We Respond to Register Letters

The Orange County Register seems to have done its readers a grave disservice: The paper is printing their letters. It is not clear that the editor is reading them. He's certainly not answering them. So we're helping out!

On Oct. 22, the Register published a letter in which Christina Esquivel of Mission Viejo lamented that her support for striking grocery workers had gone “out the window” when she was unable to refill a prescription for her daughter's asthma medication at her local Pavilions. After a recording at the store's pharmacy informed her that prescriptions were not being filled due to the strike, Esquivel wrote, she contacted the store manager to transfer the prescription to another pharmacy. The manager allegedly told her a transfer was impossible: the striking pharmacist had locked the pharmacy and taken the keys with him.

Incensed that a distraught mother was unable to provide for her ailing child, we called the pharmacy at the Mission Viejo Pavilions. A recording confirmed that the pharmacy was closed due to a labor dispute and was unable to fill new prescriptions, but said customers could receive refills as long as their current address and telephone information were on file. Unless special mixing or refrigeration was required, customers could receive refills by mail in three to four days.

This arrangement seemed straightforward and humane, falling well within the Weekly's “inside the window” test. To determine whether this system had only been recently implemented in response to the complaints of outraged, anti-labor mothers whose last names rhyme with “Pestquivel,” we called the main line at Pavilions. A friendly clerk/scab confirmed the pharmacy's automatic system had been in place since the start of the strike. Although a few initial orders had been misdirected in the mail, the problems had been corrected and, as far as she knew, customers were receiving refills without incident.

And what if a patient was in immediate need of a refill and could not wait three to four days? Such a person might, if so inclined, follow the advice offered on the pharmacy's recording: ask your doctor to transfer the prescription to a pharmacy not affected by the strike. There are 11 such pharmacies in Mission Viejo alone.

Of course, one wonders whether someone without the common sense to reach that solution on her own should be handling drugs in the first place. Or giving them to children.

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