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New SHS policy makes securing pharmaceutical refills more tedious. | Courtesy of Tom Varco/Creative Commons

Did you remember to take your medicine? Thanks to Student Health Services’ new policy, maybe you won’t.

Beginning January 1 of this year, SHS stopped responding to automatic prescription refill requests from pharmacies. Many Penn students rely on these automatic refills in order to receive their medication promptly. Students themselves will now have to contact SHS when their prescriptions need to be renewed.

The new practice will not affect prescriptions that have refills built into the subscription label and do not need the student or pharmacy to request a refill. A large percentage of students who use birth control pills, for instance, should not be immediately concerned. Every birth control prescription usually has two to three refills and an extended expiration date — students with refills would simply return to CVS, Duane Reade, and other like stores to pick up their medication.

However, when prescriptions have no remaining refills but have not passed their expiration date, students are now required to contact SHS to ask for a prescription renewal. This could possibly cause a problematic delay for certain students — a gap in allergy medication could be particularly troubling.

If a student has a refill but the expiration date has passed, he or she must go in person to request a renewal as SHS will no longer accept requests faxed by CVS.

The policy will force students to be more responsible for keeping track of the statuses of their prescriptions. It is also meant to encourage students to contact their health care providers before picking up refills of medication. Students must learn how their medication falls under the new policy conditions and become adept at reading prescriptions labels.

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