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Getting medicines after you transition from St. Jude

You will soon transition from St. Jude and meet your new adult health care team. It is important to continue to take the medicine your St. Jude doctor has prescribed. Below are tips on how to get the medicines you need from a pharmacy in your home community.

Getting your prescription filled

First, pick a pharmacy that you would like to use. Having your medicines filled at 1 pharmacy helps your pharmacists make sure your medicines are safe to take together.

To fill a prescription, your pharmacy needs to know:

  • Your name, birth date, address, phone number, and drug allergies
  • Your pharmacy insurance card. This may be a separate card from your health insurance.
  • Your prescription. Your doctor may send this to your pharmacy. Or, you might need to take a paper prescription to the pharmacy.
  • Money for a co-pay or deductible if your insurance does not cover the entire cost

Getting your prescription refilled

For some medicines, your doctor may give you refills. Your most recent prescription bottle shows if you have refills remaining. Some medicines cannot be refilled by law.

When you have 3–5 days of medicine left, call the pharmacy number on your bottle and have this information ready:

  • Name of the medicine
  • Strength or dose of the medicine
  • Prescription (Rx) number

Some pharmacies may offer refills through a website, phone app, or automated phone line. Your new pharmacy can help you with these options.

If you do not have refills available, most pharmacies can send a request to your doctor’s office. But you should also let your doctor know you need refills. You may need to see your doctor for an office visit before you can get a refill.

Picking up your medicine

Before you leave the pharmacy, double-check that you have received:

  • The right person’s medicine — Look for your name on the bottle.
  • The right medicine — Make sure it is the medicine you were expecting.
  • The right time and dose — Make sure the instructions match what you were told by your doctor. This will ensure that you take the medicine correctly and at the right times.

If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your pharmacist.  Ask questions if a medicine looks different or if the bottle says something different than you are used to seeing.

Common pharmacy terms

  • Brand name medication — Medicines that are marketed by a specific drug name and manufacturer. When medicines are new to the market, they are only made by one company.
  • Controlled substance — Medicine placed in a special group by the government because it is a drug that could be abused. Certain laws apply to these kinds of medicines.
  • Co-pay — Depending on your pharmacy benefits, your insurance may not pay the entire price of your medicine. Your co-pay is the amount you need to pay.
  • Deductible — The amount you must pay each year before your insurance company will begin to pay. Some insurance plans do not have a deductible but might require co-pays.
  • Exclusion — A medicine or service not covered by your insurance.
  • Formulary — Also known as “preferred drug list.” This is a list of medicines that are preferred by your insurance company. Your medical team can help you learn which medicines are covered by your insurance.
  • Generic medication — A medicine that contains the same active ingredient as the brand name medication. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found these medicines to be as safe and effective as the brand names. Usually, generic medicines cost less.
  • Over-the-counter medication — A medicine that can be bought without a prescription. Most insurance plans do not cover these medicines. Examples include Tylenol®, Miralax®, or Benadryl®.
  • Pharmacy insurance card — This is sometimes called your drug benefit card. Insurance is divided into two parts: medical and pharmacy. It is important to know what type of insurance you have and whether you have coverage for both medical care and prescription medicines. Check with your insurance company to learn more. Depending on your insurance type, this card may be the same as your medical insurance card or a different card.
  • Prescription drug — A medicine that is regulated by the government. This drug requires an order from a doctor (prescription) before it can be purchased.
  • Prior authorization/precertification — Not all medicine is routinely covered by insurance. Sometimes the doctor or pharmacy must call and explain why you take a certain medicine. If your medicine requires prior authorization, work with your doctor, pharmacy, and insurance company to make sure the medicine is covered by insurance.
  • Quantity limitations — Limits placed on the amount of medicine you may get at one time. These limits make sure that you cannot take more medicine than the doctor recommends.
  • Specialty medications — Medicines taken for complex conditions. These drugs often need more monitoring and cost more.
  • Specialty pharmacy — A pharmacy that sells specialty medicines.

For more information

If you have questions about how to get your medicines after you leave St. Jude, please talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

Key Points

  • It is important to continue taking the medicine your doctor has prescribed.
  • Choose 1 pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. This helps your pharmacists make sure your medicines are safe to take together.
  • Pay attention to refills. When you have 3–5 days of medicine left, call the number on your bottle to get a refill. If no refills are available, ask your pharmacist and doctor for next steps.
  • Make sure your medicine bottle shows the right name, medicine name, and dose. If a medicine looks different or if the bottle says something different than you are used to seeing, talk to your pharmacist.


Reviewed: July 2022