What To Do If Your Pharmacy 'Shorts' Your Controlled Substance Prescription

In our latest question and answer, we discuss your options if your pharmacy incorrectly fills your controlled substance medication and you are shorted pills.

Nov 19, 2017

Joey asked

I am prescribed a controlled substance for ADHD. The pharmacy only put 30 capsules in the bottle instead of the 60 I've been prescribed. They said too many people lie to get extra medication and refused to do an inventory count on the medication I take. I am so upset. Literally all they have to do is check their count against the log. Is there anything at all that can be done?


The situation you describe is incredibly unfortunate. At the very least, the pharmacy should work with you and your doctor to determine what happened. The most common way to determine if a controlled substance was filled accurately is for the pharmacy to check their inventory levels, which need to be meticulously maintained for controlled substance medications. It appears however, that the pharmacy has refused to do this.

It is very important for you to attempt to rectify this situation. You don't want to end up out of medication and have both your pharmacy and doctor tell you that you are 'too soon' for a refill when that time comes.

I have the following suggestions:

  • Ask for and speak to the manager/supervising pharmacist

It is the legal responsibility of the pharmacy, and the supervising pharmacist, that your prescription was dispensed accurately and according to the doctors order. 'Supervising Pharmacist' isn't simply a title, it is a legal position and they are legally responsible for the happenings in the pharmacy. They should want to make sure everything was filled correctly and legally.

Too many problems in the past at your pharmacy with other people is not a valid or legal excuse for you being told they don't investigate controlled substance discrepancies.

  • Talk To Your Doctor

It is important to talk your doctor regarding the situation so they are aware that you are short. They can call the pharmacy to work things out and hopefully determine the accuracy of the filling process. If the pharmacy and doctor determine the prescription was dispensed accurately, you can then more forward and attempt to find out what happened to the missing medication.

  • Contact The State Board Of Pharmacy

If all else fails and you are sure there has been an error that refuses to be acknowledged or rectified, contact the State Board of Pharmacy. Every state has a board of pharmacy that can and will investigate errors or any sort of unethical situation. All reported complaints are looked into and investigated.

I wish you luck that everything is handled in an appropriate manner going forward.

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