Non-CVS pharmacies in NYC that dispense generic "IR" Adderall
February 6, 2020 3:56 PM   Subscribe

I have been taking generic "IR" (Instant/Immediate-Release, NOT Extended Release) Adderall for almost 10 years. For the past 3-4 years, I've had my prescriptions filled at a large CVS in Brooklyn with mostly no problems. By "mostly no problems", I mean they occasionally can't fill my prescription for 1-2 weeks because they say they have monthly limits to how much they can order. For the past 3-4 months, though, I've been totally screwed by the variable "deadlines" for these monthly limits, and I've had to go up to 6 weeks without filling my prescription.

Most recently, my prescription actually expired, because my psych appointments have gotten sufficiently out of sync with the CVS deadlines, such that the prescription was sent too soon for my insurance to allow it to be filled, but when it was eventually refillable, it missed their deadline, and then the month was up. (I'd already canceled my pending appointment for fear of appearing drug-seeking, which I have a lot of anxiety about, because this drug has profoundly improved my quality of life.)

I asked the CVS pharmacy staff what I can do about this problem, and they said, "You should tell your doctor to delay sending the prescription, or you should find another pharmacy." They can't tell me when their monthly deadline is, though, so I don't know when to tell my psychiatrist to send it (also, telling the psychiatrist to wait feels sketchy). So here I am. Do you know of any pharmacies in Brooklyn or Manhattan that will dispense generic IR Adderall without all of this bullshit? 
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you get your prescription filled every 30 days or do you skip some days so then it takes a bit longer? I've had a version of this problem, too, and I thought the issue was that they ordered a certain amount based on the previous month or two, and then they'd run out; it's complicated because it's the kind of meds they have to keep locked up (or whatever; I think you know what I mean). I figured it was because I often skip days (on weekends, for example), so I wasn't on a 30-day refill cycle.

Can they send the prescription to another pharmacy when they run out? I don't know if this can be solved by any one pharmacy but is just a matter of who hasn't run out during any particular month.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:06 PM on February 6

Check with capsule? They deliver. Several people I know love the service.
posted by bilabial at 4:19 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

This is...weird on their part. I have never encountered anything like "deadlines." Also, a CVS should be able to point you to another CVS that has it in stock. I want to gently encourage you to advocate for yourself more aggressively in this kind of situation. Ask the pharmacist what you are supposed to do, say it's unacceptable, and be polite but direct about the fact that you need your meds.

Anyone else who is reading should take their RX elsewhere if the pharmacy can't fill it, period --- don't be afraid to do this even if you have a controlled scrip.

Anyway, I would try Capsule or just call around to convenient pharmacies and ask before your psych appointment to see who has it. They will tell you over the phone if they have it in stock.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:22 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]

Getting this type of rx filled in-pharmacy in NYC is a nightmare. Does your pharmacy benefits co have a mail-order service? They can also sometimes screw you in availability of this sort of rx but tend to be a bit more reliable. Other than that you can try the few remaining small mom and pop pharmacies, like Bigelow. I don't know any in Brooklyn to recommend but I'd ask around.
posted by ch1x0r at 4:33 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

A couple of times, our regular pharmacy was out of my son's ADHD meds, or didn't have enough to fully fill the prescription. In each case, the pharmacists called other locations of the chain and found one that could fill it for us. This is the bare minimum of customer service they should be doing for you. Make sure you know the locations of several other CVS chains near you or near your work and the next time this happens, tell them you want them to call around to these other locations to get your prescription filled. Definitely advocate harder for yourself.
posted by cooker girl at 4:48 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]

I'm a pharmacist, but in Virginia, and in a hospital, so I'm not 100% familiar with your situation, but here's what I've heard.

There are lot of limits on what pharmacies can do with Schedule II controlled substances and a lot of chains have especially strict internal rules. I'm pretty sure CVS limits how much each individual store can order based on what they consider "usual" use. Of course this means some stores can't order as much as they need, every month.

Around here there are stores that tend to run out of the ADHD meds fast. They tend to be the ones in wealthy suburbs where there are a lot of teens with a diagnosis. (The way we deal with controlled substances in the US bothers me because yes, these drugs are a tremendous help to a lot of people and it really disturbs me that people end up going without. This is not a dig at wealthy suburbs, I wish everybody could get the treatment they need. That is a rant for another day.)

Telling the prescriber when to send in the Rx isn't sketchy. I'm sure a lot of people do it, because a lot of people are having this problem.

Honestly the suggestion to find another pharmacy is a good one. You really should call around right before your prescription is going to be sent in and see who would be able to fill it. Then tell your doctor to send the prescription to that pharmacy. I know that is a ridiculous hassle but I honestly think it's the best way to handle the situation.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:13 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]

I have a prescription with CVS that runs into a similar problem. I am in the NYC suburbs. There are lots of CVS' around here. I have my doctor send it electronically to the CVS I prefer. I then go there immediately after the appointment. I ask if they received it and if they can fill it. If yes, profit. If no, I ask if a certain other one has the stock. If yes, I have to call my doctor and have them cancel replace it with that CVS that has it. If no, I try one other CVS. Then I send it to a smaller non chain one that is a bit away but always comes through.

