Is your pharmacy a tattletale?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- What is the difference between a patient consultation and tattling? That question came up when one of the nation's foremost consumer advocates got a letter from his doctor.

Does your pharmacy remind you to buy your prescriptions? Edgar Dworsky, is the founder of the influential consumer websites, and

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"I think we have all been annoyed by getting these premature notices from our pharmacies saying it is time to renew your prescription, it is time to renew and you still have a full month left of the old pills," Dworsky said.

Dworsky said he ignored the pestering, then got a letter from his doctor. It read: "I received a note from CVS Caremark stating your retail and mail prescription history indicates that you may not be taking your prescription."

Dworsky was not thrilled. "I really thought that CVS was tattling to my doctor about my prescription taking habits and I just didn't think that was right," he said.

He asked CVS for the letter it sent to his doctor. It read in part: a review of your patient's retail and mail prescription history indicates that the patient may have stopped using his or her medication.

CVS told ABC7 News taking medications correctly is important for both the patient and for keeping health care costs down. It issued a written statement that said in part: "we send refill reminders and late-to-fill outreach to plan members and engage prescribers when members are past due for refills."

ABC7 News asked UC San Francisco Medical School Professor, R. Adams Dudley, M.D., for his thoughts since he is an expert in public health issues. "If you call it tattling you are always going to think it is bad," He said. "Just the choice of words makes it sound bad...really the doctor and the pharmacists are both part of the team and one part of the team talks to the other part of the team," he said.

"I understand the underlying reason that they want me to adhere to my regimen for maintenance drug," Dworsky concedes, "but they probably also want to make money and make money on the renewal of my prescription."

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