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What to Expect from Your Pharmacy

There are a lot of steps involved for your newly prescribed medicine to be filled at your pharmacy, from ensuring its safety, to billing insurance, to refilling it later. To help you feel best prepared at the pharmacy and to simplify the process, here is what you should expect from your pharmacy.

Before the Pharmacy:

Your new medication goes through quite the trip to get into your hands. Here’s the general flow of how the pharmacy works.

  • The doctor orders you a medication to be filled at your pharmacy. The prescription will commonly be sent by electronic transmission, but it may go over by fax, phone or hand deliver a paper prescription.
  • Your prescription goes into a lineup with many other patients’ prescriptions and refill requests
  • The pharmacy technician will take the prescription from the queue to input into your chart, bill your insurance, and prepare your medication.
  • The pharmacist then verifies the accuracy, safety and effectiveness of the medication and its dosage.

Then, get ready for the most important part to come. You!


The exact amount of time it will take for your new medication to be ready varies on many different factors. Typically, if you have notified the pharmacy beforehand or have shown up in person, your expected wait time will be about 30 minutes.

Rather skip the wait time at the pharmacy? Your pharmacy may be able to notify you via automated text or phone call when your medication is ready for pickup

At the Pharmacy:

You’ve made it to the pharmacy! Your medication is ready to pick up, but you have some questions. Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask your Pharmacist and your Pharmacy Technician:

FAQs for your Pharmacist

  • What’s the name of the medication?
  • What does it do?
  • How should I use it?
  • How will I know when it works?
  • What are the benefits of this medication?
  • How long should I take this medication?
  • What are common and serious side effects?
  • Are there things I should avoid while taking this medication?
  • Are there any alternatives to this medication? Is there a cheaper alternative?
  • What happens if I miss a dose?
  • How should I store it?

FAQs for your Pharmacy Tech

  • Do you have my prescription filled and ready to pick up?
  • When will it be ready?
  • Do I have refills left?
  • What’s my cost?
  • How long until refill?
  • Can I get a 90-day supply?
  • How do I refill my medication?

After your pharmacist reviews the medication with you and all your questions are answered, you’re good to go!

After the Pharmacy:

If, at any point you have a new question or need to talk to someone, your pharmacist is there to help. Your relationship with your pharmacist should be similar to the one with your primary provider in the sense that they are working for your best interest and are here to educate you on any confusing topics.

One of the most important next steps is medicine adherence, which is following the prescription and dosage as directed consistently. Over half of patients do not take their medications as prescribed which can create long-term problems for patients, especially those with chronic conditions.

The Medisafe app for Apple and Android allows you to set alerts to take your medications and to refill your medications. Add hilarity to the alerts by changing them to Darth Vader’s voice. If you have multiple medications to keep track of, Kirk’s Pharmacy can perform “cycle-fills” so your medications are synced, filled, and ready to go when you are.

Need a Refill?

If you do start running low on your medication and need a refill, contact your pharmacy. Please give this a few days, as medication may need to be shipped or restocked, or they may need to get in touch with your provider to reauthorize a refill.

If you are having trouble remembering to request your next refill, most pharmacies have automatic refill capabilities. Be careful, this can sometimes create more headaches. In addition, Walgreens, Fred Meyer, and even our local Kirk’s Pharmacy, have an app you can download. Use it to setup automatic refills for your medication, set pill reminders, and find your nearest pharmacy. CVS’s app also notifies you when your prescription is ready to pick up. Using these resources can help keep your waiting to a minimum and eliminate that last-minute scramble when you need a refill.

If you have no more refills on your medication, have the pharmacy initiate the request for you. Our online patient portal, myChart, also allows you to request a reauthorization quickly.

Cutting Costs

If your medication is too expensive, try these resources.

  • This link to the Pharmacy Technician’s Letter is full of different savings for patients.
  • is a site designed to help you find coupons, discounts or cheaper versions of your medication to insure you’re paying the lowest price
  • allows you to compare prices of medications at different pharmacies in your area.


Unable to make it to the pharmacy? Nimble and PillPack are new, free delivery services in the Seattle area. They are solely an online pharmacy. You manage your medications on your phone or on your computer. Our local Kirk’s Pharmacy provides inexpensive delivery service for medications and even promotes free delivery when using their adherence synchronization program.

Sound Family Medicine strives to give you the best care possible, from provider to pharmacy. Don’t forget to schedule your annual check-up for a great opportunity to assess your overall health and request medication refills for one year. You can schedule this online from our patient portal or visit our Contact Us page for more details.

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