How to Get Your Medication Filled Faster at the Pharmacy


First of all be prepared. One of the best ways to speed the process is to actually have your written prescription and insurance in your hand.
You can not imagine how many people wait in line for several minutes, then get to the counter and say... "Oh let me find my prescription." Utilize that time!


Also please keep in mind, if you plan on submitting your claim to an insurance company, we need your card. Even if it is already on file, take the card with you. Many times insurance companies change benefits without notifying the patients. As wrong as it is... it is true!! Having your card allows for a knowledgeable technician to view the card. You may not notice one small change on the card that a tech would. That small change many times is what processing company is used for online claims. Otherwise you will have a rejection that says your coverage has been terminated.


Be prepared to give personal information... like address, date of birth and so on. If you are sending someone else to turn in or pick up medication, make sure they have this information as well. Sure they may know your birthday is July 7th, but if they tell them your year is 1946 instead of 1947... guess what? Your insurance company will tell them that you are not on file and do not have coverage. Not only is all this vital information for insurance processing, but it is also for your safety and privacy. Do you really want someone else getting your medication or personal information just simply because they know your birthday? I suggested having the information written in advance on the prescription. Use the space in the top or back if not an allocated space. Include date of birth, address, phone number, and allergies to medications.


If you are in a hurry, stay at the pharmacy. Every pharmacy prioritizes their workflow based upon who is there and who is coming back later. Guess whose gets done first? Yep... the waiters (as we call them in pharmacy).


If your medication is a refill, call it ahead in advance. Even if it is a written prescription for a renewal to a medication you have been taken for years. Go ahead and drop the script off at the pharmacy and have it ready for you when you return a couple days later.


Do not try to call in new scripts over the phone. Unless you are a medical provider calling from a hospital, this is illegal!! Bring it in like the rest of us!!


Know your meds and what they are used for. Do not describe to me the little white pill that you take for my blood pressure! You just described almost every tablet in the pharmacy. Not only does this slow the process, but it frustrated the staff... and a frustrated staff is a slower staff. Know their names if at all possible. Even if you only remember the brand name and you are taking generic... that is okay. Or if you butcher the name or spelling... that is okay too! Just give us something to work with.


Know that we don't make this stuff up. We do not make drug prices nor do we control insurance companies. When we say that you need to call your insurance company to find out information... we are not just blowing smoke. In today's society, almost all claims are processed online. If the insurance company has some information entered wrong, if they have made changes to your benefits package, and if there are no overrides... there truly is nothing we can do, until they fix it. We are not being mean or lazy. Most pharmacy software stops the entire filling processing on that particular prescription. We will try to work with you, but please be aware that we are not out to get you!!


Comply and be nice. I know you feel horrible and are in a hurry, but we really do try to get your meds out as fast as possible. There are so many steps and procedures that we are required by law to follow. It is for your good. Those patients who are the nicest and most patients are the ones in the future we run circles around to make happy.

Tips and Warnings

  • Many states require a photo ID to pick up controlled medications... be prepared.
  • There is a good reason why you have to stand in line forever for just a box of Sudafed. Drug addicts make meth out of it and they are hiring your teenagers to do it!!
  • Have you ever waited so long at the pharmacy for your medication that you felt the urge to continually recheck your pulse. How can it take so long to chunk so tablets in a bottle? As a Registered Certified Pharmacy Technician, I assure you there is more to it that you realize. But there are some things you can do to speed up the process and get that medication filled fast. Or at least faster!!