Health & Safety

May 9, 2014

Prescription refill or prescription renewal?

Raymond W. Bliss
Army Health Center

A continuing issue for pharmacy patients at the Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center, or RWBAHC, is the difference between a prescription refill and a renewal.

A patient visits a provider at RWBAHC, and the provider determines the patient needs medication. When a provider orders a prescription, he or she may also authorize a certain number of refills. This allows the patient to fill the prescription and then refill it up to the authorized number of times. A prescription is only valid for one year from the day the provider ordered it. This means a prescription, with refills remaining, will not be refillable after one year.

Renewals occur when a prescription has no refills left, or has expired, and the patient needs to continue taking the medication.

In this case, the provider creates a new prescription, referred to as a renewal, which may or may not have additional refills.

Problems for RWBAHC patients occur because prescription refills are picked up at a different location, the PX Refill Pharmacy, than new/renewed prescriptions, which are picked up at the Main Pharmacy. The exception is controlled substance prescriptions — these are always picked up at the Main Pharmacy.

Knowing the difference between a refill and a renewal can eliminate the frustration patients feel. On the RWBAHC prescription label is a notation of the number of refills left. This indicates how many refills, if any, are left on the prescription. The number of refills is followed by the date the prescription expires. Knowing the number of refills left, when the refills expire, and where to pick up the medication will make getting maintenance medication less stressful.

Remember, all new and renewed prescriptions are picked up at the Main Pharmacy. Refills are picked up at the PX Refill Pharmacy in the Fort Huachuca Main Exchange complex. All controlled substance prescriptions (new, renewed, or refill) are picked up at the Main Pharmacy.

For more information, call the Main Pharmacy at 533.2520.




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