Pharmacies and Food Allergies

This cautionary tale comes from an Allergic Girl reader:

I've been reading your cautionary tales and would like to pass on a scary thing that happened to me at the pharmacy a couple of weeks ago. This year, I developed eczema for the first time, and the case had become quite severe. I saw a dermatologist, who sent me home with three prescriptions.

I took them to my pharmacy (a big-box name) and when I handed them to the tech, I said, "I just wanted to confirm that you have in my records that I am allergic to tree nuts and salmon. Could you please double-check to make sure that these scripts are safe for me?"

She updated my record (some how, this information had not been added into my record at the pharmacy, so I'm glad I said something). It was a slow night, so as the pharmacist compounded the medicated lotion for my skin, I noticed the brand he was using and waved at the glass to get his attention. You see, I had seen this lotion before, and didn't buy it because it contained macadamia nuts.

"Is that my script?" I asked. He said yes. "Could you please double-check to make sure it doesn't contain nuts or salmon?"

He flipped the bottle over, read it, then said I was fine with it. He passed the bottle to the tech to ring me up.

I flipped the bottle over, and there, in big letters, were the words MACADAMIA NUTS.

"I can't use this," I said. "It has nuts in it." Sure, I wasn't eating it, but rubbing lotion with macadamia nuts into open wounds didn't seem like a good idea, and I already knew I reacted to scrubs with walnut shells in them.

I refused the medication and called the dermatologist the next day. The called in a different prescription for me and it all worked out. But it just proved how proactive someone with serious allergies has to be. This guy wasn't just some kid serving tables; he was a PHARMACIST. And even he didn't take the situation seriously.


Queen Mab said…
Another thing to watch for is whether the pharmacist is eating behind the counter. I recently picked up a prescription for my food allergic child and the pharmacist was eating a yogurt right at the counter where the meds are filled. She did not wash her hands before returning to her work.

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