Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pill Thieves at the Walmart Pharmacy?

Do you think you can trust your pharmacy to give you what you paid for? Well don't take it for granted because I was shorted some Lortabs when I had a prescription filled at Walmart. The number on the label did not match up to the number of pills in the bottle. Pills were missing, where did they go? Here is what happened:

Awhile back I had to go to the dentist and have a tooth cut out. The thing had gotten broken while I was eating popcorn several years back and it had finally gotten to the point where I couldn't live with it any longer. Literally years with recurring toothaches.

The tooth was broken off so short that they had to cut it out. Afterwards I was given a prescription for hydroco/apap which is the generic for Lortab. The prescription was for 28 pills. I dropped the prescription off at the Walmart pharmacy and did some shopping while I waited. Eventually I picked up the medication and we went on home.

I am not a pill person and it takes a lot for me to even take an aspirin or something so a couple weeks went by before I opened the Lortabs. My tooth never did hurt enough for me to use one of the pain pills, but I get migraine headaches occasionally and that was why I finally opened them. The bag was still sealed closed with staples yet when I dumped them out and counted them there were 2 missing! I looked at the label again. Yes, it said "Qty 28" clear as day. I counted the pills again, only 26...

The next time I was at Walmart I went over to the pharmacy and asked to speak to the boss. After waiting for a short time a lady comes out and asks how she can help me. I explain to her that I had a prescription filled and there were 2 pills missing. She told me that was not possible. Everyone who worked in the pharmacy was highly trained and all prescriptions were double counted by two different people before they were sent out.

"What? Two separate people count them?" That means either one of only two possibilities; Either two different pharmacy techs cannot count to 28 or there is someone who is stealing pills. She got quite upset when I said that and told me that I was not going to get any more pills. What? I explained to her that I was not in any way trying to get anything even though I should because I didn't get what I paid for in the first place. She insisted that there was no way a mistake like that could have happened because they have "checks and balances" set in place.

"Are you calling me a liar?" I asked. "No, I am not" the reply.

"I tell you that I was missing two pills and all you can say is that it isn't possible?" I told her that if she thinks she wasn't calling me a liar then she had no idea what the word meant. She said something like, "Well, I am sorry sir, there is nothing I can do and in the future you should count them before you accept them."

"Hmm... I hope they don't count these..."
Sometime later my wife had a prescription for some Ibuprofen. We took the prescription to Walmart and dropped it off. When we went to pick them up I made it a point to count them. I opened up the package, took out the bottle and dumped them out on the counter. As I was doing that I was telling the clerk about what had happened the last time I got a prescription filled there.

"Make sure you count your medication before you leave," I said loudly enough for all to hear, "Walmart has some pill heads working in the pharmacy and they might pocket your stuff!" and "The pharmacist told me I had better count them next time! It sure would be cool if you could trust your pharmacy..."

I was very dramatic and smart alecky about it and got quite a few strange looks. But I know for an absolute fact and with not even the smallest doubt that 2 pills were missing from the bottle. Did two consecutive human beings count 26 pills as 28? Or did someone put a couple Lortabs in their pocket?

D Slone, Copyright 2011

NOTE: The images on this page are just general Walmart images and not necessarily connected to the particular Walmart where this occurred. OK, I admit it, I stuck in a few Walmart pics to make it look better. But the actual story is 100% true.


  1. "It has happened to me as well. But at an Eckerks drug store. It'll be only 1 or 2 pills, that as you say, most people will not noticed. The reason I did was because it was a low prescripution anyway, less than 10 pills. And it was for a pain killer. But, I did not do anything about it. I was home and not feeling good and it was just too much of a bother. I guess they count on that as well."

  2. "Walgreens by my house is notorious for miscounting your script. However...cvs has to have 2 people count so I have yet to have a problem there"

  3. I never trusted walmarts pharmacy. Well not the one here anyways. They are very rude and slow

  4. I had one pill missing from my prescription last month so when I picked up my new one I had her recount....she came back and said it was ok. I said, "well I was hoping you would count it in front of me" she rolled her eyes and came back with the little blue plate and counting knife. Yes they were all there, THIS TIME! Ugh.