ZocdocAnswersCan a doctor force you to use a specific pharmacy?

Question

Can a doctor force you to use a specific pharmacy?

My doctor wrote a prescription for me today and told me that he sent it electronically to the pharmacy that was located in his office building. I do not have insurance and the medication is $4 at Wal Mart and $20 at the place in his building. I asked if I could get it sent to Wal Mart and he refused. I paid the $20. First time going to this doctor. Is this legal?

Answer

This sounds like a most unfortunate situation. While it is hard for me to comment on legality (given that I am only hearing some of the details, laws will vary by state, country, province, etc), I can say that it certainly does not sound like a good way to encourage patients to return to your practice! Electronic prescriptions can be very convenient for patients, and are becoming more convenient for doctors than they have historically been (depending on the servicer that your doctor is using, of course). If he or she blatantly refused to change the prescription, I wonder if there was some reason for it. I do feel that it would be appropriate to clarify why that decision was made. If it was simply inconvenient for the doctor, bad timing, etc, then you can either discuss your feelings with your doctor or use this as a sign to find someone who may work better for you. Obviously, anything like this is difficult to arbitrate without more information, so please speak more with your doctor if you feel that you would like more information. Some practices will also have an ombudsman who could help you with this matter. Please get the medical care you need, and do not let this misunderstanding stop you from that.

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