Prescription Filling Process, How Prescriptions Are Filled

Posted November 27, 2019 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

While waiting in the pharmacy, we all find the prescription filling process can sometimes be time-consuming and frustrating. Even if it’s just a few people waiting at the pharmacy the prescription filling process seems like it takes a year. So, here we explain the process that pharmacists must go through to get your prescription checked and ready.

Here’s the quick take away answer, then we’ll dive into a bit more detail…

Prescription Filling Process? The prescription filling process has five detailed steps. They include input & initial check, therapeutic check, preparation, technical check and supply and educate. These focus on an accurate and precise prescription filling process that is safe and legal for both the customer and the pharmacist.

If you’ve ever wondered why it seems to take so long to fill your prescription, it’s because every prescription must go through a process for safe and accurate dispensing.

To give you a detailed background on the prescription filling process, the following guide will help.  But note it may be different if you want to fill a prescription in another state.

What Does It Mean to Fill a Prescription?

prescription filling process

Filling a prescription is the process involved in translating a medication order (prescription) into an individualized medication supply to a patient that is safe, appropriate and legally accepted. As mentioned, this prescription filling process involves five detailed steps that are as follows.

Note – When you get a prescription at the doctor’s office it can be in two forms. The prescription can be either handwritten or sent electronically to your pharmacy.

The pharmacy can be any form of outlet, from a retail pharmacy, a pharmacy at your doctor’s office or a mail-order pharmacy. It’s after this process, the pharmacy can start the prescription filling process.

  1. Input and Initial Check

This step involves information verification

Firstly, the pharmacists will ask you for general information on your visit. If it’s your first visit or if you have already obtained drugs before.

If you answer no, you will be required to fill a consent form. In this form, you will be asked to fill general demographic information along with a brief medical history and any known allergies you may have.

If you’ve already visited the pharmacy before, that means your information is already present in the database. In which case, they may ask you for an identifier, such as your address or birthday. This will help them easily sort your profile within the system.

After finding your profile, or creating a new profile, you’ll be asked if you have used this medication before and for what treatment it was used for. This will help the pharmacist update your medical profile when the medication is filled.

  1. Therapeutic Check

This step involves verifying if the prescription is accurate and right for you

After entering your details into the system, a member of the pharmacy or a unit will check the doctor’s prescribed information.

This includes the medication prescribed, indications, quantity and so on. This is also a step where the pharmacist will match the drugs prescribed for you against your medical profile.

This will show if the prescribed drugs are likely to cause you any allergic reactions, or are not suitable according to any prior medical conditions, or for interaction with the medications you are currently taking.

This is also a step where the information regarding the validity and legality of the prescription is checked.

Note – Under this step, if there is an error or confusion in the prescription, inaccuracy of the drugs and doses prescribed, or if the prescription is damaged or so on, the pharmacist may refuse to fill it until the necessary information is confirmed by the doctor’s office.

Only after this verification, the pharmacist may proceed to the next step of filling your prescription. So, if this step uncovers any errors or confusion, and ensures they don’t overfill your prescription, then the time taken to fill your prescription may increase.

  1. Preparation

Once the verification is complete, the pharmacists will communicate the cost and related information.

This is also a step where the pharmacist will check if your insurance plan covers the prescribed drugs and any conditions around that. At this point, you can ask the pharmacist for other alternatives if the prescribed medication is too costly. And if you cannot afford your Meds, then we can help you with that.

Those options are as follows…

  • You can obtain the medications prescribed by your doctor by making the co-payment as per your arranged insurance plan.
  • You will pay a higher co-op price or a percentage of the total cost of the medication. This option is called a co-insurance option
  • You can opt to receive a less expensive medication for both you and your insurer. This medication will provide the same or similar benefits but is not the exact branded medication your doctor prescribed.
  • Your insurer has instructed that you try a different medication before they will opt to pay for the medication your doctor originally prescribed.

Once you give your consent, the pharmacist will prepare your medication as per yours and your insurer’s guidance. They will scan and pack them, check for expiry and labeling (apply cautionary labels and write down the times to take, where to use and other information)

This medication will then be handed over to another member (usually in another unit) who will take the meds through a technical check for completing the prescription filling process.

  1. Technical Check

Are the Prescription and Records Filled Accurately?

This is where a member in a separate unit within the pharmacy will check the accuracy of the information entered into the system. If needed under this step the person may ask for further verifications.

Moreover, under this step, a further check on the medication, brand, quantity, doses and related labeling will be rechecked for accurate filling, before handing it over to you in the next step.

Also, in this step the pharmacists may print certain counseling documents if the medications provided need more detailed instructions or information.

  1. Supply and Educate

prescription filling process

This is the final step. The pharmacist will supply you with the medications and complete the filling process through a transaction (if not covered under the insurance). In this step, the pharmacist may provide certain elements of counseling for the customer regarding the medications

And if it’s a refill, the pharmacists will assess how the drugs are working for you and if you’re experiencing any side effects and so on – just to be aware.

This step provides an opportunity for you to clarify all your doubts regarding the medication, potential side effects, how many times a day to take them, further refills and so on.

Remember your health and safety are the number one concern of a pharmacist. Therefore, so many checks and balances are in place to protect you, and the pharmacy from any terrible consequences, health implications and indeed any action due to negligence.

So Finally…

If you have any questions about how Prescription Hope can help you save money on any drugs that we offer, or if you’re having trouble affording any of the medications you’ve been prescribed, then contact us, or visit the enrollment page to create an account and fill out an application and let us save you money!