The important part is that CVS will not just let you fill it at any CVS. If it is in a certain class of drugs, your doctor has to cancel and redirect to another CVS or another pharmacy. Waiting more than a day or three is not acceptable.

If this is a regular prescription which 10 years sounds pretty darn regular, see if you can get it filled mail order or have CVS put it on auto refill and ask them to reserve yours since it is a refill.

THe issue may be that you cannot have refills and every 30 days it is considered a new prescription. THis is because of the class of drug? I tried discussing this with the CVS pharmacist that you would think they would notice a trend of a new prescription every 30 days for the last whatever years and be prepared like any business that manages its inventory, but nope.

On preview, what cookergirl said.
posted by AugustWest at 5:29 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]

Costco is usually the best, and you don’t have to be a member to use the pharmacy. They also do mail order.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:41 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what schedule Tylenol #3 and Percocet are, but a relative was able to have them delivered by mail order through CVS Caremark mail order pharmacy, which surprised me a bit. Perhaps you could ask the CVS pharmacy you've been going to about whether mail order would be possible, and have the doctor electronically prescribe to the mail order pharmacy. I doubt they would have the same ordering ceilings retail pharmacies have.
posted by citygirl at 7:31 PM on February 6

I use a small boutique pharmacy in the west village and have never had a single problem filling a prescription that was not directly due to an insurance issue. Everything I have ever needed took at most 24h to be filled. I get both XR and regular release adderall and it's never been a problem. It's half an hour on the 3 from my current house and I still won't go anywhere else bc almost every other pharmacy I've ever used has been in some way stupid, inconvenient, or nightmarish.

As for Brooklyn pharmacies, you can try Medly, their prices are pretty good and have free delivery anywhere in nyc. You have to call to schedule the delivery first thing in the morning to get it the same day, though. They're very good at aggressively navigating various inexplicable hoop jumping requirements from health insurance IME.

My excellent pharmacy in Manhattan is Grove Drugs on 8th avenue and W12th street, I've been using them for 15 years and only my death will end that. They keep better track of all my medications and the various things that will interact with them better than most of my doctors do.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:34 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]

I, too, think you might have better luck with a mom-and-pop where they might have more leeway than a franchise pharmacist. A lot of people around here swear by Block Drug; you might call them.

(Percocet through the mail? Golly.)
posted by praemunire at 8:47 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

I'm out on Long Island and CVS used to do this same crap (with the same meds) to me years ago. The worst thing was that they wouldn't check with other branches to see if anywhere had it in stock--they suggested I do it instead. Gee, thanks. New York is particularly hard because we don't get paper scripts anymore, everything has to be called in and verified by the Dr's office so you can't just head over to the next place and see if it's in stock.
Anyway, I now get mine filled at a Walgreens and can't think of a single time where they couldn't get it filled within 24 hours. A relative's generic Ritalin is filled at a Stop and Shop pharmacy with no issues; he moved it there after CVS could never fill that one either. These stores are all within 3 blocks of each other so the "rich kids using all the Adderall" explanation doesn't seem to hold. I think CVS is just terrible at keeping certain things in stock.
posted by Jemstar at 9:19 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

Just so you know, there is a pharmacy database that keeps track of controlled substances prescriptions to prevent doctor shopping (going to two or more different doctors to get more controlled substances prescribed at the same time) . Your physician can likely check that your script was never filled.

Ask your physician what he thinks you should do to be able to get consistent supply, as comments from here show, you are not the only person with this problem. My spouse has had this issue with CVS and avoids them like the plauge and goes to a walgreens instead. All of our other prescriptions go through CVS because it is our insurance preferred pharmacy.

Good luck
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:40 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

I've had problems getting CVS to handle even normal stuff like antibiotics and Tamiflu. I do think they're uniquely bad in that respect. Agree that Grove Drugs is fantastic, but even Duane Reade has done a better job for us.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:04 AM on February 7

So, this is going to be weirdly specific, but I recommend the Duane Reade on Broadway and 18th st. I can't really speak to whether or not the general Duane Reade/Walgreens policies will get in your way, but I can say that the pharmacist there, Scott, is a very kind and professional man who takes the patient care part of his job very seriously (hell, I know his name!).
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:08 AM on February 7

CVS is the worst, they would regularly tell me they ran out of my birth control! Once I switched to Walgreens I haven’t had a problem. I don’t live in NYC, but I do have a script for IR adderall that I fill at Walgreens every 2 months or so, and I’ve never had an issue.
posted by katypickle at 5:15 AM on February 8

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