Compounding may Help When You’re Out of Medications

This could be an option you can opt for if your pharmacy offers this service.

Pharmaceutical compounding is where pharmacies make a specialized or customized drug for patients to meet their drug needs when appropriate medications aren’t available.

The sole reason for pharmaceutical compounding is to make medications that will meet the specific health need of a patient, where it cannot be satisfied using commercially available medications.

Although this won’t provide you with an exact solution when your pharmacy runs out of your medications, it can provide a closer alternative when other medications won’t suffice.

This is because even if your pharmacist or doctor can suggest an alternative medication, you could be facing problems with interaction, allergies, or other concerns with those alternatives.

Pharmaceutical compounding medications are made to fit into your health condition, away from all other components that can cause interactions, allergies, and so on. 

So, pharmaceutical compounding can give you the best, customized medication alternative to replace the medication the pharmacy is out of. 

However, for you to get this, you need to check if your pharmacy provides this service.

In general, pharmaceutical compounding can only be done in a pharmacy, as the pharmacy can meet the equipment and safety requirements needed.

A Final Alternative

This may not help on this particular occasion, but for the future, consider enrolling in Prescription Hope’s patient assistance program.

It’s a simple application process, and it’s free to apply. Simply go to our enrollment page and enter a few details. We can then do the rest. You could get each medication for as little as $50 a month!

If you’re not sure what our patient assistance program is, you can find out more about our PAP here.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this has been useful in understanding your options when the pharmacy is out of your medication. Consider our PAP as a more convenient way of securing regular medications. Enroll now!

And as always, consult your doctor before taking or changing any medication you may need.